My Great-Aunt Pearl was a force of nature, a member of that generation essentially who created the Greatest Generation. Oh, she never had children of her own, but she had many children in her life and loved and corrected them all. My mother was able to get a high-school diploma because she went to live with Aunt Pearl. I spent a week with Aunt Pearl once and never worked so hard in my life up to that point, but I learned what a twelve-year old can do when someone insists they can.
So with all this ‘gun control’ discussion, I cannot help but recall Aunt Pearl and imagine what she would say about the issue. “First of all,” she would say, “…the children.” Then she would point out that everyone lost in all these terrible episodes, adult or child, is someone’s child, and furthermore a child of God. Aunt Pearl was very staunch in all her beliefs. I read a poem once, the author of whom I no longer recall, describing someone as “immovably opposed to evil and to store-bought pies.” Well, that says it all.
And evil is what we are talking about. Not the hunting guns and good, decent people who go hunting and kill varmints or deer and eat the deer they kill. Not the folks who have simple handguns and like to go to a shooting range and practice target shooting. But the fact is that assault rifles and so many other military-type weapons are loose in this country and that is terrifying. Equally terrifying: the fact that forty percent of all gun sales are done with no background checks and no record; the fact that the existing background records are not consolidated and kept strictly up-to-date, when in this day and time Twitter entries appear to circle the globe in moments; the fact that bullet magazines can be stashed in someone’s pockets by the hundreds; the fact that it is legal just about everywhere to carry concealed handguns to a college campus, a restaurant, a mall, a place of worship.
Commonsense folks such as Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York are proposing five basic gun safety measures that are desperately needed: a renewed ban on assault weapons; a ban on the sale and manufacture of high-count bullet magazines; an immediate requirement for the update of the national gun registration database to incorporate military records of our ex-military who are suffering from mental illness; an immediate law to require background checks for all gun sales, period, including gun shows and internet sales. And a renewed effort to help those with mental illness get meaningful help.
Will all of this prevent the kind of horrible, hideous, terrible events we have been experiencing in the last decade? No, of course not. But doing absolutely nothing will guarantee that this situation will repeat and escalate and that is, as our President says, unacceptable. So to those who say that we cannot stop these tragedies, I say what Great-Aunt Pearl would say, “Can’t Never Could.” And doing nothing never will.