By Dave Coulter
I don't often stray from writing about safe and comfortable topics like trees, stars, birds and such. But the news has been bloody in the past couple days, and much of that blood spilled from children. My informal survey of Saturday radio news announced 26 shooting deaths in Connecticut, 10 assorted shootings across Chicago last night - mostly teenagers, and 22 stabbings in China.
I've been wondering lately about when Americans will act to change the "gun situation" in our country. Apparently these recent numbers will do little to change our attitudes or our Constitution. I'm weary of people who use hunting as the traditional foil against gun control. Hunting, anymore, seems like a peculiar pastime in this society.
So what I want to know is this: what is the magic number? How many people need to get murdered by guns before the Constitution gets changed? Apparently recent numbers such as "26" and "10" aren't enough to get our attention. What will it take? A nice round number like 100? 200? 1000?
9-11, boy, that got our attention. We wanted blood, and we're still engaged in expeditions overseas fighting in the aftermath of that attack - 11 years on. We have Homeland Security now - and thank goodness, I say. We can stop some nutty shoe bomber, but we don't seem to be wired up to track a lunatic arming himself to the gills - legally?
Sadly, I realize that if I pull on this thread long enough it includes all of us, including me. We humans seem to have some deep flaw in our makeup. We on one hand, can be loving, even charitable. By the same turn we foster the likes of Stalin, Richard Speck, and so on. The same President who consoles us sends drones out that are not so precise where they don't kill and destroy innocent people as collateral damage. This is the human condition.
I think we have all the philosophical, legal, moral, and medical tools we need to get at what ails us. But I'm not sure we have the courage. As a species, we're cowardly. We're unwilling to stand up to the NRA, people who attack girls in Afghanistan, the list goes on.
I think we'll need to expand our ideas of weapons of mass destruction to include guns one of these days. In my mind that day passed some time ago, but I guess we haven't gotten collectively upset enough to admit that we need to take a hard look at the Second Amendment and the 18th century ideals that underpin it. What kind of country are we? What sort of species are we? What's the magic number? What's your magic number?