Living must think about responsibilities as citizens


Regarding the Newtown disaster, there is nothing any of us can do except bear witness to the suffering of those who lost loved ones and to the suffering that will follow those who witnessed this tragedy in one way or another. Sadly, the living will suffer.

We cannot change the past, but we can ask about the future.

We can ask why someone wants multiple weapons. We can ask why someone wants assault weapons and automatic weapons. These are designed only to kill. We can point out the irony of a mother buying weapons to defend herself (against whom?) only to be killed by her own son using one of the weapons. We can ask why anyone buys thousands of dollars of ammunition. Notice, I wrote “wants” not “needs.” Clearly, no one needs this stuff.

We can ask why the Second Amendment is deemed absolute in ways that the First is not. And for the “originalists” in the house, we can ask how many understand the context in which this amendment was proposed and adopted.

As for laws controlling who can own guns, how many among us will accept a ruling that we are mentally incompetent? How many will predict who among us is or will become mentally incompetent?

And we can ask why no one notes that this problem is not just a problem we suffer. Note how many children and adults in Sudan, Congo, Syria, Gaza, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere see similar slaughter on an almost daily basis. Killings that are meaningless except to the minds of those doing the killing seem to plague our world.

Are there answers? I don’t know. Perhaps we should stop and think about these issues and stop worrying about having our rights infringed. Perhaps we should start to think about our responsibilities as citizens and as human beings to live together.

Dick Swenson

Walla Walla



chicoli says...

Exellent letter, Dick. Canadians, Germans and Australians found the answer . They stopped mass killings, and has had none in the last 10 years. They did it without obstructing gun ownership for hunting, other sports or self-defense. They reduced gun related deaths to 30-35 average per country per year. In the USA 35 Americans (average) are killed in one day. The above mentioned countries, on average, have the same rate of mental illness as we do. In Japan violent video games are more abundant and more violent than are in here but guns related deaths are far less per capita than in any other country in the world.

These countries have better background checks in place, military-like weapons are restricted to the military and all weapons are registered to be able to track them down to their owners. Their research in Public Helth Science about gun violence, being necessary to monitor the problem and to adjust for needed policies, is not silenced or opposed by institutions such as the NRA does here in this country. Like cars have compulsory liability insurance , some other countries are considering liability insurance on gun owners and dealers. If someone is hurt or killed, intentionally or by accident, and such gun is tracked down to the owner or to an unscrupulous gun dealer, they are liable to pay damages . These countries political system do not allow for some unscrupulous politicians to sell their votes to weapons manufacturers as it happens here.

So, there is hope for some answers if we are willing to take a good look at the way these countries have reduced gun violence and fatalities to a record low. We ough to do better and we will.

Posted 31 December 2012, 6:17 p.m. Suggest removal

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