The events yesterday at Virginia Tech have me thinking, and y'all that know me know that's a dangerous thing. But I just feel moved to post, so bear with me.
I did a little research this morning on the internet about gun laws in Alabama where I live now and I was horrified. Horrified. Just google "gun laws + Alabama" and you'll see what I mean. For that matter, just google gun laws + any state, specifically those in the south, and I think you'll get the jist.
Alabama has no law that requires adults to either store loaded guns in a place that is reasonably inaccessible to children, or use a device to lock the gun.
Alabama does not require a permit before purchasing a handgun, rifle, or shotgun. There is a 2 day waiting period required before purchasing a handgun, but explain to me how that works? If there's no permit then how can a two day waiting period be enforced? The only requirement I could find is a permit to carry a handgun.
After I got out from under my desk, I went on with my research. Check out these pearls of American wisdom:
From an About.com article on the lifting of the assault weapon ban:
A free human should be entitled to own any gun that he or she desires, both as a basic human right to an effective means of self-defense against everyday evildoers, and as - brace yourselves, oh ye trusting masses - a hedge and defense against oppressive government... just as was intended by the founders of this great nation.
Meanwhile, I will hope for a respite from new idiotic and ineffective laws, and hope that someday soon our world will tilt back onto its axis so we can get back to enjoying the freedom we were promised by the many men who perished in founding this nation. Tough to envision that when you can't even take your fingernail clippers onto an airplane these days, but it could happen I guess. I'd like to live to see that happen, and here's hoping that you will, too.I find it disturbing but unfortunately not surprising to share my country with people who truly hold these opinions. There was an occasion recently where a person who was a guest in my home talked about "having to shoot" a neighboring dog that was apparently a nuisance. Had to. No other choice. People who think that is a method for problem solving should not have easy access to guns. People who have severe mental illnesses that are going untreated should not have access to guns. I understand that there are those in this country who do take the time to be trained in the use of firearms and who have their weapons licensed and registered and permitted and whatever else you can do safety wise if you must own a firearm. But I'm sorry to say that there are far more that don't than those that do.
Just look at this statistic I found in an AP article this morning:
Britain's 46 homicides involving firearms was the lowest total since the late 1980s. New York City, with 8 million people compared to 53 million in England and Wales, recorded at least 579 homicides last year.One city in our country had more homicides involving firearms than all of England and Wales. One city! And it isn't just one or two more, it's 533 more. That's 533 people that might still be alive today.
What does the rest of the world think? This sound byte from an Italian online newspaper comes via Yahoo News:
"The latest attack on a U.S. campus will shake up America, maybe it will provoke more vigorous reactions than in the past, but it won't change the culture of a country that has the notion of self-defense imprinted on its DNA and which considers the right of having guns inalienable," Corriere wrote in its front-page story.I know that stricter gun control laws won't put an end to the violence in my country. It might curb the numbers, but I think that we are past the point where we could conceive of an end to the kind of horror we saw at Virginia Tech yesterday. It's in our culture, in our blood.
My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims, the survivors, and the family and friends of the shooter. My hope is that some sort of change, however small, will come out of this tragedy and make my country a safer place to live.