GUNS

Do you know how many people died in US wars since the Revolutionary War? It is around 1.4 million. That is fewer than Americans killed by guns in the last 45 years. Including accidents, murders, and suicides more than 1.5 million lives have been lost to guns since 1975. 

A gun is not inherently bad. They become bad when used improperly or in emotional settings. Guns for hunting are generally safe in the hands of experienced users and when locked up away from children when not in use. The same is true of handguns used for target practice. Automatic rifles like those used by mass murderers belong only in the hands of the military. 

I’m not a gun expert, but I know guns kill about 80 children under four years of age annually and that is more than police officers killed in the line of duty. Those statistics don’t require an expert.

The United States has to do better. We have more guns (~400 million) than people (330 million). It is not about CONTROL. It is about the SAFETY of innocent people. 

Citizens need to rise up and speak up. Call your state and federal legislators, protest, be a voice for gun safety today!

Victims

In Remembrance

Yesterday these eleven people left their homes to attend a religious ceremony at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburg, PA. Today they lie in a Medical Examiner’s office on a slab.  

Joyce Fineberg, 75, of Oakland, City of Pittsburgh

Richard Gottfried, 65, of Ross Township

Rose Mallinger, 97, of Squirrel Hill, City of Pittsburgh

Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, of Edgewood Borough

Cecil Rosenthal, 59, of Squirrel Hill, City of Pittsburgh

David Rosenthal, 54, (brother of Cecil), of Squirrel Hill

Bernice Simon, 84, of Wilkinsburg

Sylvan Simon, 86, (husband of Bernice), of Wilkinsburg

Daniel Stein, 71, of Squirrel Hill, City of Pittsburgh

Melvin Wax, 88, of Squirrel Hill, City of Pittsburgh

Irving Younger, 69, of Mt. Washington, City of Pittsburgh 

On Wednesday, four days ago, three miles from my home two African-Americans were shot and killed while grocery shopping. One in the store, the other in the parking lot by a white man who allegedly stated, “Whites don’t kill whites.”

They were:

Vickie Lee Jones, 67, Louisville, KY

Maurice E. Stallard, 69, Louisville, KY

I just came from a vigil in their honor at the sight of their deaths. While it was good to see people of all colors together showing love and respect, I couldn’t help wondering why we don’t act more like this in our daily lives.

Thoughts, prayers, vigils . . . too little, too late. 

Cause of deaths: Hate      

Method: Guns  

6a00d83451ccbc69e201b8d1b7d000970c

“Researchers have proven, scientifically, that humans are all one people. The color of our ancestors’ skin and ultimately my skin and your skin is a consequence of ultraviolet light, of latitude and climate. Despite our recent sad conflicts here in the U.S., there really is no such thing as race. We are one species — each of us much, much more alike than different. We all come from Africa. We all are of the same stardust. We are all going to live and die on the same planet, a Pale Blue Dot in the vastness of space. We have to work together.”  Bill Nye

To Shoot or Not

Shooting

The topic of guns can bring out very strong feelings. I have strong feelings about the issue at the same time that I support the Second Amendment in the way I believe it was intended. That, however, is not the purpose of this post, since I pledged to not write about political topics and I believe “to have or not have guns” enters that realm.

I want to tell you about the two times that I shot something and about how very sorry I am when I recall each instance. I wonder how many of you watch Stephen Colbert’s “The Late Show.” He has a frequent segment where he goes into a confessional box and confesses to the audience things he “feels bad about.” I suppose that is what I am doing today.

Hunting

As I was growing up my father, as well as probably every male we knew, had guns. They were long guns used for hunting, usually for food. My Dad hunted, not so much because he enjoyed it, but to provide needed meat for the table. We had rabbit frequently and I remember as a child crying and not wanting to eat it. I especially detested the milk gravy that Mom made after frying the poor bunny. I protested that it tasted “fuzzy,” to no avail. I was made to eat it. We occasionally had a squirrel and once, even a goat, but that’s another story.

Long guns were also a part of our home after I married. I was very relieved when my husband gave up hunting after he realized he would much rather observe nature than to shoot it. It was his decision gradually made over time at about mid-life. I remember the one and only time he went deer hunting. He came home soaking wet after spending a few hours in a tree in the pouring rain. He did see a deer, the doe came right under his tree stand and stood peacefully as he admired her until she trotted off. He loved to tell about that one day of deer hunting. His guns were displayed on a rack in the den for years and once in a while he would take them down and clean them. Those guns remain today.

My First Kill

As a young teen, I learned to shoot a 22 rifle. I loved the challenge of holding the gun steady and aligning up the little bead thingy on the end with the target. I shot cans with my older brother and my future husband and loved to show off my girl skill. One day I was at home alone on the farm my Dad had bought when I was about 14 or 15. We often saw snakes around and especially in an old tree growing in the yard fence line. It gave me the creeps to know they were hanging around up there. On the ground, I felt we had a fighting chance of not being bothered, but I always had the feeling they were going to intentionally drop on top of me from above. On this particular day, I spotted a very big, long snake on the yard fence. He was wrapped around the wire with his head hanging down and without any hesitation, I went into the house and grabbed Dad’s rifle. I walked out into the yard, sighted carefully and shot that poor snake in the head. At the time I felt pretty good about ridding the yard of this snake. Looking back years later, I felt nothing but disgust that I could so easily kill an innocent creature that was not bothering me at all. I never aimed at a living thing again and in fact soon lost interest in my skill with the rifle.

My Second Kill

There was one other incident with a gun that I regret almost as much but for different reasons. I was older and married at the time. It was winter and while the men had been out hunting, I had been playing in the snow with my younger brother. When the guys came back and started to put away the guns I realized that I had never shot a shotgun. I really didn’t know anything about them, but for some unknown reason I felt it necessary to experience shooting one, so I asked my husband to show me how. He carefully explained that unlike rifles, shotguns “kick” but I don’t think I knew what that meant. After repeatedly explaining that I had to hold the “butt” tightly against my shoulder because of the kick, I said, “Yeah, I got it” and looked around for a safe target. I aimed, I held the stock tightly against my shoulder, I pulled the trigger. Once I was able to open my eyes after the blinding pain from the gunstock recoiling, a.k.a. kicking, against my shoulder like a wild stallion I looked at my target. The poor snowman I had aimed at was full of round holes and looked back at me with dead eyes of coal. Again, I had shot an innocent and that was the last time I fired any kind of gun.

 

fullsizeoutput_d1e