Your message “Gun culture versus gun violence” (Editorial, Jan. 10) is a life-saving call for each of us, individually, collectively, to seek and find a safe and sensible solution to the escalating gun violence in our country. This dialogue, we should be having, is not about suppressing or eliminating gun owners’ Second Amendment rights. This is directed to preserving and protecting the inherent rights of “. . . life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” of every human being, as in we the people. It is in the very conscience of our Constitution … the greatest good for the greatest number. It is equity. It is justice.
Historically, my own father was a card-carrying NRA member and owned a hand gun he simply kept in a box underneath my parents’ bed. Secured? Never. Every New Year’s Eve at 12 midnight, he would proceed to our backyard and fire several bullets into the air. Not being any Einstein or Newton, as a child and a teenager, I knew without qualification that what goes up must come down. This was never “rocket science.” This was reality. I was dismissed as being a “kill-joy” in his quest for celebrating the New Year. I was even lectured on my being “un-American.” What an insult to me, a first-generation American. I could not be swayed. Age 7 is the age of reason … for a reason. He may have been in the minority of gun owners even decades ago but he was also in denial that bullets kill, whether laterally or horizontally. So I write this in hopes together we can find a middle ground . . . safe and sensible gun solutions. It is not me versus you. It is us . . . together.
Two gun owners and defenders of the Second Amendment are American’s very own heroes: Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband, U.S.A astronaut Mark Kelly. Together they wrote their book Enough. They wrote it after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on 12-14-12. Twenty first graders and their six heroine educators were brutally murdered by a young male, isolated by choice, disturbed and quite obviously in sheer rage against his own mother and even the world. His mother not only continually encouraged her son to go to the shooting range, she kept the weapon of lethality in her own home, perhaps not accepting the reality it would also be used against her. Who should own an assault rifle with a high capacity magazine? Certainly not any private citizen. These are weapons used by the military and law enforcement
It is sheer insanity and ignorance to assume that untrained people have the capacity to use such a weapon, most especially knowing that the extended magazines are not chosen by hunters or gun enthusiasts for their “sport.”
This insightful, thoughtful, responsible and heart-wrenching book Enough was written almost two years after that fateful day [on] 1-8-11 when Congresswoman Gabby Giffords endured and thankfully survived her own attempted murder at a local corner meet-and-greet forum. Her journey from horrendous brain surgery is the very definition of a hero and survivor. And on this unrequested journey to recovery she has her husband unconditionally. Mark Kelly, also, never requested to have both their hopes and dreams so inhumanely altered. Heroes always traveled the path few of us could ever complete. Gabby also lost beloved co-workers, visitors and even a young girl who went with a neighbor for an inspiring civics lesson. So ask yourself when is enough actually enough? So many massacres of innocents . . . enough must being today . . . not tomorrow . . . not someday . . . TODAY!
Then our “today” sadly arrived on 11-7-18 at our Borderline where adults, employees and college students came to celebrate college night . . . someone’s child now a little older, someone’s son, daughter, friend, neighbor. The unthinkable, the unimaginable came uninvited to our peaceful place to live. Sgt. Ron Helus was only a mere few months from his retirement but he made the decision that in order to save as many lives as possible, he chose to enter the line of fire. He sustained many bullets in the rampage. It matters that he is deceased, not which bullet ended his life on this Earth. What about his hopes and dreams with his wife and son? So many lives forever altered by one shooter . . . so much damage and destruction left in its wake. This time, it was a former military man who had endured and witnessed and participated in the ravages of war. Did anyone not detect possible PTSD? Was treatment never offered or never given . . . we may never know. All we know is 12 innocent human beings have been forever silenced. Now Thousand Oaks, California, has become another casualty of a “club” we never, ever intended to join.
In this new year, we must promise ourselves and all future generations that together we will rise up and speak up and say ENOUGH. Always remember, “outrage is the voice given to injustice/As Americans . . . “this land is your land, this land is my land, from California to the New York Island.” To save and secure our country, firstly, we must protect our people . . . all people . . . We the people.
Linda Principe is a resident of Thousand Oaks.