Editor: The tragedy of repeated school shooting angers and depresses me, as I am sure it does most. I cannot fathom the depth of despair the loss of a child must bring to people, especially when I think of my own daughters and my grandchildren.
Now the argument for safety of children not only in school but traveling to and from school has been injected into the discussion. It has to do with societal decay. Is the solution martial law in some communities?
The solution seems to be all of the above. By that I mean it seems like every suggestion that sounds good gets back handed with some equally sensible reason as to why that would not work. Make a decision. Inject the solutions, all of them, and start saving lives. Then we can start separating the good solutions from the bad.
When I was 12 years old my father bought me a J.C. Higgins 16 shot .22 rifle from Western Auto on Broughton Street. I don’t remember exactly how I did it but I could break the weapon down into two pieces, probably by removing the barrel from the stock. I would stuff that rifle into a cloth sack and get on the Daffin Park bus to downtown. I would transfer to the Mill Haven bus and travel out to West Chatham. My father was operating a construction crane on the railroad bridge that crossed the Savannah River onto an island and then on to South Carolina. He would escort me across the railroad bridge and leave me to my own resources to hunt marsh rabbits.
I would shoot a few of those really big rabbits and put their carcasses into the sack with my gun. Note, the only hunting I do today is with a camera. Dad would meet me and escort me back across the bridge and onto the Mill Haven bus to travel back into Savannah and transfer to the Daffin Park bus along with my bag full of bloody rabbits for the final ride home. The thought never occurred to me that I should turn that weapon on a human being. The thing was for shooting rabbits and squirrels.
By the time I was 14, my arsenal included the sweetest shooting 30-inch full choke 20 guage shotgun in the world. Threw a pattern you could cover with the palm of your hand. Took that weapon on the train with me down to Tampa where the only thing I shot was one of my aunt’s chickens in a failed attempt to take out a chicken hawk.
I graduated to a Garand M1A1 combat rifle and the 30 cal. rifle in the Army. I went on to become acquainted with the M14, the M16, the M60 and 50 caliber machinegun with the British sten gun, the AK47 and the 45 pistol somewhere in the middle. Then along came the 61 milimeter mortar and claymore mines. You could clear the jungle for planting with one of those things. My objective was entirely different during those days. I was designated as a "light weapons expert" in my Special Forces A team.
It was years later when traveling for a company selling equipment to the coal mining industry that I walked into a convenience store and was totally amazed to see an AR15, the civilian counterpart for the M16, hanging on the wall behind the counter for sale. I was amazed that such a lethal weapon was that available. I knew full well the fire power and devastation that weapon of war could bring.
About six months after that I missed an appointment I had with a parts house due to a snow storm. My missed appointment was for 10 one morning. A man walked into that parts house at 10 a.m. carrying an AR15 rifle and killed everyone in it with the exception of one guy who literally dove out a back window down the side of the mountain. Domestic dispute.
I solidly support the Second Amendment. I solidly support background checks. I am amazed that one can walk into one of those gun shows and walk out with a powerful weapon designed to kill people and nothing else. I just have to think there needs to be extra special precautions taken when someone wants to buy an assault rifle, especially an 18-year-old, or any age for that matter.
I seriously question the notion that we need to be armed to prevent government takeover of our lives so you folks who support the Second Amendment, stop using that as an excuse. It rings hollow. The British are not coming!
The sporting side of hunting and target shooting is a freedom supported by the second amendment and certainly as is the necessity of defending our businesses, our homes and our families against the dysfunctional society we have created.
Our society has changed. We have taken God out of our schools and along with that, a reduction in the value we place on human life and a better understanding of right from wrong. We have taken pride of our country and respect for our flag out of our schools and eliminated one thing that could unite us as fellow citizens. We have taken discipline out of our schools which has promoted the bully and bullying to the point where young lives are ruined from it.
Parents demand that educators raise their kids and educator’s hands are tied. We have done this in the name of fairness and equal treatment under the law and, "freedom from religion," as they call it and all of the rest of that drummed up nonsense of which none applies.
Someone suggested that there are 450,000 unemployed military vets that could become school security guards! I am betting that about 445,000 of those vets have no idea how to handle that kind of security. Maybe retired cops with special training, yes. Maybe not guarding the school but providing the training.
The only good thing we have at the moment is that finally our political leadership is talking. A day late and some precious lives short but talking.