Friday, December 7, 2007

Shootings and Owning AK-47 Rifles: 2 Crimes

Oh, for the lack of love and the love of guns, here we go again.

Another depressed, rejected kid goes postal: Robert A. Hawkins, 19, stole his step-father's AK-47 semi-automatic rifle and spattered innocent people with bullets in an Omaha Mall.

Here's my question to gun owners: Why THE HELL does a man own an AK-47 SEMI-AUTOMATIC RIFLE? To kill 12 deer at once? To kill 12 burglars at once? To kill 12 policemen at once? No, to kill 12 shoppers at once.

I'm not against firearms altogether, but ones designed to wreak vast carnage are savage, and we're idiots for allowing such weapons to be made. And the kid's step-father? Not his fault? The kid "stole" the gun? Wait a minute. First, I'm not feeling my usual compassion. Plus, aren't gun owners rugged individualists who think everyone's problems are their own? Do they say "Turn the other cheek?" I'd say they're more "an eye for an eye" kind of people. In that case, the step-father ought to be shot for owning this gun in the first place (I'd attribute it to "arrogant stupidity" and clank the gavel), and the gun maker ought to be tried and executed (so should date-rape drug makers...imagine the defense: it's not the drug, it's the people who use them), and the lawyers who drafted laws to keep this gun legal ought to be hung, and the people who voted the politicians in office who upheld the legality of AK-47s ought to be publicly lashed and humiliated. Now that's some personal responsibility.

So far, no one's asking, "Why own an AK-47?" Not the New York Times, not the LA Times, not my local newspaper. Police and health workers are saying, "the system is not to be blamed." Supposedly, he was punished appropriately (jail time for threatening murder), and he was given therapy (for threatening to kill himself). I guess being doled out to the foster care system because his parents couldn't deal with him is considered success. Why does this sound so sad, loveless and unsuccessful?

Only the BBC included in their coverage a little fact that smells like criticism of U.S. gun laws: "The Supreme Court will consider Americans' right to bear arms early next year for the first time in nearly 70 years."

When the system works (the step-father's gun was legal and registered), but the crazies can steal their guns, maybe we should consider whether it's safe to have them around AT ALL.

Maybe if we hung the real culprits or, at least, verbalized their complicity with some harsh words, maybe, maybe we could get some attention on the real problem: lack of love and love of guns.

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