Tag Archives: guns


21 Dec



Ohio was a primeval forest with river channels best suited to flat bottom boats as transport for those intrepid New Englanders who had survived a revolution against King George III of England, and headed into the wilderness which was home of several Native American Tribes whose confederation of tribes served as an example for the structure of the new government being established by the revolution’s leadership. These shopkeepers,farmers,students and laborers strapped the rifle issued them as citizen soldiers to use as protection, and to bring down game to feed their families.


Some of the earliest skirmishes with the British soldiers stationed in the New World occurred when the king’s subjects raided the King’s arsenals to arm themselves. Discussions in the Virginia Assembly were deteriorating,and emissaries of American colonists sent to Parliament were failing to convince King George and Parliament to lower or eliminate taxes which had recently been imposed on British colonies.


The pre-revolution American colonists,as British citizens, understood that England’s war with France was costly, and Parliament needed to raise revenue to pay for the war. American colonists s were not opposed to taxes. But, they believed that those who were taxed should have a voice in Parliament. As colonists, they had no voice. There were those in Parliament who took up their cause, arguing colonials should be able to participate in Parliament.


While these political discussions went on in England, unrest grew within the colony. The King sent more troops to the American colony to “keep the peace” among the colonials. These troops had no military bases, so their leaders moved them into colonists’ homes, with or without the homeowner’s permission. Some colonials remained loyal to the King,while others became increasing hostile to being taxed with no right to vote,and housing British troops. tempers flared on both sides.


After the revolution,as the founders wrote a national constitution, they based it upon the Virginia Constitution, adding some amendments reflecting concerns of the various “states” ( a new term for areas which had been chartered by the King -the Carolinas, the Virginia Territory etc.).


The 1st.Amendment was free speech. People wanted a “voice” without fear of repercussion from government. This Amendment has been argued over in the courts and is restrained by reasonable guidelines. One cannot shout “fire” in a crowded theatre,for example.  Protesters, parades, commercial vendors etc. can be regulated as to time, place and manner so as not to disrupt the ordinary course of business. The CITIZENS UNITED CASE stretched the right to free speech by extending the legal fiction that corporations are people for campaign financing purposes, as they had been earlier characterized for business organization and legal remedy reasons.


The 2d. Amendment was freedom to bear arms. People wanted the freedom to arm themselves to defend their communities from an autocratic King who would quarter his troops in their homes,which as every British citizen knew, violated their belief that a “man’s house is his castle”. When the Revolution started in the American colonies, many armed themselves by raiding British arsenals. After the revolution, the Americans wanted the freedom to build their own arsenals. National Guard Armories exist within every small town as remnants of these arsenals. There was never any intent to amass personal armories. But, the soldiers of the revolution kept their guns, granted the freedom to do so by the 2d Amendment. Like the 1st. Amendment, the 2d. Amendment is also subject to reasonable constraints, regardless of gun industry refusal to acknowledge that fact.


NRA Executive Director Wayne LaPierre held a news conference a moment ago. He blamed the violent video games, their production companies and stockholders as partners and co-conspirators in violent acts. He described Americans as surrounded by deranged and evil persons, who cannot be understood nor contained to prevent the evil acts their “voices” propel them to commit.He denigrated those with mental health issues as demons, asserting that the “only way to  stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”. He argued forcefully that we are all targets surrounded by great evildoers and we all must carry guns.


LaPierre’s suggestion? Arm teachers and principals with weapons and provide security guards at schools. He repeatedly referred to the president using Secret Service to protect himself, impliedly berating this president for protecting himself and failing to protect American children. Then, he reminded us that grants for school security were removed from the budget last year. His continued attacks against President Obama were beyond the pale. His real effort was to undermine the president’s comments and efforts to place restrictions on assault weapons.


He repeatedly asserted that many people are deranged and evil,calling for well-maintained data-bases on the mentally ill. This is the same man who opposes a data-base of gun owners. Scapegoating the mentally ill is not a solution to gun violence with assault weapons. Treating the mentally ill, and denying weapons to the mentally ill likely to harm themselves or others should be considered and discussed. Demonizing anyone serves no purpose other than to create fear among us, and justify violence by the “good guys”.


Lapierre announced  the creation of a new program, the National Model Schools Shield Program funded by NRA to provide armed guards at every school.  “We can’t wait. We can’t debate and pass legislation which will not work,”  was an indirect effort to undermine and supplant V.P. Joe  Biden’s efforts. He called for every teacher,administrator and state to ask for NRA help to protect its children, to arm its schools with good guys.


We cannot allow his one reasonable suggestion, provide more school security, to  stop all discussion about reasonable constraints over gun manufacture,sale,purchase and possession of assault weapons;background checks,waiting periods,registration and removal etc. This was not a news conference. This was an ad for an NRA effort to arm more persons, with no limits nor constraints. This was an effort to undermine President Obama, and anyone who calls for a reasonable review of current gun laws. The laws must be reviewed and changed for the common good and within reason. I doubt those first Americans would expect any less of us.


SANDY HOOK PUTS US ALL ON THE HOOK,By Louise Annarino,December 16,2012

16 Dec

SANDY HOOK PUTS US ALL ON THE HOOK,By Louise Annarino, December 16,2012

I have finally stopped crying every time I think about Sandy Hook Elementary School. So many of us are afraid to allow such grief to overwhelm us, fearing we will lose our minds. Since the death of John F.Kennedy, I have been a public crier. I cry over news reports. I cry if I see anyone else cry. I remember once hearing Italian actress Sophia Loren respond to an interviewer’s comment about her beautiful eyes, “If you haven’t cried, your eyes can’t be beautiful.” She then went on to describe what horrors she and her mother experienced in Italy during WWII…with tears in her eyes.

Tears teach.Tears tell us what matters most, whom we most care about,whom and what we are willing to suffer for…even die for. We must pay attention to, and find answers to our tears. I am not sure, however, that we are asking all the right questions when it comes to gun violence. We must discuss the limitations and expansion of gun control consistent with the U.S. Constitution. After all, any bill Congress passes must overcome constitutional challenge before the U.S. Supreme Court. Clearly, the 2d. amendment right to bear arms, like the 1st.Amendment free speech provisions, should be subject to reasonable regulation. It is ironic to argue one “cannot yell fire in a crowded theatre” but one can carry in a weapon, even into a bar full of drunks. The Wild West has taken root in middle America.

However, gun control did not prevent Sandy Hook. It appears Mr. Lanza withdrew his purchase request from a local gun shop when informed he had to await a 2 week back-ground check. Not willing to wait so long he used guns belonging to his mother. His mother? Who needs assault weapons in their homes? We hear descriptions of safe and friendly Sandy Hook where violence is unexpected; so, why the arsenal at the Lanza residence? No matter what gun control laws we pass,even if they work for most cases, we cannot prevent every violent act so long as we behave with such senseless abandon regarding gun ownership. What is it with us that  the problem always belongs to “the other guy”? And lock-down did not save Sandy Hook Elementary; the gunman forced entry.

It reminded me of meeting all students Affairs staff called by the OSU Dean of Students during the Spring 1970 student strike.As an RA in Lincoln Tower I was required to attend. There, we were told of plans, to which I strongly objected, to build a fence around the administration building to block access, and to protect it from protesters. The protest was in response to a refusal by the President to meet with the student body and Afro-Am presidents and receive a petition requesting recruitment of minority faculty-staff-students, establishment of a minority affairs office and  Black Studies Department, and policies and programs to end racism in on and off-campus housing etc. I suggested the university use the money for the fences to fund such programs and end the protest peacefully. Why is our first response to a crisis fear rather than problem solving?

As we begin the discussion on gun regulation, let us seek to solve problems rather than fear the loss of our guns, or their proliferation. Let us focus on how and why guns are used; and how we can assure ownership and use is reasonable for the good of our communities. As NYC Mayor Bloomberg instructed host David Gregory on this morning’s MEET THE PRESS, just because some drivers speed does not mean we should stop regulating speed limits on city streets and highways. Such laws save thousands of lives every day.

We may never answer why Mr. Lanza killed his own mother and so many innocent children and educators in Sandy Hook. Our minds cannot comprehend such “violent reasoning”. Even so, we can do something to stop the violence in our own and nearby communities throughout the state of Ohio.  We may not stop another mass murder in America; but, we can reduce gun battles and drive-bys on city streets. It is time to wipe the tears away and get to work on sensible gun regulation.