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I grew up with weapons in my home. My Dad is a Korean War veteran, and a long-time member of the NRA. I fired more than my fair share of guns in my younger days. My stepson is in the United States Army. Eleven middle-aged adults are in my immediate family; seven of them consistently vote Republican. I practiced law for a lot of years, and was a political science major. I have more than a passing acquaintance with the Second Amendment and conservative viewpoints.

Ideology has consequences. Rigid ideology devoid of any rational thought, perspective, and respect for reality is dangerous.

Public figures like right-wing loon and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee should pause to see if they can't locate a wee bit of intelligence before flapping their gums. Huckabee said the Newtown massacre should not have been a surprise "because we have 'systematically removed God' from public schools." What kind of God does he worship--One who is in such a snit about our refusal to invite Him somewhere that It's perfectly okay with six- and seven-year olds being gunned down instead? Yeah, that's gonna make others just filled with adoration! Address that first!

There's a lot of room for discussion, negotiation, and compromise between "no guns anywhere, ever" [see this for some clear-headed truth-telling--what a concept!] and "guns everywhere for whatever reason." Fifty? Two Hundred? Three thousand? How many more innocents have to be gunned down by deranged others before we find room in that vast middle to legislate some meaningful and effective controls to help alleviate this ongoing national disgrace? This is a mark of an "exceptional" nation?

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The failure to have meaningful gun-control laws is far from the sole reason why Newtown (and others) have happened. A wide range of social, cultural, and psychological factors play prominent roles as well. Duly noted.

But everyday citizens do not need to carry assault weapons around or have enough bullets on hand to mow down twenty children plus; churches don't need guns among the worshipers; and perhaps it would be a good idea if moronic, close-minded assertions like this one were held in check until the speaker had a chance to buy a clue (hate to break the news, but stupidity is not a virtue, although sometimes it's hard to be sure):

     "Gun-control supporters have the blood of little children on their
     hands. Federal and state laws combined to insure that no teacher, no
     administrator, no adult had a gun at the Newtown school where the
     children were murdered. This tragedy underscores the urgency of
     getting rid of gun bans in school zones. The only thing accomplished
     by gun-free zones is to insure that mass murderers can slay more
     before they are finally confronted by someone with a gun.'

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The wingnut jackasses of the Michigan legislature, with their integrity-free MO (is there some national legislative contest as to who can destroy more of democracy and reason in lame-duck sessions? You guys win!), offered Exhibit A of their collective madness:

    Changes to the concealed-weapons law passed the state House and
    Senate late Thursday, allowing trained gun owners to carry their
    weapons in formerly forbidden places, such as schools, day-care
    centers, stadiums and churches.
    Schools, however, and privately owned facilities could opt out of the
    new law if they don't want people carrying guns in their buildings.

Day care centers? Seriously? How f'ing stupid is that? And stadiums? Won't that be fun after a couple of beer-fueled patrons have at it! By all means let's make absolutely certain that anyone, anywhere, at any time, who is pissed off just enough, has the "right" to settle any dispute with guns rather than conversation. The countless innocents who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time? Tough luck is what it is. Even a damn shame.

Instead of working so hard to protect the paranoid, tin-foil hat fears and fantasies of a small minority of knuckleheads in an otherwise honest and law-abiding group of gun owners numbering in the tens of millions (and keeping the coffers of gun-advocate groups well-stocked (you never know when another misrepresentation might be needed!), how about we have a national debate and put into place rational legislation to provide a bit more protection, safety, and security for all of us? Imagine doing something like that!

Tonight and every other night from now on, twenty sets of parents (among others suffering) will never again experience or share the tenderness and love for their sons and daughters so eloquently stated by James Russell Lowell:

     Remember, dearest little daughter, that you are your papa's only little
     girl and that his first thought is always and ought to be about you. I
     never go to sleep without asking all the good angels, and especially
     one, to be near you. You grow dearer and dearer to me the farther I
     go away from you

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On that note, some words of wisdom which might offer a bit of guidance to us all:

    Nothing in this world is so powerful as an idea whose time has come -
    Victor Hugo

    You must be the change you wish to see in the world - Mohandas

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Looking Left and Right: Inspiring Different Ideas, Envisioning Better Tomorrows I remain a firm believer in late U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone's observation that "We all do better when we all do better." That objective might be worth pursuing (more...)

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