Why is there instability?
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 by Frank Shortt
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       A young man in Newtown, Connecticut recently shot and killed twenty children and six adults, then turned the gun on him.
I am not a psychologist, nor am I a licensed counselor. I am merely expressing my rights to freedom of speech. I am saddened at these senseless slayings. I am somewhat incensed by helplessness.
       When I was a high school student at Garden High School, Oakwood Virginia I was walking home from school one afternoon. I encountered a scene that caused me much consternation. A man had just shot his wife as she ran from the home then turned the gun on himself, placing it in his mouth and pulling the trigger. It was a bolt action, high powered hunting rifle. I do not have to describe what I saw in that bedroom. I left the house with my stomach in my mouth. Thank God, the woman was only shot through the shoulder and survived.
       When I was about 35 years old, I was sitting in the parking lot of the local DMV studying to renew my driver’s license. Suddenly, five shots rang out behind me. I ducked to the floorboard of my truck, as I was taught in the military, awaiting the outcome.
       As I raised my body, looking out the side window of my truck, I saw a man coming toward me with blood gushing from his mouth. As I stepped out of my truck he fell at my feet, victim of a love triangle. In this instance, the weapon of choice was a small caliber, semi-automatic handgun. It could have been bought at any flea market or garage sale.
       About eleven years ago, in Evergreen, California, I went to check up on a close relative. When the relative would not answer the door, I went to the back patio and looked in the living room window. My relative lay on the couch, unmoving, with the pallor of death. On calling the police, they found that my relative had overdosed on prescription drugs. The weapon of choice left two orphans.
       It seems to me that every time a killing occurs in the United States the object used in the killings, and not the person, is blamed. It is my opinion that there is no inanimate object that ever killed anyone unless it was picked up and used by the person perpetrating the killing. Whether it is knife, gun, bludgeoning object, or any weapon, it must first be activated by someone.
       Are we doing enough to prevent these tragedies?
       What can be done?
       Are there too many drugs being unnecessarily prescribed? Are we being too careless with our youth by allowing them access to overly-violent video games? What about the movies they watch? Have we allowed our children to rule us instead of us guiding them in the way they should go?
       Even our music today bespeaks an instability that sounds as though, if the singer, given half a chance, would slay all women, police officers, or anyone else that opposed him or her. Where is all this leading?
       These and other questions arise in my Seventy-year-old mind as I view the way that recent events have shaped up.
       I just wonder, having watched the tragedy in Syria, if things would be different had the government there disarmed the populace before things got out of hand? I guess we should ask the civilian population there. They are being called ‘rebel forces’ because they choose to overthrow a corrupt and cruel government. Is this what America wants?
       I, for one, do not believe that outlawing anything will eradicate it. What must happen is that minds must be changed, one at a time, step by step, word by word, until we have all been taught to respect one another. If something we own is of no benefit to us, why do we own it in the first place? Where is our curriculum in schools to teach respect of each other as well as respecting each other’s property? Things of importance must first be taught in the home.
       Completely automatic weapons are NOT used for hunting! I was a hunter for many years and never used one. Have we grown so fearful of our neighbors that we must defend ourselves with an UZI? When is the last time you even said hello to your neighbor?
       I have been called an idealist. So, I am. I look forward to the day when we all love each other, no matter the color of our skin, what our religion, our politics, our different ideas about doing things. Isn’t this what makes up a society? Isn’t variety still the spice of life?
      It is no wonder to me that there is instability among us. The question we must ask ourselves is: Who created this instability? Was it the government? Or was it our own carelessness in not ‘minding the store’?
       It is time the American people took a long hard look at their own attitudes. A change of attitude will really do a person good, if it is for the better.