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BY JERRY TALLMER | Good morning, children.¬†This object on my desk is a radio. It was invented by a number of people, but mostly by Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) and Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1911). It is an instrument of information, guidance and culture, among other things.
Let us turn it on and see — no, hear — what it has to tell us this morning.
The radio is telling us that at 9:40 this morning — Friday morning — someone has shot and killed 26 people, 20 of them children ages 5 to 10 (later corrected as ages 6 and 7), at a little one-story elementary school in the Sandy Hook section of a small town called Newtown, Connecticut, just across the border from the state of New York.
Now that’s culture for you. It’s even spooky. Sandy Hook. Hurricane Sandy.
Let us turn on the television and see what it¬†is telling us, and showing us:
Automobiles parked any which way. Lots of them. Police cars. Ambulances. Lots of them. A fire station. A schoolhouse. Gurneys. National guards. State troopers. F.B.I. persons. Local cops. People running. People struggling uphill. People hugging small children. People crying. Lots of them, of all ages.
It is a school killing in America the Beautiful second only statistically to Virginia Tech (32 dead) back in the year 2007. Fits right into the template of slaughter by guns — by guns — by guns¬†– by guns — at a Midwest shopping mall, in a movie theater, in a Sikh temple, in front of a Tucson, Arizona supermarket, at another school, another school, another school…61 mass killings — and counting — since 1982.
Children, now the daily press is reporting on the armament carried into that schoolhouse by the young man dressed in armor-plated black who shot and killed those 26 human beings — 20 first-grade kids, six adults, one of them the much-loved principal — that morning. One wonders how the killer could even have walked, bearing all this lethal gear. And what, if anything, was he thinking?
And guess what, children. We are told that at least three of these weapons, among them the assault rifle, were purchased — quite legally — by the killer’s mother, a divorcée who lived alone in a good-sized house in Newtown and may or may not have at one time been a teacher at that very school.
Whatever the case, she paid for those gun purchases through a bullet fired into her face that made her son’s first murder victim that ghastly morning.
All quite constitutionally kosher.
Look here, children. Read this. It’s only 27 words. It is the Bill of Rights Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, adopted December 16, 1791. As follows:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.
Gun lovers love the Second Amendment. They live and die by it. And make other people die by it, lots of them. Their N.R.A. — National Rifle Association — has nine-tenths of the politicians in this country shaking in their cradles because of it, for fear of it. Some old fogies around here can even remember when N.R.A. stood for something diametrically different, F.D.R.’s National Recovery Administration.
Children, it is distressing, it is infuriating — is it not? –¬†that every person of authority in this country, up to and including an otherwise pitch-perfect president, is playing dodgeball with this question.
Every person of authority but one, it would seem. Who’d have thought that Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, so doggedly wrongheaded on so many things, would be so right in demanding action, at long last — action, no more mealy-mouthed words — on this one.
Gun lovers decry any slightest hint of gun regulation whatsoever as a mortal threat to the Second Amendment.
Well, children, nobody is asking for repeal of the Second Amendment (or of any of our priceless constitutional amendments).
All one asks for — suggests — proposes — is an amendment of the Second Amendment. As follows:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of a qualified, certified, licensed, non-insane person to keep and bear non-automatic arms shall not be infringed.
We do that, or the likes of that, with dogs and fish and automobiles and the drivers of automobiles, not to mention airplanes. Why not with hunt-happy homo sapiens? Let ‘em hunt. Just not hunt us. Or our children.