Red was a young man when his hometown was shattered by the crime of Charles Whitman – an ex-Marine and Eagle Scout who took his rifles to the observation deck of the UT Tower killing 16 people including his wife and mother. At the time and for many years after, it remained a bizarre and seemingly random event that was not likely to be repeated. Then came the mass shooting at the McDonalds in San Ysidro and the Edmond, OK post office and the Luby’s in Killeen and Columbine and Sandy Hook and Fort Hood and Virginia Tech and the Pulse Nightclub and Las Vegas and now small out-of-the-way Sutherland Springs. And you know what – at work no one is really talking about it even though it happened within easy driving distance. It’s just so damn common now that people are becoming desensitized to unbelievable horror being visited on innocent people on a regular basis. There is rarely a rhyme or reason to this senseless violence and nothing is ever done. Six year old children are slaughtered and there is no political will to do anything to keep more weapons out of the hands of the mentally unstable. More than 50 die from modified weapons in Las Vegas and nothing can be done to make sure that such firepower is not available nearly upon demand.
Red doesn’t pretend to have the solution, but he sure can see the problem. If Whitman had access to the firepower that is routinely available then who knows what the death toll would have been in August of 1966. Oh, but now is not the time to talk about this. Because it never is. We send out our useless thoughts and hopeful prayers and go back to our lives leaving others to pick up the shattered remains of a life. And we fret about the Second Amendment and trot out tired old platitudes about how guns don’t kill people. Well, guns may not kill people but the wrong gun in the wrong hands is a deadly recipe that reaps a poisoned meal for far too many innocent families on what seems to be an almost weekly basis. This is the only developed country on Earth where such absurd mayhem is tolerated and met with stupid talking points like “An armed society is a polite society.” Tell that to the dozens who were politely gunned down on Sunday.
Red will draw the line here. Semi-automatic weapons must go. There is absolutely no need for anyone outside of the military to have access to that kind of firepower. They are inappropriate for legitimate hunting, too dangerous for realistic self-defense and too easily available. They may be “fun” to shoot, but can that momentary thrill justify allowing the carnage that happened in Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs to continue. Is your right to have a bit of fast-shooting fun so important that you can ignore the consequences of allowing these weapons to proliferate? If in your mind you can, then something is very wrong with you.
Red challenges you to drive over Sutherland Springs look a grieving mother, father, brother, son or daughter in the face and say – “Hey sorry about your loss, but shooting AR 15 is just really a lot of fun and my fun is more important than your family and anyway I’ve got the Second Amendment and the NRA on my side. So tough luck that your loved one was in the wrong place at the wrong time. And remember guns don’t kill people.”
If you can’t do that, then you are a spineless coward.