Saturday, December 15, 2012
What the Future Holds
Whew! Well, that's over and done with. I'm good for another five years.
The strangest thing happened on our way out of the medical office. As we exited the elevator, we ran into a friend of mine. He moved to the city a few years ago after he got divorced, but still comes out here to the suburbs to see the doctor. He was just going in for his physical. (I asked him later how it went. He frowned and said, "My doctor wants me to lose weight." I told him: "Well, just get yourself a fatter doctor!")
Half a minute later, in the lobby, we saw a woman I used to work with. Hadn't seen her in at least five years. We exchanged startled hellos, and briefly caught up on what we'd been doing. I don't know what she was there for, but she looked happy enough, and so it couldn't have been anything serious.
Then before we even got to the parking lot, we saw our dance instructor, who was coming in to the facility with her mother. More surprised hellos, and quick catching up.
Is this what happens when you get older -- you see all your friends at the doctor's office?
Anyway, B and I have already made a date, for December 2017, for our next colonoscopy. But, I wonder, will we still be living here then? Will we be somewhere else? But at least it's likely that we'll be alive.
It seems embarrassingly petty and self-centered to be worrying about a possible polyp in my colon when 20 little kids are being shot and murdered up in Connecticut. What are my problems compared to theirs? Just think of the lives cut short, the horror the parents must be going through. Our hearts obviously go out to them.
My brother-in-law would say that if more people were armed, then maybe these things wouldn't happen. Somebody with a gun might have stopped the shooter; and besides, if the shooter knew there was a good chance he'd run into someone who'd shoot back, maybe he wouldn't try to kill these kids and their teachers in the first place.
My brother-in-law spent 20-plus years in the military, and I know he owns at least one gun -- he showed me his license once -- and is comfortable carrying a lethal weapon. He's a conservative who believes in individual freedom and personal responsibility, and the right to carry arms. He talks the conservative line in general, and since he's a mature, responsible person his outlook works pretty well for him. And honestly, for the most part I respect his beliefs. I even share some of them, at least to some reasonable extent. I certainly don't think he's a stupid kuckledragger -- the way a lot of liberals think of people who don't agree with them.
But I do think my brother-in-law is wrong on guns.
How can anyone seriously think that arming more people would prevent incidents like the one in Newtown, Conn.? We're not in the wild west anymore -- and besides, that wasn't such a safe place anyway. Is a civilian really going to pull out his gun and confront a killer? And if he did, how would he fare against a shooter who's wearing combat gear and carrying semiautomatic pistols and a semiautomatic rifle?
Did any armed bystander pull out a gun and stop the killing in Tucson in Jan. 2011? Or in Aurora, Colorado, in July 2012? Or at Virginia Tech in July 2007?
No, instead we hear news like we did last week, of a man in Pennsylvania who accidentally shot and killed his son in the parking lot of a gun store. He thought the gun was not loaded.
It's time to interpret the 2nd Amendment in the light of the 21st century, instead of the 18th century, to make sure we keep semiautomatic guns out of the hands of people who are mentally disturbed, or even just careless. Would it be that horrible to require people to be trained and licensed before they could shoot a gun? After all, we don't hesitate to require that of people who drive an automobile. Would it be that horrible to register guns, like we do automobiles, and require owners be responsible for them and to carry liability insurance?
And while we're at it, do we have to all be so resentful and angry all the time? Do we have to call people nasty names when they don't agree with us? Do we have to be so aggressive when we're on the road and cloaked in the anonymity of our cars? Do we have to beat people up (as they did in Michigan last week) when they vote on legislation we don't like?
I think we all need to be a little less self-centered, a little more caring of others, a little less insulting to people who don't agree with us. Let's do it for the kids.