From: Michael Greven
We have been living for the past two years in Kenya, a beautiful country that has real issues with unpredictable terrorist attacks. Before entering the shopping mall, your car is checked underneath for bombs and you are patted down and wanded with a metal detector.
Prior to entering Christmas Eve service last year, the car was checked thoroughly and we were checked for weapons before entering the church. The entrance to the chapel was guarded by soldiers with automatic weapons. Armed guards are in front of every bank and all shopping malls. Generally speaking this is all rather disconcerting.
I read our daily newspapers from afar and am now wondering if we are headed toward the same type of a society, and the concern of terrorists is comparatively remote in the U.S. Americans are arming themselves to protect themselves from what? Violent crime has been on the decrease for years, and yet we have lunatics walking into pizza joints, grocery stores and schools killing people on a mind-numbingly regular basis. Something has got to give.
The NRA is creating a culture of fear in our country, and that is unacceptable. Politicians of all stripes seem to be in fear or beholden to the NRA. What is that about? Do we now have a gun lobby controlling the interests of the American people?
There is no need for people to have hundreds of rounds of ammunition in their homes for semi-automatic weapons. To do what with? We pay taxes to have qualified policemen and National Guardsmen fulfill the role of protecting us, and by all measures they do a very good job. The proliferation of guns has only made the job of law enforcement more difficult and much more risky. I doubt that most citizens would say that their police force is incompetent and that they have no faith in our National Guard. I for one will defer to our police force for my safety. They are typically well-trained and responsive.
There needs to be a new coherent dialogue around guns. This does not need to be a discussion about hunting and even about reasonable self-protection as most Americans appreciate this desire. However it has to be about bringing an end to issuing weapons and mass quantities of ammunition to people who clearly should not be allowed to have them. The dialogue absolutely must be about bringing an end to the sale of military-grade weaponry to the public.
Now what we need is politicians on both sides of the aisle who are brave enough to get this dialogue underway immediately, regardless of the political consequences and threats from the NRA and its membership. We need candor and leadership, not groveling and miming of the party line of a powerful lobby.