The news of the school massacre at the school in Connecticut has been sickening. It casts a pall over our home and probably yours also. It is hard to get ones arms around such an evil act. How did our society allow that evil individual to even exist? What kind of a monster will kill his own mother in cold blood? Young children are to be protected, not murdered. It was an act so bad and it hurts deeply.
While my brother and I were youths, our parents drilled into our psyches "Never point a gun at another person!" No matter if it was a toy gun or real pistol, rifle or shotgun. Later military training reinforced that principle, "Never point a weapon at another person unless you intend to kill!" Tom and I lived that principle, even though it somewhat cramped our style in playing "Cowboys and Indians" with our grade school friends. We both grew up with .22 rifles in hand and to this day enjoy rifle, pistol and shotgun shooting for target or game.
Several years ago someone developed a gun that shot marble sized pellets filled with different colored paint. On target ranges players stalked each other to shoot and be shot. I understand that being hit with one of those paintballs was painful as well as messy. The whole concept shouted loud and clear to my soul that this was not a good idea.
The modern gaming industry has come out with a proliferation of video games where the player shoots everything in sight. The virtual figures die left and right, no pain, no agony no regret. Kill, kill, kill. Again this old guy doesn't do the video games but my soul shouts that this too is not a good idea.
The second amendment to the Constitution clearly states that as U.S. citizens our right to bear arms shall not be infringed. Sure we have adopted a few good sense rules to modify that right a bit, things like convicted felons have no right to possess a gun. Most citizens have no need for a gun that will put out continuous fire with one pull of the trigger what we call automatic weapons and most are banned. The anti-gun crowd isn't satisfied however and can think up all sorts of ways to keep guns away from peaceful law abiding citizens. Register them, ban them from school property, hospitals, you name it, and keep them off airliners or any public transportation. Our powers that be don't allow guns to be discharged within the McCook city limits and the list goes on and on. In the anti's way of thinking only criminals and cops can carry guns and somehow they ignore the fact the cops seem to always show up late at the scene of the crime.
My answer to improved school security would be to have selected administrators and teachers licensed and encouraged to carry concealed weapons. The concept would improve public security in general as a criminal intent on doing bodily harm would not have the security provided by the sign that says "No Firearms Allowed." It appears that in all the recent mass murders the perps turned their guns on themselves only when they saw a late arriving weapon pointed in their direction.
I fear the knee jerk reaction from our powers that be to cure society's sickness. Inevitably the call will be for gun control from an administration that wants "no crisis to go to waste." I only hope that they will be willing to address our societal problem of ever higher divorce rates destroying the nuclear family. Gay marriage; what an abomination. The secular effort to take God out of the classroom when we need the moral teaching of religion more than ever. I just pray for God's will to shape our path forward.
Now for a happy memory in this time of Christmas. Next week, my column will not publish so here is a Christmas story to share from my past.
Circa early 1960s, I was flying back and forth from Cape Cod to Sondrestrom AB, Greenland on a fairly regular basis. In that non-radar environment, we were required to make position reports by radio to certain stations in Canada along the way. It may have been Sept Iles or maybe Mont Joli (pronounced one word mon-julie). The radio operators along the way were stationed in pretty remote places and were generally happy to chit chat a bit after the official business was completed.
That day the operator on the ground asked, "What type of aircraft are you flying today." My response, "A KC-97G. Have you ever seen one"? To my surprise his answer," Well yes, five years ago I got to tour one that had force landed in Sydney (I don't remember, it could have been Moncton). The pilot, one of your Air Force gents named Captain Tom Garvey, after landing declared an open house and let anybody interested come and tour that large airplane while he awaited maintenance personnel to come and fix it."
I then said something to him along the line that "Sure is a big empty fuselage." His response "Well this one wasn't as it was full of Christmas trees!"
You know it is a small world out there as I knew Tom Garvey. He was a Major by then and assigned to my home unit. Back home I found him in the Command Post and asked for the rest of the story. Turns out that he was stationed in Georgia and was pulling temporary duty at Harmon AFB, Newfoundland. About two weeks before Christmas Tom and crew were scheduled to return home so he "acquired" a whole load of fresh cut Christmas trees. Obviously that was in the days before semis delivered truck loads of tree farm Christmas trees.
The early KC-97s were equipped with trouble-prone Curtis Electric propellers. Up over northern Canada Tom's airplane's propellers decided to become uncontrollable and he had no choice but do a forced landing in that remote area. He was lucky to be able to put it on the ground in one piece. Ever the accommodating kind of soul with several days to wait for help Tom declared an "Open House" with all comers welcome to come look and see. My controller had been one of those lucky ones to make the tour.
I have no idea if Tom got back to Georgia in time for all those Christmas trees to work their magic that season. I do know that such acts are why the American GI has worked his way into the hearts of people the world over. Merry Christmas.
That is the way I saw it.