A few thoughts about these shootings that seem to happen with more regularity in this country. First, this latest piece of human garbage claimed that he was not religious, but that he was spiritual. I often say this.... no, this is who I am.... but this evil bastard was not spiritual. Spiritual people do not commit mass murder. Spiritual people have love and acceptance in their hearts for all living things. He was an evil, troubled man who decided that he was going to die and that he was going to take as many people with him as possible. I wish that he had quietly taken his own life instead of inflicting as much terror, as much devastation, on as many people as he could. Make no mistake about it, his aim was to hurt not only those poor souls that he shot, but their families and all those in the community that have had their lives permanently changed by this. His acts were far reaching, as they have touched every caring person in this great country. It puts those who believe that it is their right to bear arms against those who feel that there should be ways to control the sale of guns to people of questionable mental health. There are arguments to be made on both sides of the issue; the problem is that things get heated and out of hand and no sensible way to solve the problems are ever put forth. Already today, I have seen posts about arming everyone so that they can protect themselves in case something like this happens again. I will tell you that I think that this is just foolish. Professionals, like the police, have problems when the adrenalin is flowing and they are in a gunfight. Just look at what happened in Times Square, when innocent civilians were hit by police gunfire. This is not against the police, this is just the nature of what happens in an extreme situation. Innocents get hit by friendly fire. You have to have nerves of steel to get through something like this without panicking; just ask any military person who has been in a firefight. It's not television or the movies, it's real life.
There has to be a sensible way to work towards the goal of stopping these killers. There has to be a way to ferret out those who need to be counseled and prevented from owning such a dangerous thing. I have to tell you, I do not like guns. I had a friend who accidentally shot himself in the head fooling around with an officer's gun when I was in the Marine Corps. We joined on the buddy system back in 1966, and were both trained in the use of firearms, but he was appointed the barracks armorer, and he was fooling around with an officers .45 and shot himself in the head. The last thing he said was "Oh no.."
I had a cousin, a teenager at the time, who was shot during a robbery of the video store that he was managing. He died of shock. Something that his family, myself included, will never get over.. There was a man that I grew up with who felt that he was being bullied, went home and got a gun, and fired at the ground. The bullet ricocheted and killed a bystander. He spent several years in prison for that.
I have never owned a gun, except for when I was on active duty in the Marine Corps. The last time that I picked up a gun was in April of 1970, when I turned in my M-14 for the last time. I knew then, and I know to this day, that it is too easy, when you are angry, to pick up that gun and threaten, or use it. It's just too easy. That's my opinion.
Now, I believe in the constitutional right to bear arms. However, I don't believe that this means that every person, regardless of their mental health, regardless of their state of mind, should be able to own a gun. Sensible gun laws need to implemented. I feel that it only makes sense that everyone that owns a gun should be duly licensed and the weapon should be registered. . We need a license to drive a car. We need to register and insure our motor vehicles. Why should a gun, which is more dangerous, be any different?
Now, I know that there are so many out there that will vehemently disagree with me. That's your right. This is my opinion, based on much thought and personal experience. You cannot dispute my experience, and my opinion is just that: My Opinion! I ask only that you think about this.
I am tired of people being slaughtered just because they were going about their normal days, trying to learn and improve themselves. I am tired of seeing children cowering in fear as a madman stalks them and takes their budding lives away from them, simply because they are deranged and angry at society. I cannot stand seeing innocent men, women, children, and babies killed by stray bullets in drive by shootings, or people being killed because they went to see a movie, This has to stop. I am not looking for an argument. I am simply telling you how I feel.
I will be 69 in a few days, and I am sick over all of this. There has to be some meeting of the minds. I have lived my life without fear of being killed my a madman for that 69 years. The trouble is, these days I am probably foolish for not being afraid. Is this the way that we in the United States must live our lives from now on? Do I have to worry every day that some demented person, or persons, can walk into the school of one of my grandchildren and snuff their lives out in a moment of unfocused rage? Do we not have the right to live free of the fear of being murdered simply because we are going about our daily routine? Why can't something be done to make these threats to the peace and safety of all good citizens dissipate? I can only sit here and shake my head in disbelief at the backward steps we seem to have taken in assuring public safety.
As always, I wish you all Peace, Love, and Tranquility, and I wish a safe existence for all.
John Zaffino, October 3, 2015
Kent Lakes, New York