Since the Parkland shooting, I have been nonsensical with grief, worry, and anger.

All I seem to hear is the usual NRA rhetoric of good guy with a gun, we need more guns , and how dare those kids talk about gun control.

The mother’s anguished screams to President Trump to ‘do something’ has not left my brain.

But what really set me off was someone I know stating that we can’t control crazy or evil people, they are going to do what they do. Therefore the only course of action is nothing. Because I had been unreasonable towards them, I felt the need to apologize. They accepted it and then felt the need to lecture me once more so I might understand their  point of view.

That is where they lost me. Accept the apology and move on. Explain your side so that I can know how wrong I am and I know you are a pompous ass who only cares about your point of view.

I also know that they were wrong because I know that determined people can change a society.

Look what happened when the federal government instituted speed limits. While states have been setting speed limits since 1901, the federal government set highway driving speed limits at 55 mph in 1972. This lead to a drop in driving fatalities by nearly 50%. That was huge.

In the 80s, the federal government also forced states to raise their drinking age to 21 by refusing to give them highway money. Maybe it didn’t matter to those of you surrounded by states with all the same drinking age but it really mattered where I grew up. Wisconsin was only 90 minutes away. Kid could drive up, drink, and come home.

But every year, there was always a fatality of a car load of kids coming home. Every year our year book had a dedication page to the dead. Every year someone did not come home. These were laws that made changes to behavior that were seen as unchangable.

It was during this time when mothers became and angry about their children being killed by drunk drivers. MADD was formed in 1980 and these women worked to change laws, make reforms, and stop the death toll.

Unlike the temperance unions that destroyed bars and banned the creation of alcohol products, these women went after the people who drank to excess and worked to get them off the roads. That is how drinking ages were raised, penalties for drunk driving increased, and various punishments put into effect. The efforts of MADD brought down the fatalities rates 50 percent.

I think people would have said that there was no way you could bring down the drunk driving fatality rates. You can’t control what drunken people might do.

But what if we took some of those same ideas towards gun laws. Say we made gun laws consistent across all states so that every one follows the same rules. What if age limits were set for gun owner ship? What if magazine sizes were limited? What if we changed gun rules to match what MADD did or the federal government did that actually saved lives?

Or we could sit around pretending there is nothing we can do so that we can continue to caress our guns and be satisfied that the right to own guns is safe.  Forget the inalienable rights declared in the declaration of Independence as the right to life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness. As long as guns are available no matter what, who cares if another group of school kids are shot to death.

 

 

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