Dan Smith: Law-abiding people should be left alone

Dec. 31, 2012 @ 11:09 PM

My last words this year; wishing I didn’t have to talk about this subject.

As you know, we had a horrific shooting two weeks ago. These things are becoming more and more common these days. Many have asked, why? Many have given answers and solutions. Nothing seems to work.

We thought, we hoped, that the Colorado theater killing this summer was the last and worst one of these massacres. This was not to be. What made this last one in Connecticut so atrocious was the fact that it was innocent, defensless children.

This one hurt the most, for all of us. These kids never had the chance to really enjoy life and to grow to experience all the goodness, and things that mean so much to us that have.

The parents will never be the same again. The kids who survived will never be the same again. I can’t imagine going through this when I was small; how do you react as time brings you through the years with your fellow surviving students? Children are not suppose to have to endure such a monstrous act.

I’ve seen politicians, leaders and other people calling for strict gun control and even complete bans on weapons of any kind. I’ve met a few of them myself and am just not impressed by their opinions and philosophies. They just don’t have a clear understanding of the consequences of their own opinions.

We have the 2nd Amendment that most Americans adhere to and support and who do not want to feel the weight of an already oppressive government taking yet another right guaranteed them by our most precious document, the U.S. Constitution.

I’ve analyzed the recent shootings over the past years and have come to a most accurate conclusion: The recent shooters were all on some kind of anti-depressant drug or were just not in their right minds when they committed their crimes. I’ve never seen or heard anyone who I would call normal involved in any such display of aggression that we’ve witnessed recently.

Of the gun owners and shooters I know, they are good Americans who abide by the rules and never get themselves in trouble with the law or commit crimes with their weapons.

I know collectors of guns who simply love to go to the range and enjoy hitting their paper targets and talking with fellow shooters about their passion for their weapons. People collect many different things that they find to be of interset to them. I know that gun collectors have a hobby that is far more dangerous than collecting stamps or coins, but I also know that they are safety-conscious at the same time.

The mother of the killer in Connecticut did not take proper responsibility for her passion and allowed her son, who was already mentally challenged, access to those weapons. She, of all people, should have been even more responsible than most folks who are gun enthusiast.

It is my belief that people who commit these mass killings have just enough of a thought process to know where to go to commit the shooting sprees they conduct. They go to places that advertise that they are gun-free zones: no guns allowed on the premise. This is where they know they will have no opposition as they fire at will at sitting ducks.

The answer is not to punish the innocent law-abiding citizens by leaving them to the same mercy as the people in designated “no gun zones,” but to educate people about guns and how to use them along with the safety precautions attached to this responsibility. I know of two counties in Tennessee, Sevier and DeKalb, that give the option of a hunting and firearms curriculum safety courses to elementary students; at least they used to. Other states do the same thing.

Background checks should always be administered when purchasing a weapon. Again, I’ve never seen a gun dealer not do this in my presence.

By the way, on the same Friday that the attack in Connecticut took place, a man in China, with a knife, went into an elementary school and slashed 22 students. Back in 2010, again in China, a man slashed 28 students, two teachers, and a security guard. My point? Even in countries that have strict gun control, badhearted people will still get to you with whatever they have on hand.

I don’t believe in gun control, and neither does the Constitution. I believe in people’s right to make up their own minds and do the right thing. If they don’t, then punish them if they break the law.

Leave honest law-abiding people be.

— Dan M. Smith is a Cincinnati native and Gatlinburg resident. He is the author of two novels. His son is serving in the Air Force. E-mail to dan0729@yahoo.com.