The recent shooting in Nova Scotia will likely get the gun nuts all excited, saying it can happen anywhere. Yeah, it can. We know that. What’s the point of your point, though? I shouldn’t happen anywhere, with here topping the list.
Below is a column written in March, 2013. It still hold trust…
By GORDON GLANTZ
GORDONVILLE — Left of center. That means a lot of things to a lot of people, and not all of them good, but it is also the title of a semi-popular Suzanne Vega song.
It actually came on the CD player while driving Sofia to school Thursday morning, and it caught her increasingly discerning ear, as evidenced by her bobbing her little head and singing along in the backseat.
I was able to enjoy that she and I were on the same musical wavelength because, in a true rarity, we were running ahead of schedule.
Through the rear-view mirrors, I could check her out at stop signs and red lights. While we were waiting behind school buses with their lights flashing and stop signs popping out to temporarily halt traffic, it struck me how these road safety features are, more or less, anti-people devices.
It is human nature, regrettably, that many read a stop sign and interpret it as ‘yield’ while a ‘yield’ sign means ‘keep going.’
That’s why Sofia was in a child safety seat as we rocked and rolled down the road. That’s why I had my seat belt on. That’s why, if the worst happened, the vehicle is equipped with an airbag.
None of these safeguards existed back when the ‘motor vehicle’ first hit the road. They evolved over time, meeting the needs of the society.
These measures can’t be enforced all the time, and they don’t prevent every death or serious injury, but most of us would agree that they help.
It’s why we get our cars inspected once a year. It’s why we change our brakes and our bald tires.
It’s why there is a speed limit. It’s why laws are now in place, or in motion, to crack down on distracted drivers more interested in texting and yammering on their cell phones than being safe drivers.
It’s why they make cars with all-wheel drive and turn signals and high beams.
Realistically, people are still going to speed. They are still going to fall prey to temporary ADD while behind the wheel.
They are going to drink and drive. As long as there are bars and cars, you can bet your recession-depleted bottom dollar than some fool is going to tempt fate and think they have immunity.
To combat it, there are stricter rules for DUI. And there are DUI checkpoints.
As a system of checks and balances, we don’t give up on trying, even though people are still going to act like, well, people.
Yet, when it comes to gun control, the pro-gun types out there are sticking to their guns more than ever in the wake of renewed efforts to deploy the same common sense we have on the road.
Since Newtown, driving Sofia to and from school has been an almost religious experience, as I can’t shake the vision of the parents who said goodbye to their first graders that fateful day and never saw them again.
I have spoken out about gun control, and I’m still doing it because I refuse to consider it old news, and have gotten back a lot of venom.
Personally, I see no real need for guns and don’t get the fascination. In the few hundred years since the Second Amendment, cars have become a little more essential to day-to-day living than a gun.
But these instruments that should be in the hands of the military and law enforcement are ingrained in our culture.
I can respect that law-abiding citizens do the right thing, although I am compelled to point out the ‘tragic accidents’ that occur in homes and on hunting trips each year.
I am, like the Suzanne Vega song, left of center on the issue.
The operative word is “control.”
I never said ‘take away.’ Neither has President Barack Obama.
But people – being people – hear what they want to hear and read what they want to read.
At left of center, there is more fresh air; more realism.
Just like you can’t go around rounding up illegal immigrants and transporting them home, like many pro-gun types would like to do, you can’t go door to door and collect weapons.
But you can start to stop the madness.
If not now, when? The arguments against doing so simply don’t hold up.
‘Guns don’t kill, people do.’ ‘People die in cars each year, and you don’t ban them, do ya?’
The common denominator is ‘people.’
For the car argument, we have the rules of the road, enforced by your local and state police – a necessary arm of the g-g-g-g-overnment – to protect and save as many lives in the face of people being people.
And since people are people, and they are prone to temper tantrums and temporary insanity, we need better gun control as much as we need salt on the roads when it snows.
And if you want to take the defeatist stance, saying that it won’t matter anyway, let’s do away with all those traffic laws.
Let people be people, and drive 100 mph through a school zone. Let them blow through a red light at a busy intersection because they feel like it.
Just exercising their freedom, their liberty, right?
Wrong. I know it is human nature to want it all.
If the statement ‘you can’t have it both ways’ was made the 11th commandment, I’d be OK with hanging it up with the other 10 in public.
Cease resisting the president so much on his left-of-center effort to make the highway of life, circa 2013, a little safer.
Close the gun-show loopholes. Same as applying for a driver’s license.
Ban semi-automatic weapons. Same as not driving while intoxicated.
Immediate results? No. It may take a generation – when my daughter is driving my grandchild to school, in even safer vehicles than today – for tangible change, but it is worth the effort.
People are people, true No matter where we stand – or fall – on this thorny issue, whether we are left of center or far right, we share one commonality.
We only live once. If that’s not worth one step toward the middle, then what is?