Shooting solution?

Dear Editor:

What a tragedy in Newtown, CT. I cannot imagine the pain of a parent losing a child to gun violence. Our prayers are with the families of those young students, their teachers and the first responders.

When will it end? Probably never. We are a violent species.

When will it subside enough to become a rarity? When we who disagree on gun ownership decide it’s less painful to talk respectfully with one another than to await the next news bulletin of a mass shooting.

We have more guns than people in our country. Our homicide rate is high compared to other industrialized countries. Guns are an integral part of the problem because they are the preferred tool for committing mass murder.

On the other hand, there is a valid argument that our inventory of guns provides protection from an oppressive government such as we see in countries on every continent. The NRA and 2nd Amendment advocates are not a gun-crazed enemy devoid of compassion.

Is there any realistic hope that those on different sides of the gun issue can get together? I believe so, and would like to share my faith born of my experience over 60 years.

I remember when black people were required, by law, to enter by the back door and sit at the back of the bus. Not now, but it took a lot of fear mongering, persistence in the face of violence, and public soul searching.

I remember when smoking was a right in most any place at most any time regardless of whether others close by might be suffering from respiratory difficulties. Not now, but it took research, lots of loud talk, and time.

I remember when driving after drinking was not only a right rarely judged illegal, but was a mark of machismo. Not now, but it took a lot of needless deaths, MADD volunteers, and argument before attitudes and laws changed.

So, don’t give up hope. The people with whom you disagree can be your best ally in defining ideas that improve — if not solve — our difficulties. In the meantime, we’ll have to help our neighbors bear the pain while we await the next news bulletin.

Jay Davison

This story was posted on December 20, 2012.