Saturday, January 12, 2013
Noah Pozner: war and peace
These facts are indisputable. Yet my mind can't seem to hold them together in coherent thought. We are taught those who went to war fought so that we could live free. I wasn't born in this country and have only been a citizen for twenty-five years. That may be the reason why I have a hard time understanding that, to some Americans, freedom means having the right to procure, own and learn to use weapons that can obliterate classes full of children in seconds.
I have heard the old canard that guns don't kill, people do. That is certainly true. Guns cannot walk themselves into a school, a movie theater or a shopping mall and pull their own triggers. At least they can't yet. Who knows about tomorrow? If we can fly drones, is it far-fetched to imagine a world where affordable robots could be armed and programmed to go and kill?
Thousands cannot have died or nearly starved to death in prisoner camps -as my father did- to protect the right of gun enthusiasts to own and use weapons that were not even invented in their lifetimes. They died or starved to protect the lives and freedom of their families and fellow citizens, including the right of little children to get an education without being afraid of "bad men" blasting their way into their schools and the rights of parents everywhere to see their children peacefully grow into responsible adults.
Gun people may be entrenched in their conviction that their right to any deadly weapon under the sun is God-given and shouldn't be tampered with. Because of the powerful interests that stand behind them and skillfully manipulate at least some of them, they are very vocal and their voices carry far and wide.
Many of them are parents though. Because of our shared humanity, I know that in private these fathers and mothers are thinking: "What if it had been my kid? Would I still feel that the right to own semi-automatic weapons is more sacred than the right of my child to his or her life?"
To them I say, take my grandson, take all twenty of Newtown slaughtered children, take all the kids who die from gunshots every year in our country and make them your own. They were real boys and girls, just like your sons and daughters. Before raising your voice to be heard, in Washington or elsewhere, please listen for theirs in your heart and think of your own kids. Make it personal. Believe me, there is nothing more personal than grieving for a murdered child.