We have several guns at our house.

Two – a .38 pistol and a .22 pistol. I inherited when my father died. Never have fired either one. Both are unloaded and the bullets – if we still have them – are someplace in the house.

The third firearm is a 12-gauge I bought when we were traveling in RV’s for several years. Haven’t fired it either and am not sure where the shells are. If we have any.

That’s how it is with us. Firearms just aren’t all that important. If someone broke in and I wanted to “defend-life-and-homestead,” that defense would have to start with a search for both weapon and ammunition. It’d take awhile to get ’em together. An interloper would obviously have to be very patient.

We live in a 55+ community with homes on narrow lots very close to each other. On one side of our “homestead,” there’s a family with two boys. They were “grand-fathered” in when the 55+ was added.

One of the boys is about eight. He spends a lot of time, kicking a soccer ball around his small yard. Occasionally, he overdoes it and the ball ends up in our yard.

When he comes to the door to ask if he can retrieve his errant ball, I’ve never had the urge to shoot him. Not once.

His older brother – a teen – occasionally walks through our small front yard as he goes from bus stop to home. I’ve never been overcome with a feeling he needs to be killed for stepping on our grass. Not once.

Besides, by the time I got the weapon and the ammo together in the same place, he’d be halfway through an after-school video. I’d have to go over to his house, ring the bell and ask him to come back into our yard. Just too much effort expended on my part.

Guy living on the other side of us is a 55+ neighbor who occasionally has overnight female company. So, we have a strange car parked in front of our house every so often. I haven’t thought of shooting out the windows or lying-in-wait to kill the owner. Just never occurred to me I had to “protect” our property because of his love life.
Such stories have been in the news lately. Involving people for whom firearms have a greater “importance” in life. People with firearms shooting others for small “violations” of personal space. Like turning around in a stranger’s driveway . People to whom guns and ammunition have a higher level of importance than their neighbor’s lives. People who have not given much thought to Rodney King’s plea “…Can’t we all just get along?”

Guns in the hands of apparently unbalanced – or socially impaired – individuals are all over our news these days. Kids killed. Old folks killed. Teens at a “Sweet 16” birthday party where four are shot to death and 34 – THIRTY-FOUR – are wounded!

Scribes and critics say our nation is “scared,” “frightened.” Of what?
Of whom?

Violence with firearms, fitting the official description of “mass shootings” now occurs in our country about once a week. That means at least three or more people died, mostly for no reason other than they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Killed. Violently.

What the Hell is going on?

No country in the world – countries with people and guns – has the mass-killing numbers of the good ol’ US-of-A. You can stack up the next eight country’s statistics for mass-murder against ours and still not be close. What the Hell is it with us?

And there’s this.

One of the things that scares me most about our current trend of guns and violence against our fellow beings is, when there is an unwanted trend in anything, the pendulum always swings back. And it almost always goes too far in the other direction.

What is “the other direction” when it comes to killing people? Could it be a judicial crackdown of extreme sentencing of offenders? A government-backed effort to confiscate firearms while ignoring the reach of the Second Amendment? How will the country “self-correct” to whatever we call “normal?” When?

Many states now allow “concealed carry” without a license or a whit of firearms training. How many folks carry a gun in the car when traveling? Just tuck a pistol under the front seat. How many folks have a shotgun behind the front door at home? Which lady at the bar is “carrying?”

We live in a time of having to be careful in our daily outings. Whether to church, shopping, banking, schools or just being somewhere in a public setting. We need to be careful at all times.

Now, when at the grocery store, I keep in mind where I would hide if gunfire broke out in the vegetable area. I actually think about it and look for that safe place. If there is one.

And, God, I hate myself for doing that!

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