Gun rights versus gun control - both are getting lots of ink and pixels these days. But, are we really looking for solutions in the right places? As tragic as recent events in Las Vegas, Newtown, Aurora, etc., have been, I ask, “Could they have been averted earlier in the trajectory of each?” The answer that comes to me is probably, “Yes.”
As a supporter of our Constitutional rights, including the Second Amendment, I know that rights come with responsibilities. We have the right to protect ourselves. But, that right comes with a responsibility for us, as citizens. Protection does not necessarily mean the employment of deadly force in all circumstances. If one can stop a suspicious behavior that may indicate instability, mental illness or a terrorist ideology, then is it not incumbent on one to act?
By acting, I do not suggest that smooth breathing and trigger control are the next steps. But rather, a judicious call to law enforcement or mental health authorities may avert the next horrific headline. As a former deputy sheriff, I know that law enforcement cannot do its job without information from the public. Letting the authorities know about suspicious behavior is one of the best ways to protect oneself and our communities. But, one might ask, “Won’t I be thought of as a rat or squealer?” I do not think so. If one sees a smoke column rising from a friend’s home – an urgent call to the fire department would be the correct thing to do, right? The smoke could be from a pot of beans, burning on the stove. Or, the start of something much worse.
We must do a better job of looking after one and another. I would prefer not to read the report of a family member or friend saying something like, “Well, he (she) was acting strangely, but I never thought it would come to this,” again. How about you, fellow Second Amendment advocates?
Tim Vaughn, Winnemucca, NV