Today’s Courier Herald Column. I’m posting early today as the news of Colorado will dominate the day, and I’d prefer to contain any comments relating to that in one place. I strongly suggest you take heed of the message below when doing so. Failure to exercise respect and or decorum required by such tragic events will affect your ability to continue as part of this community.
“Should active duty military personnel who are under the age of 21 be allowed to obtain a Georgia weapons carry license?”
Today is the day set aside to review that last of the 5 ballot questions for the Georgia GOP primary ballot. As I am preparing to submit in advance of a Friday morning deadline, there is horrible news out of Aurora Colorado regarding a shooting during a midnight premier of the latest Batman movie. It doesn’t change my opinion on the above question, but it does require a different context. Thus, for this column, I’m starting over.
As to the question at hand, the direct answer is “yes”. Active duty military personnel have received the best training on how to handle weapons. I am much more comfortable having a 19 year old soldier carrying a personal weapon in my presence than many older owners of weapons who understand and utilize their second amendment rights to carry, but only infrequently if ever practice their skills in shooting ranges.
In addition, the underage military service men and women have been given the authority to use these weapons to defend us overseas against our enemies. It seems less than charitable that we do not currently extend the right to them to carry a weapon in order to defend themselves here at home.
As I write, there is still much confusion as to what actually happened in Colorado, with many of the news accounts conflicting each other. Journalists working the night shift to fill a 24 hour news cycle are having difficulty explaining many of the facts. One report, relayed via twitter, has stated the murderer used an “AK-47 style shotgun rifle”. Statements like that should remind us all that often, those attempting to relay facts to us do not understand them, and sometimes it’s just best to turn off the TV for a bit until details can be sorted out.
There will be politics played with these tragic events. It is inevitable, and it is already being done on both sides. I will attempt to avoid those topics here.
Politics, and more importantly, the creation of laws, should not be practiced during heights of emotion. The backdrop of tragedy distorts the lasting effects of either good intentions or visceral backlash. We are a nation of laws. For our laws to matter, they must be based on sound reasoning. Raw emotion, anger, uncertainty, and fear are not the basis for sound reasoning. They are instead the incubator of knee-jerk reactionary measures.
A nation of laws deserves more than reactionary measures.
As such, today is a day of prayers for the people of Aurora Colorado. The scene of the tragedy is roughly 20 miles from Columbine High School, it equally entrenched in the nation’s conscience as the location of a senseless tragedy. The people of Colorado have paid this price before.
There are no easy explanations. Guns will clearly be a focal point, but there has to be so much more to the problem, as well as any potential solution. Yet we all know that while there will be a lot of talk, no real solution will be forthcoming at any point in the foreseeable future.
There will be those who attempt to use this incident to further drive us apart as a people and as a nation. Resist that urge.
We should not allow the actions of a madman to determine our own actions. We can and should mourn the victims. We can and should work to understand what happened, and to the extent possible, why.
But these are processes that take time. Time that we do not enjoy as a luxury as opinion makers scramble to report and analyze the facts first.
My instant reaction is that we will need healing. Our nation needs prayers more than it needs new policies this morning.
This is a sad day. Don’t waste it on politics.