We are among the most civilized and compassionate nations and peoples in history. Yet, at times, among us are unimaginably the most uncivilized and inhumane of our time. While the proliferation of guns is somewhat casually accepted and we react to their use in mass murders with public outrage, we ultimately do virtually nothing to resolve the crisis.
We express sympathy for those killed in kindergarten classrooms, campuses, concerts, malls, church services, community celebrations and sports venues, among others. We pray for their shattered lives and say we’ll never forget, but shatter their hopes in time by forgetting. Too many people with too many guns are killing too many of our young and most innocent.
I served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 43 years. I was an infantry Marine in three wars and five combat tours. I’m too familiar with guns and killing.
This I know: We can control guns or guns can control us.
We talk about the peripheral issues of mental illness, background checks, high-volume and high-velocity magazines, bump stocks, assault-style weapons, etc. The issues are complex, but these are secondary issues.
The primary and core issue is the proliferation of guns and their too-easy access.
The Second Amendment to our Constitution is a hallowed right, but today too many misconstrue its words. It was written when we were developing a standing army, creating law enforcement agencies and establishing court systems.
As our nation progressed, we have amended, modified and abolished various parts of our Constitution. Today, the Second Amendment may deserve a review or updated laws to prevent its abuse.
I believe one institution has an ulterior motive with respect to the Second Amendment. It’s the National Rifle Association.
It’s one of the most corrupt, insidious and manipulative cliques and lobbyists in our country. It’s hard for me to write this because I have many military, hunter and gun-owner friends who are NRA members, but it’s the easy truth to me and to many of them, too.
The NRA uses fear tactics against politicians to force them into supporting NRA agendas lest they face defeat at the polls. It uses fear tactics against average citizens to convince them law enforcement and courts will fail to protect them and they must have guns.
It alleges it’s protecting gun rights, but it’s really protecting the enormous profits of gun manufactures, dealers and itself. It’s a billion-plus-dollar industry in which profits matter more than the priceless lives of people.
Our politicians cower at the NRA. They take a politically correct stance that is actually personal cowardice.
They are too intimidated to stand up to the NRA, too afraid of its power and money. They hold themselves accountable to the NRA instead of to the people. Yet it’s our democracy, and we have the politicians and laws we deserve — until we demand better and more.
My daughter, who knows I carry no guns, once asked me, “Dad, aren’t you afraid of getting killed?” I replied, “No, I’m more afraid of having to kill someone again.”
I simply believe more guns contribute to more killing. I refuse to be a part of the proliferation of guns and killing.
My dad owned guns and was an avid hunter. The game he killed along the Arkansas River bottoms and Osage Hills became food on our table.
I respect hunters, and many are friends. But I’ve never seen or heard one advocate an assault-style weapon as their weapon of choice. They are sportsmen, and most are wildlife management, environment and nature enthusiasts. They respect nature, hunting and weapons.
Surprisingly, many have views contrary to the NRA, too. Let’s hope we can join forces to defeat a common enemy: the proliferation of guns.
John Admire, a retired U.S. Marine Corps major general, lives in Tulsa.