As an avid hunter and gun enthusiast for the better part of 35 years, I feel compelled to respond to the expected knee-jerk reaction immediately following the massacre in Newtown, CT that claimed the lives of 26 people, 20 of which were children.
As expected, the media and our elected officials have politicized this tragic event and have placed the blame directly on all gun owners, on the availability of firearms of all types in America and on our right to bear arms under the Second Amendment.
Please do not misconstrue my opinion as a gun owner and hunter, but I feel we are missing the point.
Please allow me to explain.
As thousands in our area do every year, I made the trek to a deer camp in northern Wayne County this fall for the opening day of buck season. With Remington in tow and thoughts of a nice buck swirling in my head, I sat patiently in my tree stand in the darkness of opening day. As the sun rose, a small buck crossed my path. Safety off, scope pinned on the shoulder, I was ready. But then, with the click of the safety, I made the decision not to pull the trigger. The buck was too small.
Fast forward to December 14, 2012: A young man named Adam Lanza made a “decision” that fateful morning, one with horrendous and deadly consequences compared to the decision I made a few weeks before. He “decided” that this would be the morning he would arm himself and go on a shooting rampage at Sandy Hook School. Twenty-six people lost their lives that morning due to Lanza’s “decision.”
To further my point, on April 19, 1995, a man named Tim McVeigh made a “decision,” too. He “decided” to pack a rental truck with a lethal combination of fertilizer and diesel fuel and park it in front of a federal building in Oklahoma City. The result of his “decision” was a massive explosion that killed 168 people, 19 of which were children. By the way, after a trial, it was “decided” by a jury of his peers that McVeigh should be put to death. He is dead, too.
We cannot just throw a dark blanket over these tragedies and react without thinking about the cause of these “decisions,” focusing only on the means by which they are carried out. There needs to be intelligent dialogue about what is the catalyst behind these tragedies. This dialogue must include why people make the “decisions” they make.
I pray for those who lost their lives in Newtown this December and in Oklahoma City in 1995.
In the meantime, I will make that same trek into the woods next opening day with Remington in tow. And if that buck I “decided” to pass up this year is a little bigger, I am guessing I will make a different “decision.”
And it won’t have a damn thing to do with the Remington in my lap. That “decision” will be mine, and mine alone.
Dyberry Township, PA