Sunday, December 16, 2012

Heaven help us

Heaven help us. Not since 9-11-01 have I seen anything so horrible. In many ways this surpasses 9-11-01. What happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School was not the result of foreign terrorists—neither was Clackamus Town Center in Portland, OR, or Aurora, CO, or the Sikh Temple in WI, or other domestic mass murders. We’re doing this to ourselves.

I agree with President Obama. “We have been through this too many times. … These neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children. … We're going to have to come together to take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics."

As US bishops pointed out in their 1994 pastoral letter about violence in our nation (, there is much that needs to be done on a wide variety of fronts to change the culture of violence in our country; but, we can start by taking weapons that are meant for military and law enforcement out of the hands of those who aren’t military or law enforcement. This will make some people angry (notably the NRA and its extremist supporters); but, so be it. 

Mr. President, I support your using your executive powers, or any other power at your disposal, to ban the possession of assault weapons by any other person than military or law enforcement personnel. It’s past due time to stop the madness.

We live in a representative democracy (Republic) where the will of the majority should prevail. If the majority wants to ban private ownership of assault weapons, then they should be banned, regardless of what my individual position, the NRA’s, or the position of any other individual, lobbyist, lobbying group, or political party in the minority may be. Majority rules--period--move on to the next problem.

I spent most of my career designing highway improvements for VDOT and other state and local governments. Regardless of how bad the traffic, and how badly the project was needed, it seemed that there was always at least one property owner who didn’t want to sell their property. (Can you imagine, with the ever-increasing number of vehicles and drivers, if no improvements to the roadway system were ever made?) Fortunately, public agencies have a way of dealing with this—eminent domain. For the good of the majority, the desires of the minority are overruled; that’s the way that government representing the will of the people is supposed to work.

Whether it’s banning private ownership of assault weapons, improving roadways, raising taxes, decreasing benefits and/or raising the eligibility age for Social Security or Medicare, or any other issue that affects us all, once the people have spoken, and the majority says “do it”, then it should be done, regardless of the minority.

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