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Action, not platitudes, needed now by Mary Dee Taylor Special to the Democrat-Gazette | June 3, 2022 at 3:18 a.m.

So many words ... spoken, written, agonized, disconsolate, and disingenuous: "Never again;" "This time we must find a way to stop it," and even "Guns don't kill people ..." you know the rest of that trope.

So many words ... still no action to resolve such a horrific problem in the one nation where guns outnumber citizens.

Members of my own family own AR-15 assault-style weapons. Do I believe one of them would invade a classroom or a theater or any other place where people are gathered and open fire? Good heavens, no! But guns, especially high-speed killing machines with multiple rounds of bullets, do kill people--tiny children in classrooms and loving grandparents in grocery stores.

And politicians offer "thoughts and prayers" while refusing to consider common-sense restrictions to limit the age of potential buyers or the kinds of magazines which would allow an 18-year-old to fire over 300 rounds into a class of fourth-graders.

I don't want my family members or any other law-abiding citizens to be denied the right to buy a product they will never intend to use for nefarious purposes. But I can't imagine why they wish to own such a potentially lethal piece of equipment. The men in my family (and it's almost always men, isn't it?) who enjoy owning AR-15s for target practice or perhaps the rush of testosterone it gives them to hold such power in their hands are good people. Most of the gun owners in our nation are good people, but I have yet to hear a "good reason" for owning such weapons.

On another matter, I have yet to hear any reason why a man of the cloth or a legislator in any capacity should dictate to a woman how she should determine what happens to her body. The same fervent apologists who believe the Second Amendment confers upon every U.S. citizen a "God-given right to own a gun" have decided that no woman is entitled to determine whether she must carry a fetus to term regardless of the circumstances which caused her pregnancy or her ability to survive or provide for the resulting child.

They care deeply about the nine months in utero, but see no reason to protect the health and welfare of the newly born child who may require better nutrition, housing, and safety from gunfire than its mother can guarantee.

As a woman who suffered several miscarriages--medically termed spontaneous abortions--before giving birth to the two children I so desperately wanted, I know the pain of losing a child and cannot imagine having to even contemplate intentionally ending a pregnancy, but I don't believe that entitles me to tell another woman that she has no right to choose abortion if her circumstances dictate that to be a necessity.

Are you aware that many emergency responders now carry "Active Killer Kits," originally used to treat battlefield injuries, among their lifesaving equipment? These are required because high-speed assault weapons create havoc unlike other guns of similar caliber by exploding inside soft tissue, spreading shrapnel within wounds, and shattering bones.

Surely you are aware that most of the world's democracies that have suffered mass casualties at the hands of killers using automatic/semiautomatic weapons and large magazines of ammunition have rapidly passed laws to prevent such events from recurring. Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and many others were not exempt from the horrors we have so frequently experienced, but they moved quickly to prevent future episodes. We have had nearly 20 years to lament Sandy Hook, and have done nothing.

You have heard such words many times before in the past decades, so why do I feel the need to repeat them? I have listened to the same fruitless arguments for too many years.

I have never lost a loved one to a tragedy like Sandy Hook or Robb Elementary or any of the other senseless massacres which have become all too commonplace in the America I have cherished for more than 80 years. I do not hold public office and am in no position to bring about the kind of change I wish to see in our laws, but I hope that I may join the chorus of reasonable voices asking that the Senate of the United States will step up to provide protection from weapons that have no place in the hands of anyone other than police or members of our military.

Maybe that's why I felt the need to add to all those words out there. If you think there's any validity in them, please add your words as well.

Mary Dee Taylor of Little Rock is a former women's editor at the Arkansas Democrat, wrote for the Arkansas Times, and was travel editor for the Department of Parks and Tourism.

Print Headline: Word avalanche


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