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Adele Elliott: Mourning becomes America

 

Adele Elliott

 

Our country is in mourning over the deaths in Aurora, Colorado. As I write this, 12 people have died there. Several more are hospitalized in serious condition. By the time you read this, the death count may be higher. 

 

We have heard details of the victims' lives, the shooter's education, his family, and his hair color. All the news outlets have presented elaborate discussions of the time line, police response, and interviews with survivors. We have seen the theater's marquee a million times. That neon in odd angles and garish colors are forever etched in our brains. Right now, we have no idea about his motive. 

 

This is one of those situations that enrages the entire country. Just for this moment, we are not separated by region or race. The horrors of 911, and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, are events that brought us together. Today, we are all Americans. We deal with our anger and indignation by wearing our all too comfortable mourning veils, black arm bands, and ire. 

 

But, I'm not sure why we are so incensed. Twelve people are dead from the bullets of one shooter. Every day twice that number -- 24 Americans -- are killed by guns. Many of them are children, or other innocents, who get caught in the crossfire. We should be livid about that. Why aren't we? 

 

The Golden Triangle is not immune to this sort of violence. Local families still mourn victims of the Elbow Room tragedy, and the ferocity that left Taylor Berry and Doug Jones dead just a few years ago. The shroud hangs over us all. 

 

An argument can be made that anyone who shoots strangers in a theater is insane. No one would debate that. But the fact remains that this killer, and many, many others, had easy access to some very powerful weapons. 

 

I have a difficult time arguing in favor of gun control, or of any violation of personal freedom. As a painter, the idea of censorship offends me. As a woman, I cannot accept that anyone, except me, deserves an opinion about my fertility. And, although I am in a heterosexual marriage, I cannot stomach the despicable attacks on gay marriage. 

 

Yes, I truly believe in personal freedom. But somehow, that concept has turned into insanity. OK, we all know that "guns don't kill people." What, then, does? 

 

We will never totally be able to keep crazy people in check. But, just maybe, we can keep them away from guns. A demented person, with enough desire, will always find a way to kill. But how much less damage would be done with a knife, or fists, or anything but a gun? 

 

As deeply as I believe in personal freedom, I must admit that this country desperately needs gun control. We have proven that we are not mature enough to handle our rage. We are a nation of spoiled and greedy children, crying for our "toys." 

 

Yes, I know, hunters need guns, especially in our area, where hunting season is more important than Christmas season, hurricane season, and cold and flu season, all combined. However, even in the Golden Triangle, no one needs an assault rifle, or grenade launcher , or semi-automatic weapon of any sort. Are we hunting elephants around here? 

 

We must control our rage, and our desire for bigger and better "toys." Until we find a way to do that, personal guns should be limited. Then, perhaps, there may be less weeping and gnashing of teeth over the waste of lives cut short. 

 

Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina. Email reaches her at adeleelliott@bellsouth.net.

 

Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.

 

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