Where do we go from here?

Published 11:24 am Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Another deadly rampage within the halls and classrooms filled with innocent teens is leading to a renewed effort to repeal the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Last week, we all sat in complete shock after a former student opened fire on his classmates and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. And in the aftermath – like other mass shootings within schools, movie theaters, malls and even at an outdoor concert – we all look to each other for answers.

The sad thing is because of our diversity, we all have different thoughts on how to address and hopefully put an end to these massacres.

“Take away all guns,” is the cry of some.

“If you take guns away from law-abiding citizens, then the only ones with guns will be criminals,” is the typical response to the first quote.

This great divide only shows one thing…..we have many miles to go before reaching a consensus.

I grew up in a household where guns were present. But before my father would let me go outside and pull the trigger, there were much more important lessons to learn….how to safely hold it and aim it; and to completely understand the consequences of a bullet impacting its target.

The latter is the most important lesson. Not unless a weapon is fired at an inanimate target for the sole purpose of practice, then the shooter takes full responsibility for what occurs after the bullet makes contact. I’m proud to say that over the course of my life, the only lives I took via firing a gun/rifle were wild animals that found their way to my dinner plate.

Sadly there are those who walk on two legs among us that were not taught those valuable lessons. They see a weapon as a way to inflict death, pain, grief, and suffering. They see a weapon as a way to experience superiority; perhaps because their lives have been void of love and compassion prior to pulling the trigger. By adding in radical religious, political or social beliefs, all the ingredients are present for a tragic outcome.

Instead of rushing to judgment and seizing all guns now currently in the hands of their law-abiding owners as well as banning all future sales, perhaps we should be thinking about ways we can take weapons out of the hands of those whose checkered pasts would tend to lead them to commit acts of violence.

We need to first and foremost enact commonsense guns laws that are equally enforced in all 50 states. And the first step to take to accomplish that is to remove the element of financial influence from lobbyists, to include getting the NRA out of the halls of Congress. I’m not saying the NRA is evil; rather, their open wallets are clouding the picture of gun reform.

Those who we elect to represent us on Capitol Hill need to answer to those who put them there….the majority of the voting public. I would strongly encourage our U.S. Senators and Congressmen (and women) to engage their constituents and allow them to make suggestions on how to stop this reign of domestic terrorism.

For our part we need to submit sound and reasonable ideas. Sure, we’re angry and we all want this carnage to stop, but cooler heads need to prevail. Screaming at each other while uttering demeaning comments isn’t healthy and it will not solve the problem at hand.

My opinion is that revoking the Second Amendment isn’t the answer. “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” needs to stand.

What we need is to make it a more involved process to ensure that an individual meets all the necessary criteria to purchase a weapon and that they are required to enroll and pass a certified gun safety course BEFORE that purchase is made. Kind’a like passing Driver’s Education before getting a license to operate a motor vehicle.

We need to reinstate an order from former President Obama that required departments of Social Services supply the FBI the names of individuals who suffer the most extreme cases of mental illness. Those individuals should never, ever have the right to purchase a gun.

And we need for law enforcement, particularly the FBI, to immediately follow up on all tips where an individual is reported to be showing signs of carrying out a mass shooting. And when an individual is stockpiling weapons, as in the case of Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock who purchased 33 guns in one year, someone please pay a visit to that person before the ticking time bomb within their soul explodes.

I’d love to hear from you on what you think we need to do; exchanging ideas or hearing another side of the issue is both healthy and productive. Contact me as shown below.


Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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