BY LARRY STEELE
I am responsible for the 26 deaths in Sandy Hook Elementary School. You are responsible for the 26 deaths at Sandy Hook. Sure, many will blame the gun lobby, the National Rifle Association, the mental health of the shooter but ultimately, you and I are the responsible parties for the deaths of 20 six- and seven-year-olds and many brave teachers. How is this you may ask?
We have allowed our society to become one of high material value and low people value. We have allowed the spineless politicians we elect, beginning with Ronald Regan, through Ford, Clinton, and Bush, to turn a blind eye to two things: gun regulation and mental health treatment.
Locally, we have suffered Gov. Frank Keating dismantling our Oklahoma mental health care system up through Gov. Mary Fallin proposing to kill the income tax that helps provide minimal services to those seeking treatment for mental diseases.
We have allowed our prison system to be the new mental health treatment vehicle. We have allowed massive waiting lists of people needing help with mental health issues to languish for months while our backward Legislature thinks of ways to cut taxes for the wealthy and gain state control of women’s bodies.
We have elected politicians who pass legislation for concealed and open carry of loaded weapons and now one proposing to allow teachers to carry weapons while teaching at school!
What have we become? Even Wyatt Earp made citizens check their guns when entering town. When were we brainwashed to believe that having more guns creates a safer society? What logic is that? It’s like proposing more calories to create a leaner, healthier nation.
We have allowed this confederacy of dunces to control the conversation on a national and local basis emboldened by the threats of the NRA that make our gutless electors cringe in the corner.
Whether because we were too busy, too tired, or too disengaged in our state and nation, we have allowed the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, huge ammunition clips, and weapons with no other purpose than to kill other human beings, children included.
We have allowed these simpletons to cut and close public mental health care facilities in order to give tax breaks to the oil and gas companies, huge corporations, and multi millionaires.
We have allowed these things to happen.
We are responsible for the massacres that have happened in the past few years.
I am responsible for the blood of the 26 Sandy Hook victims because I refused to speak up again and again to the bullies who hide behind their twisted interpretation of the Second Amendment. Those who wrote that document envisioned a militia armed with muskets that could fire once or twice a minute. They never envisioned guns firing 200-300 rounds a minute that would be used to tear open the bodies of my children and grandchildren and your children and grandchildren in a few seconds in Sandy Hook.
I say allow all citizens to possess as many muskets as they want and any hunting rifles that shoot one round before it needs to be reloaded. Register all handguns. Ban assault weapons entirely. Close loopholes that allow gun shows and individuals to sell firearms without registering the buyers. Create a state and national database of gun owners and report any sale of those guns to the database. Keep working on guns that will only operate when held by the rightful owners. Keep working on common sense laws and severely punish anyone using a firearm in commission of a crime.
I also recommend that we do this as quickly as possible before another slaughter of our innocents ensues. Remember, to paraphrase a famous quote:
When they closed the mental health hospitals,
I did not speak out;
I was not a patient.
When they allowed proliferation of killer weapons,
I remained silent;
I did not need a huge weapon to prove my manhood.
When they subsidized the wealthy and oil and gas producers,
I did not speak out;
I was not a wealthy person.
When they slaughtered the children in their classroom,
I remained silent;
It didn’t happen to my children and grandchildren.
When they came for me and my family and grandchildren,
there was no one left to speak out.
I encourage all sensible Oklahomans to stand up and speak out about how they want the future of this state and country to be for our children and grandchildren.
Do it quickly before we all have more innocent blood on our hands!
– Larry Steele lives in Norman, OK and is an occasional contributor to The Oklahoma Observer