Civilians Should Not Lay Hands on Killing Machines

Flags at Half-Staff Should Be for Presidents, Not Children

Credit: John Darkow, Columbia Missourian

Often, I find myself praying that I will never have to give a press conference similar to those happening in Texas, currently. Chances are I’ll need to address the occurrence of a wildfire, flood, or earthquake before my term is up, but I really doubt I could navigate expressing the pain of what recently occurred in our nation.

The conveyance of “thoughts and prayers” are heartfelt, but certainly weak tea for the bereft families in Uvalde. Our flags displayed at half-staff should be for deceased ex-Presidents and not for elementary school children. Our traditions and ceremonies can’t possibly offer sufficient comfort.

Laws in and of themselves are no panacea, and dismissive comments about simply providing more mental health resources add insult to this grave injury. There must be some pro-action, as the inaction thus far diminishes our sense of humanity.

Common sense would tell us that no person, let alone a dysfunctional 18-year-old, should have access to a machine designed for one purpose only which, while useful in military combat, doesn’t belong in the realm of civilians.

The actions we take now may not provide an immediate solution or cure, but the paralyzing rancor and partisanship that yields no action borders on criminal. Our rights as Americans will be at the center of the debate. The myopic sense of entitlement we share as adults shifts the focus from ensuring our country’s future and protecting our youth from the harms inflicted by weapons and exposure to substance abuse, to what we see as our given “privileges.”

We honor those who served and sacrificed on Memorial Day. To truly pay tribute to their service, we need to remember that each one of those freedoms earned on our behalf comes with an equal and owed responsibility to our communities. We must subordinate our own gratifications and pleasures to the service of others, just like our men and women in uniform have dutifully done.

Contact your elected representatives. Insist that they put aside spineless party and special interest pandering. Decisions that involve the health and well-being of our children should never have a partisan designation. We must demand that our elected office holders represent all of us and not what they think their party strategists or donors want. Common sense solutions don’t have political nuance and should never be subject to a split vote.

We are the government — all of us. Let’s convene our senses, act like adults and move to protect the greatest of our earthly treasures — our children. Check your ideology at the door. Don’t fear “cancellation” from anyone.

Leave the damn press conferences and flag displays for our deceased Presidents.

Randy Rowse is the mayor of the City of Santa Barbara.


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