By Gregory K. Taylor
For the life of me, I just don't understand the gun craze in America. There is a national psychosis when it comes to gun ownership. As an ex-police officer in a city where gratuitous murders have become unspectacular, I lament the fascination with a weapon whose exclusive invention and design is to kill and maim. Had I the power of a King during my tenure, I would have disarmed the entire city in order to make my job that much safer. I am painfully aware, ad nauseam, of the 2nd Amendment arguments for one's right to bear arms. I, however, personally make a distinction between a private citizen and a well regulated militia notwithstanding the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to the contrary; but I also recognize until the U.S. Congress amends the constitution we all have to, and do, live with the consequences of this national pandemic.
There really is an unhealthy obsession with this lethal instrument and it borders on mental illness. I can only surmise, for a great many Americans, the pleasure derived from gun ownership and its related usage stimulates a primal area of the brain that can't be satiated by more innocuous stimuli. This elemental state is too compelling and too gratifying to overcome, in all likelihood, due to the immediate and permanent effects when the gun is used as designed. I don't even understand the hunting of animals. I am at a loss to see the sportsmanship in stalking and killing a prey that is simply pursuing its life as nature intended. The bravado displayed by the hunter in all his/her regalia, the scouting, coaxing devices, flushing methods, and social chumminess, on the one hand, and then the sudden mood swing to stone cold killer--honestly, I just don't get it.
As a military reserve officer, during the Vietnam era, I've trained and familiarized myself with weapons, such as, the .50 Caliber and M60 machine guns, M79 and M203 grenade launchers, M61 hand grenade, M-16 and M-14 rifles on which I qualified as an “Expert,” I've handled C-4 plastic explosives, Bangalore torpedoes, and Claymore mines to name a few. As a police officer, my two main tools were the Colt Python .357 magnum and my12 gauge shotgun--but my best weapon, wasn't a weapon at all in this sense of the word--it was my radio. For those who might wish to assail my motives, I submit the above bona fides as a muzzle to silence knee-jerk critics as it relates to my knowledge and experience with firearms. In other words, I'll stack my weapons “know-how” and skills against most.
So, when America has another disgusting episode of mass shootings, this time of her BABIES, did you hear me, her babies--this ex-police officer, who would not have hesitated to defend those babies by putting a bullet in the head of the shooter, not only laments the tragedy of those murders, but the tragedy of America's inability to come to terms with its illness. No longer comical are the bumper stickers depicting old ladies aiming what seems to be a revolver the size of a Howitzer toward whomever is in her gun-sights as the caption reads, “Gun Control is Hitting Your Target,” or the ghoulish, now ironic, NRA slogan trumpeted by then Charlton Heston, “...[F]rom my cold dead hands.”
Too many, shall we say, undeserving people have access to a firearm. There are too many loop-holes which enable people to purchase firearms LEGALLY at gun shows. How about just too many guns are floating around in this country. For those of you who target and skeet shoot (which I have done plenty of in the past), I am not advocating the controlling of guns for that purpose. But, I will conclude by saying, paradoxically, when I was a police officer I not only carried a gun on-duty, but off-duty as well. Virtually, 24 hours a day I was armed to the teeth. When I left the police department one of the earliest things I did was to sell all my guns. I have no firearms! I haven't had any for years! What I had that most of the gun-lovers and would be psychopaths will never have is the sober temperament and on-going training to use those firearms correctly!
Gregory Taylor is currently in Taiwan