While many Missourians like me are worried about the deepening recession, some Missourians have other concerns. We worry about people losing their homes and jobs, and having to give up their pets. They also worry that the new president-elect , Barack Obama, is going to take away their Second Amendment rights to bear arms even though I've never ever heard one discussion of that subject. Consequently, while retail sales are slowing down, gun sales are increasing. Obviously some are profiting from these rumors.
Actually, I don't have a horse in this race. If people want to own multiple assault weapons or teach their children how to kill deer and other animals, that's their business. When my brother was young and we lived in a small Missouri town, he hunted for food. When I visited him as an adult in Minnesota, and he caught a fish that refused to die, I saw him transport the fish back to the Mississippi River and release it. I use that story as an example of how some males when they become adults put away childish things.
I have no problem with people bearing arms. It does annoy me when I hear people saying that they carry arms to protect themselves. I always wonder if they really know the difference between what can legally be determined self-defense and what is homicide. They seem to feel that it will somehow be left to them to make that call rather than law enforcement.
And, unfortunately when it comes to school and work site shootings and people engaging in other egregiously violent acts, it's not just gun lovers who are affected. While it's easy enough for them to pass the incident off by declaring, "guns don't kill people, people do," the families of the injured and deceased still suffer the results. To imagine that only law-abiding citizens will buy guns is stupid.
Violence has become so much a part of American life that whenever I hear about innocent people being gunned down by these killers, I just change the channel on the television or turn the dial on the radio.
Since this is what Americans interpret the Second Amendment to be about, I accept this. And as far as I'm concerned I have more to worry about than guns.
Still, it's somewhat comforting to know that so many Missourians are not s0 stressed out with financial worries that they can still attend gun shows and shell out big bucks. With so many worrying about making the mortgage payments and hanging onto their jobs, they don't have time to puzzle over whether the president-elect will raise taxes on gun sales or how these rumors got started.
The thing I am hopeful about is that education will take front and center in the new administration because it is frightening when you pair the rising gun sales with the downward trend of the literacy rate. Just the idea that so many individuals are prepared to act on unsubstantiated rumors is disturbing.
And I think it is important for people to realize that according to the economists, the hard times are going to be around for several years, and as people become more challenged in their efforts to make a living, access to more guns is not something that I think will help people out. After all, everyone is an innocent gun owner until he or she commits the first crime.
I am grateful for those who are advocating that part of a stimulus package be used to keep libraries open. Not only can people spend time there enhancing their skills, but they also can use computers to help find jobs. In addition to hard times and more guns, the last thing this society needs is more people with a lot of idle time on their hands.
While I certainly don't want to start the new year on a sour note, I truly believe we're in for a long, dry spell and with our current leaders having squandered several hundred billion dollars in gifts to banks without a trace of accountability, it will be the lowly taxpayers, as usual, who suffer.
I expect a lot of us on the first day of 2009 will be sitting down with our pens and pencils trying to see where in our budgets we can find ways to cut back . Many people have already begun that process.
And so as we take our first steps into the future, we all have to decide whether we want to help unify our country or whether we want to continue with the racist rant that keeps us divided. It's a free country; to each his own.
You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or e-mailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.