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Arm yourselves legally in this 'us against them' world
It's a shame that we have to live in a world where there is a chance that someone will enter a room, be it in a mall or school campus, and start shooting. Being the mom of a soon-to-be college student, it frightens me to think that I may be sending my son off to college where some disturbed individual will take out all of life's problems on him and others by going on a shooting rampage.
Let's make a couple of comparisons between the recent shooting at Virginia Tech and the shooting that took place in Salt Lake City's Trolley Square in February. At Virginia Tech there were 33 people killed, including the shooter by a self-inflicted wound. At Trolley Square there were six people left dead, including the shooter, who was taken down by an off-duty Ogden police officer.
At Virginia Tech there was no one with a gun to take down the shooter. Everyone on that campus was a potential victim. At Trolley Square there was one man who had the authority to take down the shooter. There is no telling how many lives were saved that night. And we'll never know how many lives would have been saved if just one person - who was legally armed - would have been present at Virginia Tech last month.
I've never been a fan of guns. They scare me because I've never been around them. But I appreciate my Constitutional right to legally own a gun if I so choose. The hundreds and hundreds of gun laws on the books across this nation are ridiculous because people who use guns illegally don't pay much attention to laws.
When was the last time you researched Utah's gun laws? They probably don't provide for very interesting reading. In many ways these laws protect the guilty and hamper the innocent. The bad guys are out there buying their guns on the street while the honest citizen is sitting in a holding pattern waiting for approval to purchase a gun.
Every person who is legally able to obtain a gun permit or concealed weapon permit should do so. This includes teachers and administrators in our public and private schools. Store owners and restaurant managers should be prepared to protect themselves and others. A person who is contemplating the idea of going on a shooting spree will think twice about their actions if they think that someone might stop them before they can accomplish their goal.
I did not have this opinion a few years ago. Now we live in an "us against them" world - even in our cities. Why should we fear terrorists from other countries when our own fellow citizens think nothing about gunning us down in the street? I never thought that I could shoot someone until I became a mom. Now, if someone appears to be an imminent threat to one of my kids, I can instantly don that Momma Bear instinct and take them down without having to think twice about it. That's what parenthood does. It changes our priorities.
I wish we, as good upstanding citizens, didn't have to consider gun education and legal ownership (notice the word legal) for self-protection. I'm sure that anyone who has had to take the life of another in self-defense wishes he or she was never forced to make that decision. I hope and pray that you and I will never be put in that position. However, if we ever find ourselves in such a dangerous situation, I hope there's someone there who has the skill and the will to avert a catastrophe.
Rhonda Tommer is a resident of Santa Clara. She is a member of The Spectrum & Daily News Writers Group.