Tuesday, February 9 , 2016, 8:19 am | Fair 52º

Ken Williams: We Should All Be Shamed By the Slaughter of the Innocent

By Ken Williams |

Yet again, we find ourselves dealing with the slaughter of the innocent. Four times in the last few years we turned on our televisions, only to see weeping survivors — husbands, wives, citizens, casualties of mayhem all. But now it is fathers and mothers, and the brothers and sisters of 6-year-olds — 6-year-olds!

We can no longer even protect our kindergartens. How many times must we endure hideous murder of the innocent before we reawaken our sanity? How many of our children must be sacrificed upon the alter of a Rambo nightmare of which some wish to play?

This fetish need to playact has become an absurdity. I do not need wannabe warriors to protect me. This delusional dream of protecting my rights from an evil government must end. If your overwhelming desire is to play at being a warrior, then man up and join the Marines.

I have stood in opposition my entire life against my government. First against the insanity of Vietnam, then against the Central American wars, and then the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I fight equally against the denial of basic human rights by a government that hides torture behind a newspeak language of “enhanced interrogation.”

At no time did I contemplate picking up a gun to deny my fellow citizens their basic right to life to effect political change. Yet fellow Americans demand the right to bear arms, which is really the fetish desire to possess weapons of war, weapons of slaughter. These weapons of war can and do maim and kill scores in mere seconds.

When I was a child, I played childish games. When I grew up, I set aside those games and assumed adult responsibilities. As a child, I played at war. I shot my friends a thousand times only to see them miraculously reborn to resume the game. In Vietnam, I learned the dead stay dead. Those who died, died for lies — for “truths” that shifted with the political seasons. The children of Vietnam were brutalized by that war. And now those nightmares that have haunted me from that war have added yet another reality: It is our own children who have become brutalized by the same weapons of war that I carried in a real war.

An M-16 on fully automatic can empty a 20-round clip within seconds. What purpose can such a killing device serve other than to kill — to kill quickly and kill many? Does one really need a magazine of death for target practice? Can you really call hunting a sport with such weapons? Is a deer really that threatening? If such a weapon is truly needed by wannabe Rambos to fight a mythical dictatorship, then why not allow the ownership of machine guns? Why not rocket launchers? Why not helicopters gunships? Why not the devil’s breathe — napalm?

When did a nebulous “right” to own a weapon of war deny me my basic right to go to the movie theater with my wife without the risk of death? When did gun rights become paramount over my right to talk to my congressperson on a street corner? When did my right to visit a shopping mall, a lecture hall, simply to walk down the streets in safety become secondary to the right of some to engage in delusional payback to society? When did gun rights overshadow the right of a 6-year-old to go to school?

Years ago, I left a war bitter over the lies and brutality of it. The most disheartening being the price children paid that I sadly saw firsthand on a hospital ship. The burnt flesh, the scarred faces of innocent children were the real and immoral cost of war. Now the mourning of grieving mothers and terror stricken fathers — sights and sounds that tear chunks from our hearts — have become a reality. War on the homefront is made against the fragile and small with weapons of war that are legal to possess. The weapon used to kill mere children is what I carried in a real war against a real and heavily armed adversary. This same weapon is now used to rip the life away from children.

Our first responsibility as responsible adults is to our children — to feed them, to educate them, to love them. But all of this is impossible unless we secure them the most basic of all rights — their right to live. We have failed, and we have failed miserably in this — the most basic of duty of a civilized society. We should all be shamed by this slaughter of the innocent.

Ken Williams has been a social worker for the homeless for the past 30 years. His writings and opinions reflect only his personal views. He does not speak as a representative for or on behalf of any organization with which he may be affiliated. He is the author of China White and Shattered Dreams, A Story of the Streets. He has just completed his first nonfiction book, There Must Be Honor.

» on 12.19.12 @ 09:52 PM

“The weapon used to kill mere children is what I carried in a real war against a real and heavily armed adversary. This same weapon is now used to rip the life away from children.”

This is absolutely untrue.  The weapon used in war is an M16, capable of fully automatic rapid fire, three-round-burst fire, and semi-automatic, one bullet per trigger pull fire.  The weapon used in this horrific crime was a Bushmaster domestic model AR15, SEMIautomatic and capable of firing one bullet per trigger pull.  There are literally millions of these guns legally owned by citizens throughout the country that are not being used for crimes.

The question that I have not seen anyone ask goes to the responsibility of the (murdered) parent in allowing, some have reported encouraging, her clearly emotionally challenged son to have access to weapons that she was legally and morally responsible for securing.  The guns should have been trigger-locked and kept in a locked cabinet separate from ammunition which should be kept in another locked cabinet. This is basic gun safety.  We in California had the highest number of gun crimes in the nation last year, 68% of the national total in a state with 20% of the population and the most restrictive gun laws in the country!  It takes ENFORCEMENT, not just lawmaking, not to mention common sense by those who legally own gunsin keeping them under control.

» on 12.19.12 @ 09:58 PM

The Sandy Hook murders are a great tragedy for our Country, no question at all, but every day, in practically every city in America, lives as innocent as the children at Sandy Hook Elementary School are snuffed out. It is all done in a very sterile environment out of the public eye…and with the willing participation of the Mother. It is the legal killing of the unborn, abortion. If a Mother can discard an innocent that easily then Western Civilization doesn’t stand a chance. Either all life is precious or none is.

» on 12.19.12 @ 11:45 PM

Ken it is apparent that you don’t waste much time with facts when you are writing.  A “nebulous right” is part of (and the teeth of) our Bill of Rights- our civil liberties.  I am sure it must pain you to learn that the Bill of Rights is not a smorgasbord from which you can pick and choose the rights which you find desirable, but thankfully it was drafted by men far more intelligent then either of us. 
These men were aware that people like you would trade liberty for order, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Benjamin Franklin
I think you should be the first to relinquish your civil liberties and stop public speaking & writing in the press, thus saving us from additional indigestion.

» on 12.20.12 @ 11:41 AM

I respectively disagree with most of the writers comments. Once again anti gun people come out of the woodwork to deny us our guaranteed rights. Nothing I read lends itself to the solution of the problem. I can only state in my opinion and solely my opinion, his comments tend to exacerbate the situation and continues to polarize us.

» on 12.20.12 @ 12:30 PM

Thank you Ken for sharing your voice and insights with us.

» on 12.20.12 @ 04:08 PM

When Christmas is a foul word in society.  When criminal rights are more important then the harmed.  When illegals have more defenders then native born citizens (regardless of ethnicity or race).  The way you say something is more important then what you say.  Then this country is in greater trouble then we ever imagined.

Gun free zones are now the area of choice for nut jobs.

Anyone with either a high school chemistry background or access to a computer can gerryrig a bomb from off the shelf ingredients, wrap it in nails and glass, and set it to go off.  The insane will always find a way.  (don’t forget that 2 ton bullet you drove to work)

Regarding fire power, there were more full auto weapons in the hands of civilians from WWII & Korea and you never saw this.  But then God, Country, and Honor had not been destroyed by the ACLU and atheists.

» on 12.21.12 @ 01:19 AM

The technologically advanced guns of today were not even in existence at the time the second amendment was passéd.

I don’t think the right to bear arms should include small personal nuclear warheads… there is always a limit to what arms are acceptable.

So, if the government wants to limit `arms’ to mean those weapons in existence at the time the second amendment was passed, that would seem reasonable to me.

» on 12.21.12 @ 05:22 AM

The second amendment was written to protect the common man from government and as time has improved weapons I am sure in my mind that all weapons are protected by the second amendment. I respectively disagree with your perspective.

» on 12.22.12 @ 08:59 PM

Well put youngat85. P do you understand what the second amendment was written for? I really do not understand, given the extent of our government’s fiscal folly, corruption and current record shattering size, why on earth you lefties seem so content on abdicating so much of your personal freedom to that government and allowing yourself to become so weak, dependant and lacking in responsibility. That certainly was not the spirit our founding fathers envisioned for their countrymen at the time this country was created.

I understand the repulsion toward violence. But unfortunately that is the world we live in. Not only are humans violent but so is nature. The key to survival and to peace of mind is knowledge, strength, preparedness and vigilance. This anti gun caterwauling is unnerving in its underlying sociopathy. It reeks of a cultural drive toward child like existence where you have no control and instead abdicate your survival to large nameless faceless states.

Had that school principle cared more for protecting against all forms of violence she would have been armed and those 26 people still alive. Instead she chose to believe in the suicidal delusion that somehow a large controlling state will protect you from all violence. Just like those who tempt fate living in tornado ally, at some point if you do not arm your self with knowledge, prepare your self for a violent world by remaining strong and vigilant, you will be swept away.

The lesson here is not that guns are deadly, that is what they are intended to be, but that we assume they will always be used by people who value life, care for others and obey the law. That a psychopath stole his own mother’s guns, killed her and then murdered 26 other innocent people is proof positive that controlling deadly weapons is fruitless if society acquiesces its duty and responsibility to take care of itself.

» on 12.22.12 @ 09:48 PM

Personal responsibility is the cheapest price we can pay for freedom. It always has been and always will be. I wish there were a way that our polarization could be augmented by the Poor ministering to the poor and the rich to the rich. Unfortunately those who favor more gun control have proven themselves to be naive in other situations and to my perspective., I can only hope I am wrong in my judgment but I strongly fear I am right and so I must be ruled by people who feel differently than I do and suffer the consequences fostered upon me by their stupidity.

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