Wine and Guns

18 09 2013

My daughter was in Italy last weekend!

She’s studying abroad this semester, and naturally doing a great deal of traveling.  So last weekend they went to Rome.  She’s posted pictures of the Coliseum, the Vatican, the Spanish Steps, and yes . . . the wine! 

There are pictures of her having wine with her gnocchi, wine with her penne, and wine with her linguini.  And oh yeah . . . she won’t be 21 until December!

Now I know it doesn’t matter in Europe, and I have no concerns about her ability to only drink in moderation, but I still value the laws of America that make drinking under the age of 21 illegal.  I don’t have a problem with alcohol.  I don’t want to return to the days of prohibition and make it completely illegal.  I don’t even want to go back to the days when it couldn’t be purchased on Sunday.  There is nothing wrong with having a drink now and then and I get that! 

But I still like the restrictions!  I still like the fact that you have to be over the age of 21 — so that you’re a little more mature, and a little more responsible.  That is certainly not always the case — I know plenty of 40 year olds who have about as much maturity as some of my college fraternity brothers.  And that’s not very much!  But generally, the older someone is, the more capable we believe they are of making good decisions when it comes to alcohol consumption.

I also like the fact that if you’re going to drink, you can’t drive.  And if you do and you’re caught, you’re going to get a ticket.  And if that happens too many times, your license is going to be taken away and you won’t be permitted to drive at all!  Drinking is fine.  But if you’re under the age of 21, you do not have that right.  And you certainly do NOT have the right to drink and drive.  And as a society we’re going to do everything we can to prevent that from happening! 

Aren’t we?

Which brings me to the whole subject of the recent shooting at the Navy Yard in downtown Washington, DC. 

My son likes guns. 

When he was little he loved pretending he was a cowboy.  And when my wife and I decided that we would not purchase toy guns for him to play with, we bought him Legos. 

So he made guns out of his Legos!  And not just Legos — he made guns out of the cardboard centers of paper towel rolls, out of sticks he would find in our backyard, and even out of wire hangers that he’d take from our closets. 

Now I know it’s no big deal that he likes guns.  He’s responsible, and I know that he would never hurt anyone with them.  And my gun-toting hunting friends are just as kind and considerate as my non-gun-toting, non-hunting friends.  I even know that most people who own guns in this country are responsible, law-abiding citizens. 

So I don’t want to take away any of their guns.  I don’t want to make gun ownership illegal, nor do I want to in any way deny Americans their second amendment rights to ‘keep and bear arms.’ 

But I still like some of the restrictions that surround gun ownership. 

There are too many crazies out there — people who have all kinds of mental illnesses, people who have histories of violent behavior, people who . . . ‘hear voices.’  More thorough background checks is not the first step in some kind of grand political agenda to disarm the American populous.  And tightening up laws so that purchasing a gun is never easier than getting a drivers license is not part of some naïve dream that we can take all guns off the streets of American cities.  

I would just prefer to err on the side of caution.  The mass killings by crazed gunmen in this country have just gotten to be too much.  Something must be done.  We’ve argued enough.  We’ve debated enough.  We can’t wait any longer. 

So call your Senators and Representatives.  Speak up.  Let them know that you’re tired of seeing news reports of people being violently murdered  . . . on college campuses, in elementary schools, in movie theaters, and in government office buildings.  Tell them that it’s time to take away the guns — NOT FROM EVERYONE — just from the those who simply have no “right” to bear arms.   

Neither wine nor guns are bad — but without restrictions, both can be harmful.  So we don’t need make wine illegal, nor do we need to outlaw gun ownership.  We just need strong and firm convictions on what is means to use them, and what it means to abuse them.  

Some people shouldn’t drink,  And some people shouldn’t own guns.