Parkland, Florida — February 2018

I don’t want to write this, but I can’t stop myself. It tears me up and it flows out with outrage. By the time I’m done, there’ll be many other essays and articles in the newspapers, on TV and social media, better and more eloquent than mine. But I have to do it. I do.

Seventeen people dead, most of them school children. I don’t know how many wounded. Surviving parents and relatives whose lives are destroyed. And the question is why?

After the Sandy Hook shooting, I visited a friend on a Sunday morning and unavoidably I brought up the subject. “I don’t read these things,” he said. “Not interested.” He was an ex military man, and I assumed he was not interested in defending his views in favor of free access to guns. But that was not it. “We can’t change anything,” he continued. “We need to wait. Unfortunately, this will repeat itself, again and again, until, hopefully, people will have had enough. And only then it will change. Therefore, every time it happens I say this is a step in the right direction. And I move on.”

Of course, I don’t agree with his position, but there is truth to it: the truth of the powerless; the truth of the people who know they can’t change things.

Talk about American carnage — this is it!

How many times did we hear arguments as to why we can’t control guns? How many times did we hear that guns don’t kill people or that guns are as American as football and apple pie? Don’t we remember glorious movies like The Magnificent Seven and Bonnie and Clyde?

To own a gun is our right under the amendment to the constitution. Who cares that it was written at a time when in order to fire a gun you had stop, fill the barrel with powder, push it in with felt, and place the bullet (only one) inside? Then you fired, and if it didn’t explode in your face, the bullet would travel a few hundred yards.

It is clear the gun lobby spends money on politicians in order for their industry to produce and sell more weapons. If somebody on the other side would offer the NRA funded representatives more money, what do you think they’d do? I think they are mercenaries, that’s what I think.

The fact that gun violence claims more lives in our country than in any other civilized (and uncivilized) country in the world, by orders of magnitude, doesn’t matter. These are only statistics, they say.

And we want to be able to defend ourselves against an abusive government. Yeah, good luck with that!

If we allow a restriction today, there will be another one tomorrow, and so on and so forth, until they take all our guns, the argument goes. Even though the gun control advocates want serious accountability, and nothing else.

And there is no way of controlling the weapons that are already out there, or deny gun ownership to the chronically violent and mentally ill. Really? Are you reading this on your phone? I mean that little rectangular plastic contraption that allows you to talk in an instant to people in Paris or Paraguay, or FaceTime with them, or read a novel, file your taxes, send emails, keep your calendar, play games, and do so many other things? We live in the 21st century and we think that law enforcement doesn’t have the ability of adequately registering and keeping track of 300 million deadly pieces of metal and their owners in order to keep our kids safe in schools?

Sure. Let’s pray instead!

I could go on, and on, and to each of my arguments somebody would come up with a smart counterargument. We’ve heard all this so many times before.

But I have a question, only one.

I understand why a person would like to own a fancy car, buy expensive wines, or dine in a nice restaurant. I understand why people travel, and spend money on clothes and art. But what is the fascination with guns? Why would any normal human being (who is not a policeman or a soldier) want to buy, without limitation, an object created with the sole purpose of killing other human beings as quickly and efficiently as possible? Fellow Americans, democrats or republicans, somebody, anybody, please answer me. Why?

Seriously, I’d like to hear what you think. Why does one want to own a gun?