Words & Banter

RED & BLACK ... Gun Rights ... Or Wrongs?

Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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I’m sorry, but as a mom, I just can’t find the words when it comes to these senseless killings at schools. At schools! My heart breaks for the families of those children lost at Robb Elementary in Uvalde.


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You do not have to be a mom to become outraged about killings at schools. A place that should be a safe haven for students and teachers. A place that should instill the love of learning – not the fear of dying.


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Yes, but as a mom, it’s beyond comprehension. You can’t help but think, what if it was my child? When I see the faces of those lost fourth graders, I find myself welling up with tears. I think of my girls at that age. And what those parents must be going through.


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I am not warm and fuzzy, yet I thought the same things. And, I thought about parents walking past empty beds. Even if you are not a parent, you cannot help but think about siblings and nieces and nephews, your friends and neighbors and their children. And grandchildren. It is not about being a parent – it is about being human.

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I felt the same way about Sandy Hook back in 2012. I can remember hearing about Columbine in 1999 as I was living overseas, and several people asked me how such a thing could happen in the U.S. I didn’t have a good answer then. And I still don’t. In fact, it’s only getting worse. When are we going to do something?!

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Excellent question. One many people are asking. Within hours of the Uvalde shooting, I heard two very passionate pleas from people with very different backgrounds – Steve Kerr, N.B.A. head coach (Golden State Warriors), who refused to talk about basketball in a pre-game interview, and Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat begging for bipartisanship to find common ground and take action.

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Well, I know that everything’s become so divisive, but doing something about all these mass killings – whether schools, churches, grocery stores, even a medical center, the list seems to be endless – should be something they can agree on. I just can’t get my head wrapped around why we keep doing … nothing! And I keep thinking about how you’ve always told me that doing nothing IS a decision. A decision to do nothing.

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Actually, I say, “It is a decision to maintain the status quo.” However, the challenge is finding areas of agreement, which may explain why Congress has done nothing over the last decade. Meanwhile, the number of mass shootings (which seems to be an American phenomenon) continues to increase. There have been over 200 this year alone, and the year is not even half over.

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You’re the one who loves numbers and statistics, but even I know that’s more than one a day. I’d think better gun control would be the answer. And before you say anything, I’m not against guns; I’m against high-capacity high-speed weapons. I don’t think any civilian needs them. Ever.

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Some people argue it is not a gun issue; it is a mental health issue. So, if you attribute our mass shootings to mental health issues, would it not make sense to do background checks and restrict those individuals from having guns?

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Talk about stating the obvious! Although clearly, it’s not obvious to the politicians who don’t want expanded background checks. I’ve learned that the House of Representatives approved background legislation over a year ago but that it’s just sitting in the Senate. And what about assault weapons? Shouldn’t those be outlawed?

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How much do you know about constitutional law? And, the Second Amendment?

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Well, I love history, and I know the Second Amendment to the Constitution gives us the right to bear arms. It was written just after “we the people” served as our own “militia” to fight the British for our freedom, so “bearing arms” was so we could protect our country.

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Interestingly, the Second Amendment contains only 24 words (and, some unusual grammar) yet has been the basis of decades of debate about gun control versus gun rights. But, just like it is illegal to own hand grenades and machine guns, they could ban high-capacity ammunition magazines (again) and outlaw bump stocks (again). However, I do not see that happening.


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Why not? There’s no good reason civilians need those things.


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I can give you millions of reasons. Follow the money … from the gun rights groups and the N.R.A. straight to the politicians.


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So, you’re telling me it all comes down to money?! That they don’t care about all the people, including children, who have been killed. And they’re not willing to do everything in their power to prevent, or at least reduce, future murders?


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The U.S. is the most heavily armed society in the world, with more guns than people. And, the only country that has strong gun rights with minimal regulations – not even common-sense ones.


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The Uvalde shooter had just turned 18 and legally bought not one, but two, assault weapons and 375 rounds of ammunition! Anyone with common sense would find that alarming. Especially given the country’s youth are in a mental health crisis.


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That certainly should have raised a red flag. And, is why there is a push to get “red flag” laws (removing guns from people who are considered to pose a danger to themselves or to others), and raising the age of gun ownership to 21. But, there is no guarantee either will get enough support from Republican Senators to get passed into law. However, you cannot convince me that Republican voters do not support gun safety and common-sense gun laws.


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I think it’s safe (pun intended) to say most Americans support common-sense gun laws. That’s why politicians, who are supposed to represent us, not their own interests, need to find common ground.


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Well, when it comes to politics, common sense and common ground are not so common.

Want to read other columns? Here's a list.

Photo by mevans on iStock
Let’s be very clear. Autism has no correlation with intelligence; it’s a developmental disability (or what Black refers to as “DIFF-abilities”). And it’s a spectrum disorder, which means each autistic person has their unique mix of abilities, challenges, and ways of seeing the world (can’t that be said of all of us?!) So, as we celebrate World Autism Acceptance Week, remember it’s more than just awareness – it’s about acceptance.

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Did you know that April's Autism Awareness Month? I wasn't aware (pun intended) of it until I read our local homeowner's monthly newsletter and it caught my eye.


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Actually, last month the founding organization, the Autism Society, changed "Awareness" to "Acceptance" to foster inclusivity, as knowing about something is very different from accepting it. But I am guessing that is not the point of this call.


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Although it isn't autism, it reminded me of years ago when we found out that Natasha has learning disabilities.


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I think you mean DIFF-abilities.


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Of course, that's another thing I remember. I was focused on the negative aspects of her diagnosis until you asked me, point-blank, "Why are they called disabilities?" And proceeded to explain that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses.


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Exactly! Imagine the world if everyone excelled at math, but flunked English. Or, a world of lawyers, but no musicians. Some people are better at social skills, while others excel at handling technical data. Why not just say that people who have different skillsets and abilities have DIFF-abilities versus making them feel like they have shortcomings?
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Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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As much of a history buff as I am, I’m embarrassed to admit that for a long time, I didn’t know March was Women’s History Month. But now that I do, I’m amazed by all the inspirational stories of women’s remarkable achievements.


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Too bad Natasha and Sawyer do not still live at home; it would be fun to start a conversation by asking them what women they find inspiring.


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I already know who they would pick. The first woman to race the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And I’d have to agree with them. Your Ferrari racing has made an impact on so many people. But especially girls.


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Until you mentioned it several years ago, I never thought about that. In the 1970s, I was one of the few women in business school. I then made a career in the male-dominated oil and gas industry. I am used to being a “token” female.


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Trust me. I watch people whenever we’ve done speaking engagements. It’s predictable ... we put up the family tree, and Natasha and Sawyer get awws, but your two racecars get everyone’s attention.
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Image by filipefrazao on iStock

Were you like Red and shocked when the actor Chadwick Boseman died at the age of 43 after battling colon cancer for years? Cancer isn’t only for older people, and recent studies show more people under 50 are getting cancer. (Doctors aren’t sure why but suspect it may be due to less physical activity, more highly processed foods, and new toxins.) That’s why cancer screenings are more important than ever!

February may be Cancer Prevention Month – but we need to do it all year! Every year. And is why we’re rerunning last year’s post …



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I know that cancer isn’t the “death sentence” it used to be when we were growing up, but it’s still a very scary word. Especially if it’s heard “close to home”.


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When we were young, the word was rarely said. And if it was, it was whispered or referred to as the “ c-word.”


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Kind of like when I had my two miscarriages. No one wanted even to acknowledge, let alone talk about, them. Which made it all the more difficult to get through it, although intellectually, I knew it was not uncommon.


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Unfortunately, neither is cancer. It is the second-leading cause of death in the world, surpassed only by heart disease. But, at least, it is no longer a taboo subject.


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Please don’t make this about numbers. It’s about people. Which you should know. I’m sure you remember when Daddy was diagnosed with parotid gland cancer , which luckily was treatable. And I’ve had skin cancer, although I was very fortunate, it was caught early and easily treated.
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