The recent Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh has really affected me. I have mixed feelings about our gun laws to begin with, as many of us do.
Should we have the Right to Bear Arms, as our Second Amendment states, ratified on December 15, 1791?
I remember years ago, being on a date with the late comedian David Brenner. We were at a lovely West Side restaurant, long gone, called Nanny Rose that had black match books with pink roses on the front. David, who was at his most famous, always ordered a Chef’s Salad because so many fans approached him for autographs, his food would get cold.
That night when he got up to take off his blazer, I saw a gun shoved in the back of his pants. A little shocked, I asked, why on earth he was carrying one?
“I have two words for ya,” he said, without pause, “John Lennon.”
Lennon, in 1980, was killed at age 40, by Mark David Chapman who bought his Charter Arms .38 Special for $169 in Honolulu, Hawaii with a permit and no questions asked, hiding it in his luggage en route to New York City with the intent to shoot Mr. Lennon.
Imagine, to quote John.
That wasn’t the first time a gun popped into my life unexpectedly. I was 16 in high school, when a local cop’s son stole his father’s gun, then along with a friend, went around town in a convertible on a shooting spree.
Frederick Santoro, known as Ricky, was killed as he stood in line at a popular hamburger place in Bridgeport, Connecticut called Jeff’s Patio.
Ricky was just 17, about to go into the Navy.
He was my first death, and doubly disturbing because he was also my first kiss in the back of Maryjane Andrasick’s forest green Pontiac when I was 15.
I remember the wake at the Mullins and Redgate Funeral Home, the cheapest place there was. When I went to pay my respects, what I saw was a giant doll looking nothing like Ricky. His family, without means, inspired the local church to pick up the cost. I also recall giving money towards a headstone that I’m sure still rests at St. Michael’s Cemetery that says—
A Tribute From All My Friends.
But back to The Right to Bear Arms.
We live in very precarious times, there’s no question of this, so I understand the need to protect ourselves and those we love.
I do feel, it should be much harder than it is to obtain a gun with an extensive check on the person who wishes to purchase one. In other words, if you show up with cash at noon, you shouldn’t be walking out with a .38 at ten minutes past.
Columbine, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, Red Lake, Pulse Nightclub, Charleston Church, Stoneman Douglas High School, and now Tree of Life Synagogue, battlefields all hallowed ground, mewl in agreement.
In my chronic naivete, I’ll never understand why the powers that be, don’t see this as clearly as I do.
Yes, we have The Right to Bear Arms, whether it’s to protect ourselves, our family or our Chef’s Salad, but responsibly, to insure the safety of all our citizens, especially the children.
PS…Don’t forget to vote.