Thursday, July 22, 2021

Hank Sanders: Sketches #1778 - Big guns, big problems

  Big guns, big problems. Guns are pervasive in America. More pervasive than any other country in the world. And more are being sold and bought each day. Big guns, big problems.

  There is a place for guns in America: to protect our homes; to protect our persons; to protect our loved ones; to engage in sport; to engage in war; etc. There is a place for guns. However, all guns do not have the same place in America.

  I used to carry a 45-caliber pistol in my car. I had a license to carry. I was out and about across the state of Alabama and beyond all times of the day and night. I was controversial. I had death threats. I needed to protect myself and my loved ones. But I never needed an assault weapon. I never needed an AK-47 or AR-15 or M-16. Big guns, big problems.

  I used to keep a rifle and a shotgun in my home. It was to protect my family, myself, and my home. But I never needed a big gun to protect me or mine. I never needed assault weapons to protect those who are important to me.

  I caught myself hiding the guns in my home so my children would not have access to them. But children are resourceful, and they found them anyway. My son wanted a rifle real bad. I finally got him one. Then I learned that these guns were being utilized in dangerous manners by my children by birth and by foster. In the efforts to protect those I love, I created danger right in my home. I got rid of the guns to protect my children and others. But I never needed big guns. I never needed assault weapons. Big guns, big problems.

  In my nearly 80 years of living, I have not heard of even one example of persons using an AK-47 to protect their homes, their families, themselves, their friends, or anyone or anything. That is not to say that there are no examples out there. However, it is to say that it is not a remotely common occurrence, or you and I would have heard about it. Every example of an AK-47 being used was to attack not to repel attacks.

  The very name assault weapon speaks loudly. It is to assault, not to defend. It is an assault weapon, not a defend weapon. It was created to take something: a place; a thing; a position; a life. Big guns, big problems.

  I recently had an experience with an assault weapon. I volunteer with a nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation in Selma, Alabama. The corporation is trying to provide something more for children to do. It is trying to provide something more for tourists when they visit Selma for historical purposes. It is doing good works. However, a person shot multiple times into the building with an AK-47 or another assault weapon. The bullets went through three walls doing great damage. Law enforcement caught the person right away but let him out on a $15,000 bail bond. I personally know of examples of multi-million bail bonds for sending a text, with the person also kept in jail for several years. I do not believe in multi-million bonds for sending a text or for shooting into a building with big guns. Both are wrong. But shooting through a building with a big gun – an assault weapon – and only getting a $15,000 bail bond is also wrong.

  Then I heard from my dear friend of 40 years and fellow Alabama Senator for twenty-two years. An AK 47-was used to shoot into her home 25 times. The bullets went through everything, doing great damage. I am just thankful that Sen. Vivian Davis Figures of Mobile was not in her home at that moment. As of this writing, they have not caught the person(s). With an assault weapon, you can shoot dozens of times in the shortest of moments. Big guns, big problems.

  We have a friend whose home was shot up two times with big guns. They subsequently burned down her home. One of our cars was parked in front of her home, and they burned up the car. You should have seen the damage the big guns did before the fire destroyed the remainder of the home. Our friends are without a home.

  The AK-47 can shoot up to 10 rounds per second and 600 rounds per minute. It can travel more than 400 meters, which is farther than four football fields end to end. The AK-47 was created in the Soviet Union (Russia) seventy-plus years ago. The 47 in the name is for the year it was first manufactured. The AK-47 was created for purposes of war. It and its offspring are the most widely used rifles in the world. Big guns, big problems.

  Assault-like weapons were banned in the USA from 1994 to 2000. They were banned for a specific time frame by the legislation. When that expired, every effort to extend it fell short. The proponents of the AK-47 and comparable weapons were just too strong.

  Bullets from AK-47s and other assault weapons are highly lethal. They can go through brick walls. They can go through a truck. They can go through just about anything. Therefore, you know they can go through human beings. AK-47s and other assault rifle bullets have gone through multiple walls in buildings and killed a person(s) standing on the outside. They are very powerful. Big guns, big problems.

  These big guns make certain people feel powerful. Those who are small of body can feel big with big guns. Those who feel small because of circumstances can feel big with big guns. Those whose mental or emotional or psychological dispositions cause them to feel small can feel big with big guns.

  But some youth feel really endangered and get guns to protect themselves. I learned years later that our sons by birth, by foster relationship, and uncle/nephew relationship took a pistol to school to protect themselves. That was nearly 30 years ago. But they did not need big guns. Big guns, big problems.

  I have had a person pull a shotgun on me. I have had a person pull a pistol on me. I have had a person pull a rifle on me. I have had a person stab me in the left side in my kidney. I lived to tell about each incident. I cannot live if an AK-47 is the weapon. Even law officials worry greatly about those with these big guns. Big guns are not manufactured by little people. They are created and distributed initially by big people and big corporations. They make big money. Big guns, big problems. We have got to do something about these big guns. 

EPILOGUE – They say guns don’t kill; people do. People do kill. However, guns make it easier to kill people. And big guns make it easier to kill big numbers of people. We cannot separate big guns from big numbers of human deaths. Big guns, big problems.

  About the author: Hank Sanders represented District 23 in the Alabama Senate from 1983 to 2018.

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