Bushmaster. The name of the manufacturer of the .223-caliber rifle Adam Lanza used in last Friday’s horrific school shooting in Newtown, Conn., says it all.
It’s a weapon made for the bush -- for some forsaken jungle pit where militant lunatics are holding hostages and armed forces have to come to the rescue and kill the bad guys.
Instead, the Bushmaster rifle this time was wielded by the bad guy, the armed lunatic, to gun down defenseless children and teachers in an idyllic New England town’s elementary school.
Almost simultaneous with Friday’s shooting was the resurrection of the flaccid debate on gun control. Both sides are lobbing the same arguments at each other we’ve heard since the Federal Assault Weapons Ban expired in 2004. In Friday’s aftermath, it’s surreal to hear these overtures yet again.
It needs to be put plainly and people of all stripes need to get behind it: There is no legitimate reason for anyone not fighting a war on behalf of a national military to have an assault rifle in their hands.
Don’t misunderstand: We are no enemy of Second Amendment rights. We believe fully in an America whose citizens have the right to keep and bear arms in the defense of hearth and home, in hunting, and in the resisting of a tyrannical government.
But assault weapons? They are made for assaults, not hunting. They are made for storming the palisades, not defending the doorstep.
We count several hunters among our staff and know many more. Care to know how many of them think assault weapons are needed to hunt in New England or anywhere else in the country? None.
For those concerned about defending your home from intruders, we encourage the inclination, but an assault weapon is not needed for the task. A .22 pistol is lethal in the right hands if your home comes under attack and the best move, calling the police, is not an option.
An inherent debate in the adoption of the Second Amendment was that an armed populace was a deterrent from the burgeoning U.S.government becoming tyrannical a la the British yolk we had just thrown off.
If you’re still claiming the right to bear assault weapons somehow keeps the government from becoming tyrannical and overwhelming the populace, you’ve missed some technological notes. That debate stopped being valid the moment both the armed forces and the citizenry stopped having weapons no more advanced than muzzleloaders. The principle is outgunned in the current era.
This country’s deadly dance of only talking seriously about gun control immediately following a tragedy has begun to resemble a lost scene from "Waiting for Godot." The inanity of debating this only after people die has become tragically insane, because despite all the iterations, nothing is ever done.
It’s time we gathered the courage of our convictions and made a sacrifice to at least make it harder for a tragedy like this to take place again.
We need to approach the assault weapons ban with more severity, because look around: The deranged among us are attacking this nation with utter, bestial savagery.