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I Want To Say Something. I Don’t Know What To Say

I want to say something, but I don’t know what.

A man with an assault rifle murdered 49 people at a nightclub in Orlando. A man with an assault rifle and stuff that could make a bomb was arrested in Los Angeles. People are afraid to go to Gay Pride events.

People say we must ban assault rifles.

People say we must keep a closer watch on Muslims.

People say a lot of stuff.

Violence fueled by hatred is a complex problem. Like all complex problems, simple, one-measure solutions won’t solve violence fueled by hatred.

Banning assault rifles is a start. If you’ve ever purchased a firearm from a gun store or other store selling guns, you know what constitutes gun control in this country. When I bought my rifle, I had to fill out one of these forms. I was required to answer questions such as:

“Are you in the United States illegally?”

“Are you a convicted felon?”

“Have you ever been committed to a mental institution?”

I don’t remember the rest of the stupid questions. The clerk believed me when I checked “No” after each question. The clerk said nothing when I told him that I believed in gun control but this form certainly wasn’t gun control.

Background check before buying a pistol. Sounds good. It’s not. In New York, one needs to have a permit before being able to purchase a handgun. Because of the permit requirement, there’s no background check at the point of sale of a handgun. What’s the background check like? Only a tad sillier than the form in the gun store.

Before I explain the pistol permit process, I need to tell you that my husband has never hit me. I have never hit him. We’re not afraid of each other. I’m a better shot than he is.

A police officer came to our house, asked my husband why he wanted a gun (you better not say for protection if you’re in NY – you want that gun for target shooting). The officer then turned to me and asked me if I was okay with my husband having a handgun. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? Who trained this officer? If I were afraid of my husband having a handgun, I certainly wouldn’t tell an officer who was sitting next to my husband when the question was asked. When another police officer came to interview me prior to my getting a pistol permit, I was asked if my husband was okay with me having a handgun. This was at a time when my husband wasn’t home. Because I wanted the pistol permit, I said yes. What I wanted to say was, how do you know I’m not getting this pistol permit so I can buy a pistol and blow the SOB away the next time he hits me?

So much for gun control.

As long as there is a secondary market for firearms, there will be no gun control. I can go to a flea market, garage sale, gun show, and buy any gun I want from a private individual. There is no form with stupid questions. There is no background check. There is cash exchanged for a firearm.

I was a criminal defense attorney for more than 21 years. My clients never had any problem buying guns. One even told me he bought a 9mm handgun because he wanted to shoot rabbits. Boy was he surprised when I told him that was the wrong gun for shooting rabbits. A bullet that size ruins too much meat.

If gun control, as we currently have it, isn’t going to solve the violence problem, what should we do?

We can arm ourselves with something far stronger than assault rifles. We can teach ourselves, our neighbors, our colleagues, our children, our parents, our friends to accept differences between people. To embrace the differences. To honor differences. Every one of us can do something to stop hatred.



I retired from the Public Defender Dept. November 12, 2015 after 21+ years as a criminal defense attorney. Now, I'm a full time multi-media artist and writer starting on a new adventure. As an artist, I create with beads, fabric, fiber, and ceramic clay. Sometimes separately; sometimes in assorted combinations. You can find my on-line store at:

One thought on “I Want To Say Something. I Don’t Know What To Say

  1. Deb,
    FYI-the shooter in Orlando had a Florida Security G license. He was being checked by the FBI for terrorist activities & connections, but obviously the Florida never did a check with FBI & FBI never told Florida. So, this guy had a permit to carry a firearm legally.

    It would be great if we could educate everyone to get along & deal with differences. But, it’s not happening, & hate has been taught for centuries now.
    In Israel, the Palestine police did a check of high school kids’ backpacks, & found about 80% were carrying kitchen knives to stab Jews. They have been taught this hatred since kindergarten & perhaps earlier. Did these high school kids realize they would be shot dead by Israeli military & police? I don’t think all of them thought it through.

    Getting back to the USA, as you said so called gun control & background checks are a farce in many areas. As retired federal agent, he can carry concealed weapon anywhere, and also has a security permit (like the shooter in Florida), but when we are at our house in Maine, he was told ammunition is only sold to Maine residents. So, my husband went to MVD in Maine to get a Maine ID card to buy ammunition in Maine. (His drivers license is New Mexico which is why he needed the Maine ID.) I guess out of state hunters need to bring ammo with them.

    In California, I once looked into getting a small gun at at gunshow near San Francisco. They told me I would need to take a class on firearm safety which they were holding there, and would need a 15 day waiting period. The gun course is waved for anyone who had been in military.

    As you mentioned, anyone can get a firearm of any kind (illegally) from the streets or from ISIS as they did in San Bernardino shooting.

    I do agree with the 2nd amendment. If we as law abiding citizens can’t arm ourselves, then we are target practice for anyone. All the shootings in Portland, OR, San Bernardina, CA, & Orlando, FL were all in gun free zones. The shooters knew they could kill whom they wanted before police, etc, arrived. And, I hate to say it, but even someone with a legal conceal carry permit cannot carry a gun into a bar. (In a past life, I once found myself in a biker bar in Tucson, & patrons had to check weapons with the bartender.) So, a packed bar, no matter who is inside or type of bar, all patrons would be “sitting ducks”.

    The shooters in Tel Aviv last week, were dressed in suits & even ordered dessert before they started shooting. I saw the cafe’s video surveillance. Many of the patrons were able to run for their lives. The best news, is that one of the four who died (I believe in the hospital), his family donated his organs so some other people awaiting transplants may live.

    Now, it’s interesting to note that in Orlando, there is a call out for blood donations. But, Gay men are being excluded from donating. With today’s testing, I believe this is a double whammy for the Gay community, by not being able to donate blood to their wounded fellows.

    Anyway, it would be wonderful if we could have children learn to live side by side. When I was a volunteer at a kibbutz in Israel in 1969, we had a group of high school age volunteers from Northern Ireland. The idea was to get them out of their war torn neighborhoods. And, they came to Israel. We enjoyed talking with them as we bent over picking tomatoes. If I remember correctly, they were all Catholics. They had some very interesting personal stories of living with their own tragedies.

    Look at most of the wars that have been fought over the last several centuries. Despising others of a different religion were often at the basis: the crusaders killed Jews on their way to Jerusalem where they killed more Jews & Moslems. Look at the Hundred Years’ War of France & England. And, even the Nazis killed not only Jews but gypsies, Gays, and the disabled. Look at our own US history. I would say having researched nurses during the US Civil War (which was anything but civil), there were Jewish nurses and fighters on both sides. The first Jewish chaplain was for the Confederacy. After that, Lincoln appointed a Jewish chaplain.

    So, as long as people have prejudices, they will pass them down to their children. We attended a funeral of a US Marine who was killed in Afghanistan in a small town in Maine. Due to a certain group in Kansas who were protesting & showing up at military funerals to cause incitement, we had a group of military veteran bikers attend the funeral to prevent any violence.

    So, getting rid of hatred and educating our youth (& even older people who have their own set ideas) is wonderful idea. I don’t think it’s feasible. Besides, wouldn’t it put some attorneys out of business? 🤔


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