The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


December 21, 2012

John Cox, guest columnist: Assault weapons problem out of control

JOPLIN, Mo. — The recent slaying of innocent children in Connecticut has been a lot to take in. But it’s not history’s first mass-killing, nor will it be its last.

Larger scale tragedies have happened at the hands of madmen such as Hitler, Stalin and Herod. They’ve happened in countries where hate exists for citizens of a certain ethnic group — places such as Rwanda, Yugoslavia, the Congo and Ethiopia. The difference is that we live in a lawful, stable nation that is free of dictators.

Yet, today in American, a disturbed individual can easily obtain weapons, which were once reserved for the military, to slaughter kids and their protectors in cold blood. Malls, theaters, schools — these all used to be thought of as safe places.

I own hunting weapons, but I do not own assault weapons. Nor do I have 30-round clips or ammo that is made to do maximum damage. Why would I?

I don’t envision a shoot-out with my fellow man, zombies or government agents in black helicopters. Gun manufacturers would like you to envision that very scenario, in hopes that you will load up on the biggest, baddest killing machines by the carload. Since the ban on assault weapons was lifted by Congress in 2004, gun companies have cleaned up and used the profits to threaten any lawmaker who has suggested limits be put on these types of weapons.

Don’t you know that a government agent who wants to bust in and take your weapons is lurking around the corner? Load up. Spend your money. Feed the slaughter.

I can’t wrap my head around the idea of possessing a weapon that’s only purpose is to kill humans quickly in large numbers. It’s not for me. If the world comes to us slugging it out with each other using automatic weapons, then please, come to my house and take me out early. It goes against everything I was trained to do in medical school and in church.

How many schoolchildren would have been killed if the shooter was equipped with a shotgun or deer rifle that’s only capable of making five or six shots? Is putting our teachers, principals, mall workers and movie attendants in a position to shoot it out with a gunman the solution? Who will die in the crossfire? Who will certify them to use weapons in a public place? As we cut budgets for schools, mental health programs and law enforcement agencies to preserve the no-taxes tidal wave in state budgets, who will stand in the breach when madmen open fire?

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said the killing of 20 beautiful children and six adult protectors happened because we took God out of schools. Really? I wonder if Mr. Huckabee has the same theory when shootings occur in movie theaters or malls. I guess it depends whether Huckabee the apologist for the gun companies or Huckabee the preacher is talking.

I think Huckabee is mistaken about where God exists. The God I pray to resides in my heart, no matter where I am. It’s the same for my kids — he is with them at school, at the movies and as they sleep. Just because we respect the religions of others in public places doesn’t take that away. I suspect God was with those brave souls who shielded the kids that day.

Making public displays of religion and taking strong pro-life stands while owning a private arsenal seems to be contradiction. If we are truly pro-life, it has to be just that — in all areas, to all souls who walk the earth. We are told to be our brother’s keeper.

Men and women with good intentions must rethink the need for such weapons. Access to these weapons by the deranged and mentally unstable must be made more difficult.

I had the pleasure of watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” on the big screen at Coleman Theater and seeing “A Christmas Carol” by the Stained Glass Theater group in the days following the shooting. The productions gave me some soul-clearing perspective on life. So did the milestone of 1 million hours of volunteer service in Joplin since the tornado.

“Mankind is our business,” said the ghost of Christmas past. Indeed. “Strange isn’t it? One man’s life touches so many other lives,” said Clarence the angel. Yes, it does.

The common good — not just individual rights — must be considered when our society makes decisions. With rights comes responsibility to those of us who “do most of the working and paying and living and dying.” I shall die, as will all of you. Somehow, I don’t fear that I’ll meet my maker any sooner if my house is not turned into a bunker.

“Peace on earth and goodwill toward men.” As it is in God’s heart, it should be in ours.

John Cox is a Joplin physician.

Text Only
  • Our View.jpg Our View: Too many questions on No. 5

    Even though the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees “the right of the people to keep and bear arms,” Missouri voters on Aug. 5 are being asked to consider an amendment that restates that freedom and then goes even further.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Your View: Beware the wolf

    The wolf (the Humane Society of the United States, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and other radical animal rights organizations) has conned Little Red Riding Hood (the Missouri Rural Crisis Center, The Joplin Globe editorial staff and, as of last week, the local Democratic leadership).

    July 31, 2014

  • Your View: Dally for Division 5

    I have known Nate Dally almost my entire life. As we grew up, Nate always had a strong passion and desire to make sure everyone was treated fairly and equally.

    July 31, 2014

  • Your View: Vote ‘no’ on 7

    The Globe has been on my reading list for over 35 years, and during that time the Globe has frequently supported tax increases. Same thing again in the Sunday, July 27, editorial, “‘Yes’ on 7.”

    July 31, 2014

  • Geoff Caldwell, columnist: An America transformed

    On Oct. 30, 2008, Barack Obama boldly declared: “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”

    July 30, 2014

  • Other Views Other Views: Open the primaries

    Missourians will go to the polls in the Aug. 5 primary.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Your View: ‘Right to Farm’ is wrong

    On Aug. 5, voters will be asked to make a decision about Amendment 1.

    July 29, 2014

  • Your View: No on Amendment 7

    The Missouri Department of Transportation is wanting more money through a three-quarter-cent addition to the sales tax. Consider one example of how it spends your money.

    July 29, 2014

  • Your View: Bad way to get revenue

    I received two fliers through the mail today asking me to vote “yes” on Amendment 7, which would add a three-quarter-cent tax to Missouri’s sales tax to help maintain roads and bridges.

    July 29, 2014

  • Our View.jpg Our View: No need for No. 9

    “Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended so that the people shall be secure in their electronic communications and data from unreasonable searches and seizures as they are now likewise secure in their persons, homes, papers and effects?”

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

Local News
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter

Missouri's sales tax-free weekend begins Friday. Do you plan purchases around this weekend?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
NDN Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN