Opinion > Letters To The Editor
The good do not need guns
By Ubaldo Lozada Moreno
Pain leads to outrage but we can not stay there. Regret, anger and sadness are inevitable and even necessary. But the country can not stagnate on the tears and keep watching more children massacred, whether it's one, twenty or twenty-eight: the reaction should begin now. It's time to do something.
It seems that the United States is stunned watching a madman enter a theater, a school or a store, armed to the teeth and then shoots everyone, commits suicide, or falls under the action of the police. In this we have spent many years and countless massacres and many casualties.
This country is so big that sometimes we see what happens as very far away from us. As if thouth we do not care because that happened so far from home, in another city or in another state, and the dead were not our family or our neighbors. Are we waiting for the slaughter to occur in our faces or to the ones we care about?
Today the nation is grieving over the killing of twenty children, seven adults and the suicide of the killer in Connecticut. But this is a continuous problem and we have not resolved the issue.
In Colombia we have the same saing, "we must take the bull by the horns" when it comes to facing a problem. I am Colombian but I live in USA. So I respect and will continue to respect the law and what you decide to do this huge country that welcomed me. But I'm also in sorrow and outrage and I join the voices that reject these crimes against life, more so when the victims are children.
Ten years ago in Bogota, Colombia, a semitruck working on the construction of a road, struck a school bus and crushed 21 children. I was in my car about two miles from the site of the tragedy when I heard the news on the radio. I felt the same pain and anger I feel now. I stopped my car and I began to mourn. I wept for the dead but I was also angry because the driver of the machine was an inexperienced man who could not control the tractor-trailer. It was either the irresponsability of the driver or his boss who allowed him to manipulate that machine, and those who fell were innocent children. I wondered why my country people had to die for the irresponsibility of others. The next day I wrote an article on the subject in a magazine Bogota.
Now, as I have the same feelings and the same indignation, I wonder why innocent people are losing their lives in the U.S., only because any fool can go to a store and arm himself as if though going to the battlefront with no controls, no restrictions, or anyone to do something for these people to prevent the misuse of such weapons and go somewhere public to vent their sick mind and shoot everyone.
I am a foreigner but I live here. I love and respect this country and I want it to continue being the great nation that was built with love and vision of happiness for its citizens. I want to help in continuing to achieve that goal, I do not want to see more children fall by bullets or by abandonment. I dream of seeing my grandchildren, who were born and will be born here, playing in parks, going to their schools to learn, shopping, walking quietly in malls in peace and without fear of being killed by people who bought guns freely in any store.
Just a month ago, I heard a pastor say in his Sunday sermon, of a great church: "Fortunately, we live in Texas, a state that allows us to have arms to defend our families." Minutes before the same pastor and church choir had said that Jesus is our strength and protection. I deeply respect the opinions in favor of having weapons, but I can not share them.
I am also a Christian and I read in Zechariah 4:6 "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty." I think we should unite all who live in the United States, government, pastors, priests, teachers, leaders, parents, natives, immigrants, to change our minds and believe in the power of peaceful coexistence, with love, without hatred, without weapons, that is, to have God in our hearts.
Time to take the bull by the horns. And it must be done by changing the culture of violence. We will achieve this by educating new generations in the respect for life. We have to return to values that allow us to find peace and happiness in things simpler and less dangerous than weapons, war movies and violence. We have to remove the culture of violence in our hearts and in our minds and that is done with God, with good education, games and toys, good reads and poetry. This is like a diet. It replaces the bad in our spirit with healthy things.
In the novel "The Road" by Corman McCarthy, men go wild and eat each other. A parent flees with his son and tells the child, "we are good, because we do not eat people." At the time of his death the father says "you must go alone. You are good and you have the fire with you." the boy asks," What fire?" The father says, " The fire in your heart, that will make you survive." We are in a time when the bad guys are killing our children. We must carry the fire in our hearts, not weapons. Do not give the criminals easier access to guns. The good do not need weapons.
Author is Colombian journalist and professeur