One of my all-time favorite television shows was “Gunsmoke.” In one episode of the long-running TV show, the deputy Festus — played by actor Ken Curtis — took on a bad guy on the main street of Dodge City. Now, Festus was not famous for having a neat appearance and the bad guy himself looked like 20 miles of unpaved road, but the point is this: there was a good guy and a bad guy in this fight. Both had guns and, thankfully, in this case the good guy won.
It is because of scenarios like that one that I support efforts like Senate Bill 27. This legislation before the North Carolina Legislature is a genuine effort to keep our kids and their teachers safe from those who seek to do them harm. Sadly, the media just harps on demonizing guns, the NRA, and all who even dare to talk positively about firearms. One local example openly mocks state Sen. Bill Cook, invoking John Wayne and Yosemite Sam, and using language like: “ Senator Cook wants nothing less than to introduce the wild west into the classrooms of North Carolina.”
I would laugh at such drivel but what is happening in our country is no laughing matter. The Sandy Hook tragedy as well as those at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999 and Virginia Tech University in 2007 were caused by individuals who made the choices they did. Furthermore, both politicians and the media just seem to push one side of the gun debate — the anti-gun side.
A recent writer’s letter to the editor on this subject was excellent. Does anyone actually think those who seek to do harm will be thwarted by some new law? The NRA would be more than happy to point out all the existing gun laws as well share all of the heroic stories of lives saved because of responsible gun ownership. By the way, speaking of the wild west: it was necessary for armed marshals to be onboard trains. Why do you think that was?
The bottom line here is there are both good guys as well as bad guys with guns. So who would you prefer in your classroom — John Wayne or Butch Cavendish? I choose Wayne. The TV show “Gunsmoke” was fiction. Here is the reality: Guns do not make the choices to do evil; people do that, driven by whatever fills their hearts and minds.
RAY CLARKE SR.