For only the second time in my life have I considered buying a gun. And this time, I actually did. All the recent shootings and homicides have just hit too close to home.
Two weeks ago, the stepson of my mother’s caregiver was beaten. He did not survive. No provocation. He was 24. Last week, the boyfriend of a friend’s granddaughter was shot and killed while walking down the street. He was 17. Again, no provocation. The only motive anyone could guess was jealousy laced with hatred.
Then, last Saturday, driving down Montgomery, the traffic suddenly stopped. Everyone was steered to one lane and into the Smith’s parking lot at the corner of Louisiana. Crime scene tape was everywhere, as were police cars and a Crime Scene Investigation SUV. We later learned that what was thought to be a bad car accident was actually another shooting. The driver was shot dead, and his car veered into a gas station. Police have not released any data on that one.
These three murders are in addition to several other shootings this past week.
Everyone is asking: How do these teenagers and young adults get their hands on guns? Why are they shooting each other? Where are they learning to shoot, if they are? I went to a firing range with my new gun and was shocked to feel the recoil. It definitely affects your aim. And there is no mistaking the loud “bang” of a firearm. For new-timers like me, it can be intimidating.
I’ve had this conversation with my hair stylist, a female neighbor, a woman who is printing a brochure for me and a gal friend. To my surprise, they were amazingly gun-savvy, and they all owned at least one gun. I am not sure how to digest that information.
One thing we all agreed upon, at least as it relates to the younger folks who are killing each other, was that they collectively do not have respect for life. Not for theirs, surely not for those they are shooting. This is a basic lesson we learn early on — from our parents or guardians — to respect life. We only get one.
Somehow that lesson is escaping the later generations. And we have ourselves to blame. No number of gun laws is going to protect us if we are missing the basic principles of respecting life and caring for others. It is time to go back and teach the upcoming generations the basics about the seemingly lost values of life.
Note: As I finished writing this Monday (May 15), a breaking news report came up on CNN: “3 shot dead in Farmington; 2 police officers were wounded.” The shooter turned out to be another teen, this one 18 years of age.
Sue A. Prelozni
Rio Rancho resident and business owner