To the Editor:
For those of us old enough to remember the cartoon Pogo, remember his mantra: “We have met the enemy and it is us.” It seems a fitting statement for today’s world.
A few months ago our United States Congressman, Democrat Jared Golden, was in Bar Harbor. Along with 40 or so constituents, I went to hear what he had to say. I approached him and said I was interested in his view on guns. It was a meet-and-greet, no speeches. I was concerned because a few weeks earlier he had voted “no” on a gun registration bill that had been put to a vote in Congress. To add ammunition to my question, I mentioned that a friend of mine, a high ranking officer in the Vietnam War, had told me “there is no place in a civilized society for assault rifles, I know first hand what damage and devastation they can cause …”
Congressman Golden strongly disagreed and said we needed assault rifles and indeed there was a place for them in a civilized society. He said we needed the “right people to have the right guns.” I asked him to repeat that since it did not seem to make much sense. He insisted, “The right people need to have the right guns.” What does that mean? No clear response. I asked why he had voted “no” on the recent gun registration bill? “It went too far,” he said.
Calmly and probably desperately, I asked what his plan was to stop the slaughter of Americans. I was particularly concerned about children who now go to school fearful that a gunman will gun them down. He did not miss a beat. He told me he did not have a plan! So our elected official in Washington, D.C. is a man with no plan for this raging crisis. I am still in shock over that conversation. Recently, we have had the tragedies in El Paso, Dayton, and Midland/Odessa.
Since 9/11 Americans have been told to fear terrorists from somewhere else. After Sandy Hook it is apparent that the real threat is from American terrorists. Mass shooting with guns and assault rifles greet us with frightening regularity. Men, who are angry and full of hate about something, pick up a gun with deadly result. Muslims, Jews, Blacks, it could be anyone or any idea that triggers this response. Powerful guns are at the ready, to serve their warped minds. As a nation we offer platitudes: heart-felt sympathy and prayers. No actual response to meet the threat.
We seem leaderless and powerless to address this challenge. America has lost its way; we certainly are not becoming great.