…how about ‘acceptance of personal responsibility’ for starters?
Ian Mercer, originally from Preston, said he was astonished that his 26-year-old son had been able to amass a large haul of guns.
“How was he able to compile that kind of arsenal?” he said, speaking to American television crews from his home in Torrance, California.
“It has to change. How can it not? “
Well, there’s this little thing called the Constitution for a start.
He refused to discuss his son’s mental condition – it has been reported that he suffered from Asperger’s syndrome and was a reclusive figure, obsessed with Nazis and the IRA, and angry that he didn’t have a girlfriend.
Maybe those were the issues at hand?
But no, it must have been the pernicious effect of a simple tool for propelling a metal object very fast over long distances.
“Even people who believe in the right to bear arms, what right do you have to take peoples’ lives?
“That’s what guns are: killers, simple as that. It’s black and white. What do you want the gun for?”
Well, for hunting, for home defence, to hone target skills…
And why should anyone need to justify why they need so many? Chris Evans can only drive one car at a time, so should we ask why he needs a garage-ful? I can only use one kitchen knife at a time, but I’ve got more than one. Should someone be able to restrict my ownership?
Thankfully, the Yanks aren’t quite as meek as most Brits in these matters:
Yet Mr Mercer’s comments were not at all in tune with the sentiment in rural Roseburg, a timber and ranching town of 22,000 people, 180 miles south of Portland.
At a candlelit prayer vigil in neighbouring Winston – where evangelical preacher Billy Graham’s “Rapid Response Team” had parked their giant “mobile ministry” lorry, driven from Carolina – many were horrified at the idea of fewer guns.
“My husband and I both go to Umpqua Community College, and I think we should be protected,” said Tara Knight, who had brought her three boisterous sons to the vigil.
“After the Charleston shooting, I noticed more people bringing their guns into church on a Sunday. I didn’t think it was necessary – but now I do, and I’m glad they’re there.”
“I always carry a gun,” said John Fish, an army veteran who now runs a construction business in Winston.
“And they should have armed guards at schools.
“If you’re going to put a fish in a barrel, protect it.”
Quite so. Armed guards are good enough for the President, after all.