Monday, February 07, 2011

Texas 1963 --- Arizona 2011

A guest post from Jerry Gettinger of Scottsdale, a friend and a friend of the blog -

I was a young 23, starting a career and living in San Antonio, Texas. It was late November in 1963 when I and the rest of a 50 person office heard that JFK was going to pass by the office on his way to the airport. Very exciting. The office was on the ground floor and maybe 20 yards from the street to where I was standing along with a few “buddies.” Suddenly, a wave of sound came around the corner and there he was…and Jackie also and in the back seat the Governor, John Connelly and his wife. The car was a Lincoln convertible, big and Presidential-looking. There was only one policeman who was responsible for keeping the crowd at bay. And he really wasn’t needed. We were all well-behaved in those days. Of course there were Secret Service men running along-side.

As JFK passed by a thought came into my mind. I turned to my friend and mentioned how easy it would be to put a bullet into the president. But who would think of doing such a thing? Would never happen. As I think back, it was so obvious and so easy that it should not have been surprising that it did happen. The next day, I was at my desk talking to a customer when he said there was something on the TV about JFK being shot. I put the phone down and was about to yell when someone came running in and yelled that the President had been shot in Dallas. I looked over at the friend to whom I had remarked the day before. Our eyes met and there was that look of disbelief. But it was true and JFK was dead a short while later.I can’t explain it, but I have always had the feeling that everything changed when JFK died. It was never the same again. No one was safe, there were no rules anymore. Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, Columbine High School, Virginia Tech and now Tucson. It sounds cold, but what happened in Tucson was not a surprise. It was shocking and even more so, sad, sad, sad. But not surprising. I haven’t heard anyone say that the senseless massacre was a surprise. It started on a chilly day in Texas and continues in Tucson. The players change. The method is the same (guns), although the numbers have increased along with the ability to kill faster. Hi-Tech. Tucson, we hope is a turning point, like Columbine High School, or Virginia Tech, or, who knows what is next.
 I remember as if it were yesterday. JFK was bigger than life in person, and Jackie was hot. Every time there is a tragedy I think back to that open car that the president was in. So vulnerable. Only this time, it was a 9- year-old child and many more. When are we going to stop the craziness? Buying assault weapons for target practice? On who? A nine year old? If something isn’t done, there will be another. That is certain. Tucson was not an isolated event perpetrated by a lunatic. (Shooting a nine year old child?). It was another episode in a series. An incident made all too easy by our so-called gun laws. Heck of a job, NRA. Your money has made gun laws a joke. The TV program Gun Smoke is now a reality show being filmed at your corner supermarket. Who knows, you too can be a star. Finally, explain to me how a magazine holding 50 bullets is good for anything but, oh well, you know.
 Jerry Gettinger



Mary said...

Most people are shot because they think it want happen to them, and therefore neglect to protect them selves.
Can't you see that the criminal, and the insane is well armed.
Most did not obtain their weapons legally.
And they are out there to do harm where they have the best opportunity to achieve their objective.
If citizens had been prepared in Tucson AZ, maybe so many would not have been shot.

Ann said...

First of all, Jared Loughner obtained his weapon and his ammo clip legally. If he had only been able to purchase a 10-round clip, fewer people surely would have died in this particular case.

Secondly, there was at least one citizen on the scene in Tucson with a concealed weapon, Joe Zamudio.

"Zamudio had released his safety and was poised to fire when he saw what he thought was the killer still holding his weapon. Zamudio had a split second to decide whether to shoot. He was sufficiently convinced of the killer's identity to shove the man into a wall. But Zamudio didn't use his gun. That's how close he came to killing an innocent man. He was, as he acknowledges, 'very lucky.'

"That's what happens when you run with a firearm to a scene of bloody havoc. In the chaos and pressure of the moment, you can shoot the wrong person. Or, by drawing your weapon, you can become the wrong person—a hero mistaken for a second gunman by another would-be hero with a gun. Bang, you're dead. Or worse, bang bang bang bang bang: a firefight among several armed, confused, and innocent people in a crowd. It happens even among trained soldiers. Among civilians, the risk is that much greater.

"We're enormously lucky that Zamudio, without formal training, made the right split-second decisions. We can't count on that the next time some nut job starts shooting. I hope Arizona does train lawmakers and their aides in the proper use of firearms. I hope they remember this training if they bring guns to constituent meetings. But mostly, I hope they don't bring them."--