Guns and Jesus

Some serious topics on the run-up to Christmas

Sometimes my job is a bummer. That’s especially true when I’m researching something for a somber editorial, such as this week’s look at the one-year anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

I’m glad the mainstream media ran the photos of the 20 little kids who were gunned down last year. Some of them are etched into my memory. Not much could be more powerful than seeing their sweet faces or the grief-stricken faces of their loved ones upon hearing the tragic news.

I have mixed feelings about gun ownership. On the one hand, I believe people have a right to protect themselves and their family from harm (and to hunt). On the other, I believe certain people shouldn’t be allowed to own guns and that some guns should be banned from the public altogether. It’s one thing to own a shotgun and an entirely different thing to own a weapon that’s made specifically for killing lots of people very quickly.

And while the National Rifle Association would very much like to see every teacher in America armed (with “everything from a sidearm, to a shotgun, to an AR-15,” as one Republican congressman from Arkansas was quoted as saying after Sandy Hook), I cannot imagine sending my kid to a school where his teacher has a 12-gauge handy enough to attempt to protect him from someone with an assault rifle yet safely locked away from a classroom of curious kids.

Speaking of serious subjects, the so-called civil-sidewalks ordinance—the sit/lie law—is officially on the books in Chico as of today (Dec. 19). That law may keep many in the homeless community out of sight, but that doesn’t mean they’re off the streets.

Is it just me who sees the irony of this law going in effect just days before Christmas? I mean, Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ—aka the homeless guy who went around advocating for the needy, ill and forsaken. And I quote: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.”

Notice how Jesus didn’t say, “Feed the poor, just don’t do it at City Plaza, because that would look ugly to downtown shoppers.”

On a related topic, several readers in our letters section take contributor Michele French to task over her guest commentary the previous week in which she gives her take on the homeless crisis through one of a number of encounters she’s had with Chico’s street dwellers.

French goes around canning—that is, looking for recyclables to supplement her meager Social Security income—to make ends meet. So, she’s out and about in the community on a daily basis, coming into contact with a variety of people, many of them homeless. She has every right to voice her perspective, even if it’s counter to much of what you’ll read in the CN&R’s pages.

To be fair, there are some real jerks in that population, just as there are also jerks sitting inside of local homes and businesses and city hall.