I was proud of our state for rapidly passing the NY SAFE Act immediately after the bloodbath in Newton, Conn.
The banning of assault weapons and ammunition clips with more than seven rounds, the requiring of background checks for all gun purchases, which effectively closes the gun-show loophole, is a beginning.
And I had hoped that New York's law might stand as an example, as more and more in our country would see that angry young men and weapons of mass destruction are a lethal combination.
Gun regulation is long overdue in this country. Weapons capable of such ravaging force must be controlled, limited to the military, to law enforcement.
Ordinary folks have no need for them. And they make killing too easy -- as easy as an alienated young man can build a case against some helpless children and decide they must die.
I was as proud at the passage of the SAFE Act as I was stunned to hear that gun owners in our state rallied this spring to destroy the necessary permits required for their assault weapons.
If their semi-automatics are harmless in the right hands, as they claim, then surely they should be the first in line to sign up for registration setting the example for control, emphasizing their law-abiding use. The ability of these rapid-fire weapons to destroy all in their path has already been too tempting a solution to too many.
The weapon used in Newtown, for example, was a Bushmaster named after a deadly snake measuring lengths of 8-12 feet.
A lethal weapon named for a deadly snake belies the fiction that it's meant for a day in the country at the shooting range and friendly competition among friends.
So much diversion in our culture -- action films, video games, hockey and football -- are associated with violence and a simulation of death. For most of us, this does minimal harm, although I fail to see that it promotes comity.
The majority of us can tell the difference between imagination and reality. But then there is always one, such as the latest shooters in Las Vegas, who lack imagination. For them, there is no difference between a paper target and innocent lives.
If any good is to come of this massacre of innocents, it will be from restricting assault weapons and high-capacity magazines to their proper use and to those who must use them. The gun lobby, of course, represents gun sales. Much of their sophistry -- guns don't kill, people do; single women need one beside their bed; our Constitution guarantees the possession of instant and lethal force to every man, woman and child -- is belied by blunt reality.
A weapon in the house increases, not decreases, the chance of death.
Most importantly, our forbearers had absolutely no concept of the capability of weapons technology as we are now experiencing it; people do kill each other and an available weapon of mass destruction certainly accelerates the process.
When we remember Columbine, Virginia Tech, Newtown, Isla Vista, and those ripped and shattered dead, let us remember this: High capacity, rapid-fire assault weapons have no place except on a battlefield.
And know until we, as a nation, will act -- forbidding these weapons and their deadly fire for general use, for target shooting, for sport, for self-defense --we are guilty.
All of us.
Barbara DeMille lives in Rensselaerville.