Monday, December 24, 2012
This week I am yielding this space for my weekly blog to my wife, Barbara Renton. Here is a letter she sent to a local paper, which is unlikely to publish it: In the late 1950s, I was living with my children in Ann Arbor, Michigan. One day I walked out of the front of our house and was greeted by our next door neighbor. She said “Barbara, I feel so much safer now that Harold has gotten me a gun for when he is gone.” My immediate reply, aware of my young children and her baby and two year old daughter was “Marge, don’t have a gun around the house!” She became angry and went into her home. I was sorry that I had spoken so forcefully. Six months later, Marge, her nine month old baby and her two and a half year old daughter were shot by her husband. Harold then phoned the police, and told them what he had done. Two and a half months later, he committed suicide in prison. Previously, I had learned when I lived briefly in Texas that a police officer’s teenage son was killed because he had shown his friend his father’s gun, and his friend had shot him accidentally. At that time, I made the decision never to have a gun around the house. There have been a couple of times in our long marriage when I’ve gotten angry with my husband that I’ve wondered, if I kept a gun in the house would I use it? We’re both very thankful that I don’t own a gun. The Sandy Hook tragedy brings to light how imperative is the need for gun control. These tragedies happen every day. We cannot let more time pass. The time is now.