DEVIL MOUNTAIN CHRONICLES: School Shootings

One of the surviving victims of a recent Kentucky high school shooting is one of our own. Jeff and Cory Dysinger were residents of Pagosa Springs for years and many Pagosans were shocked by the news that their precious daughter Hannah was a part of that tragedy. Young Hannah was shot in the chest by one of her fifteen year old classmates at Marshall County High School.

Jeff wrote: “According to the surgeon, the bullet recovered was possibly a .45 Caliber round.” But all we know at this time is that the weapon used to kill two innocent kids was a hand gun.

The Dysinger family, from left: Cory, Hannah, Jeff. Photo courtesy Art/Tennessean.

One of the 15 year old victims, Baily Holt, somehow cell phoned her mom after being shot. Unfortunately, that was probably her last act in this world…

But I’m happy to say that Hannah is recovering nicely at home in Marshall County, Kentucky. I’m afraid this tragic event will scar her – and her loving family – for life.

I know Jeff and his wife through our music, and I have to say that I’m heartbroken that this nightmare was visited upon this wonderful family. I wish them all the best.

Pagosa Springs High School teacher Bob Hemenger told me that he had known Hannah and that his students were shocked and saddened by the news. The question has arisen: Could this kind of senseless violence happen here in our cozy little town? Most people I’ve talked with think that it’s quite possible.

But gun proponents always insist that now – right after another senseless slaughter – is not the time to have a serious discussion on gun control. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families” is all they say. That worn out cliché has become repetitious and meaningless. They say this is a time of mourning; no time for talk of such silliness as gun control. The Kentucky tragedy is the eleventh mass shooting in the first 23 days of 2018. There is no “period” of mourning anymore – we are in perpetual mourning!

Angry ‘Second Amenders’ want silence after one of these horrific shootings. “Just shut up and mourn the dead.” That silence speaks volumes – and the softer one speaks the more complicit one is to this never ending cycle of murder. They say that “now is not the time” knowing perfectly well that most people will calm down and get back to the business of life, and become apathetic to what has become the norm. Not to mention that the sheer numbers of mass murders involving firearms – an average of one a week – has made us numb and complacent.

Get off your ass, Congress… do what is right for the country. Stop kowtowing to the gun lobby. How many more innocent children must die before there’s legislative action?

If sensible gun control advocates do nothing, then we are not part of the solution but part of the problem. Kentucky Republican Governor Matt Bevin says that what we have is “a cultural problem.” Implying that we do not have a gun problem, but one related to “moral decay.” Moral decay? My friends, it is immoral to (once again) do nothing. And like most gun nuts, manufacturers and politicians in bed with the NRA, the answer is that we have too many “deranged people” in this country, that guns have absolutely nothing to do with the problem. They are, in fact, claiming not guilty by reason of insanity.

“Guns don’t kill people; crazy people kill people.”

There’s no doubt that this country is full of unbalanced citizens and they need help, but every country in the world has its share of lunatics and they don’t have this problem. We are the only country that gives our people easy access to deadly weaponry that can kill dozens of unsuspecting victims in minutes, i.e. the Shady Hook Massacre.

“We’ve got guns and we’re open for business.”

There are over 300 million guns in the United States. “Hey! Second Amendment.” No other country in the world believes that this modus operandi is rational and of sound mind. Where do you think the Mexican drug cartels get their high-powered weapons? Some restrictions concerning so called “gun shows” are so full of loopholes that you could drive an armored assault vehicle through them. “Assault vehicles don’t kill people; people kill people.”

If crazy people are the reason for all the gun violence, then why does the gun lobby oppose more stringent background checks? (Case in point: the Las Vegas mass murderer.) I believe that the NRA opposes gun restrictions because of the slippery slope to outlaw all guns; and the gun manufacturers believe that restrictions will hurt their ridiculously hefty profits. They really don’t care about people like Hannah Dysinger, do they?

When I was in Army Basic Training in 1969 I loved shooting my M14. But if you called your M14 a gun, a Drill Sergeant would punish you by making you run in circles yelling “This my rifle, this is my gun, this is for shooting, this is for fun.” They made a great impression on me that a military style assault rifle was not a gun. Today we have to differentiate – constitutionally – between a one-shot musket and a fully automatic AR style assault rifle with large capacity clips capable of firing over 100 rounds per minute. Even set on semi-automatic, an AK 47 can fire 40 rounds a minute – 40 times faster than a musket.

Now is the time to talk about sensible gun control.

Outlaw military style assault weapons and large capacity clips! But keep most hunting rifles and hand guns legal as a part of the Second Amendment. Believe me, the founders did not envision future generations strolling down the street carrying high-powered, semi-automatic weapons designed for the military.

Lock up your guns and teach your children well; and let’s require more extensive background checks.

And if crazy Uncle Charlie keeps on talking about blowing away that liberal writer in the Pagosa Daily Post, for heaven’s sake: Get that man some psychological help – immediately!

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DC Duncan

DC has been a frustrated musician for over forty years, and now has decided to become a frustrated writer. Learn more at DCDuncan.com. He’ll keep you posted.