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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014

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In Milwaukee Buzz Commentary

Dave Begel asks: "Guns on playgrounds? Really?" (PHOTO: shutterstock.com )

Playgrounds are no place for guns


The capacity of people to be stupid seems to be unlimited and once again, the gun fanatics seem to be leading the pack of rabid dogs that make you shake your head and duck for cover.

The following is not a joke.

A mother took her 3-year-old son to a park in Oconomowoc.The little boy played on all the good stuff there and then climbed up to go down the slide. Like a good mother, Kathy Miers kept her eyes on the boy. Then, what to her wondering eyes should appear, but a man, right next to her son. And on his hip a holster. And in the holster, a gun.

Kathy snapped a picture. She posted it online. Lots of people saw it. And then here's what happened next.

She got some telephone calls and "death threats." she said. The Oconomowoc police couldn't identify the man with the gun. And the obviously enlightened Oconomowoc Common Council rushed to amend its laws to make sure it was okay to carry a gun in a park as long as you had a permit.

I don't think I'm being unfair here when I ask the question: "What in the world are the members of the council smoking? It's got to be a very strong type of wacky weed. I mean, come on now. Guns on playgrounds? Really.

Back when I was on board the USS Locator we used to throw big bags of trash overboard and then stand on the fantail and fired .45s at the trash to see who could break the bags first. Not very environmentally sound, I know, but firing the gun was fun. Lots of fun. Sometimes we even pretended we were cowboys and the bags were Indians riding horses coming to scalp us.

The point is that shooting guns at targets can be a lot of fun. One day a bosun's mate named Aresco was reloading and he shot Jimmie Slade in the foot. Slade lost one of the toes on his right foot.

But, my lord almighty. Carrying a gun in a park. I mean, what's the point? If some marauder comes charging at you on the monkey bars are you going to blast him away? What about a masked man who picks up sand out of the sandbox and throws it your way? Or what if two 5-year-olds start fighting over a toy? Will you shoot one in order to keep the peace?

When Channel 12 ran a story about this they quoted a woman named Dawn McCormick who supported the Common Council. "I think it's great," she said. "You never know where danger is. I mean, it happens all the time. My husband is in the Air Force, and it happens on base." Kind of makes you wonder about the Air Force, doesn't it.

I realize that I'm tugging on Superman's cape and spitting into the wind here, but that doesn't mean I'm going to stop.

Guns are inherently dangerous. They shoot bullets that can really hurt you if you get hit. They can even kill you. There are a few things we don't need in this world. We don't need more guns. We don't need more people carrying guns around. And we sure as hell don't need guns on playgrounds in parks. And we certainly don't need more laws making sure that gun toters know it's okay to tote on a kids climbing wall or a swing set.

I know we are never going to outlaw guns. I know governments don't move backward. But someone has to take a stand somewhere.

Look at all the violence in Milwaukee right now. There are neighborhoods where parents won't let their kids play outside for fear of getting hit by a stray bullet or a not-so-stray bullet. And it's way too easy to say that it's the fault of the guy holding the gun, not the gun.

That's too easy to say. And I think it's a crock. Sure it's a bad guy and the bad guy has a gun. But the answer to making this a safer world is not more guns. It's to find a way to make the bad guy less bad. Or create a world where we might have fewer bad guys.

This whole story is another one of those that makes me believe that the inmates are truly running the asylum.


Talkbacks

crackerbat | May 27, 2014 at 3:19 p.m. (report)

Another article written for no other reason than to troll for comments.

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emills81 | May 23, 2014 at 12:46 p.m. (report)

You waste so much time talking about Oconomowoc, but yet to mention the 11 year old caught in-between a gun fight on the playground on 27th and FDL. If only there was a law banning guns on playgrounds that little girl would have never been shot (sarcastic look here). Are you more worried about the threat of an accident in Waukesha county then the actual genocide thats happening in your own back yard? Seems hypocritical to me, just to back your political view point.

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