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Stray Bullets

I find the air a bit crisper, as I pen my article this month. Fall cannot be too far away. I hope you Buzz enthusiast find this season as appealing as this writer does. All around me, signs of autumn abound. Many tobacco fields have been harvested, and most of the corn crop has been gathered in. Cotton fields are turning into a sea of white. Soybeans are shedding their leaves and a goodly portion of sweet potatoes has already been dug. The trees are in the process of becoming a tapestry beyond my capacity to adequately describe.

October is, also, a very busy month. There are countless fire department suppers, homecomings and church bazaars, fall festivals, Friday night football, and of course both the Wayne Regional and the N. C. State Fair. But even amid all of this activity and excitement, I am deeply troubled by the rash of shootings recently occurring in our area. Am I the only one alarmed by this spike in such needless cowardly acts of violence? I scarcely expect that I stand alone in this perspective. Until recently, it never entered my mind that the corner of Royal and Spence Avenues would be the scene of such a random shooting. I don’t have all of the answers and certainly do not claim to know exactly what the answer is. But, I do know this for sure. Something has got to change and the sooner the better. A stray bullet is not very particular in regard to where or whom it strikes.

The problem, as I see it, is not about gun ownership or the right to bear arms. These are freedoms, we as Americans, are provided for by the constitution of this great nation and the extraordinary foresight of our founding fathers that framed this document. We, the citizens of Wayne County, should be able to use our legally purchased and registered firearms for hunting, recreational purposes, and as a means of protecting our family, our property, and our possessions. Still others choose to collect guns for a hobby and their historical value. Any non- felon, meeting the legal requirements of this state, should be able to own a gun if they so desire.

Qualifying to own a gun, being properly trained in handling it, and having the good judgment as to when and where it should be fired is an entirely different matter. Wielding a loaded weapon gives many people a sense of false security. Guns are too often shot, when open, effective dialect and a goodly portion of patience and common sense would better serve their purpose. A bullet, once launched, cannot be retrieved. Unfortunately, many supposedly unloaded guns have proved to be deadly. A firearm is a valuable asset when handled properly and a deadly weapon when proper usage is abused. Too many people shoot first and unfortunately ask questions later.

Perhaps I have ruffled some feathers with my comments. I don’t mind that, in some capacity, if it helps one troubled soul. At least my stray words will only burn and annoy for a short period. Until we next meet, let’s all try to think what we can do to make Wayne County a safer place, and as always, be of good cheer.

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