Mark Owen writes

The family that shoots together may not always stay together . . .

The Yanks sure know how to have fun. There's Disneyland and there's the Comedy Store and there's Thanksgiving with those comical turkeys and the Presidential Pardon of two of them.

And not all the fun comes via the creatures of Disneyland nor the turkeys lining up for the Presidential pat on the head. There are many human funsters. Those larger-than-life figures like Ann Coulter and Sarah Palin often raise a chuckle. I think they are mildly funny although I'm sure they wouldn't agree and it wouldn't I think be so funny if they ever got to run the USA. I don't think Ann has such aspirations but Sarah might.

And then there is Glen Beck.  Uproariously funny. And so serious, too - as befits a self-appointed prophet of GOD. (All such prophets are, without exception, self-appointed). Yes, a happy bunch, many of them. No wonder Mr Jon Stewart loves them so.

And I suspect most of the funsters would happily support the aims of a peculiar institution I came across quite recently; I'm sure Sarah Palin would; after all, I guess she made sure Bristol learnt to handle a gun at an early age.

The Family Shooting Center is located in Cherry Creek State Park, Colorado. I sure hope I have that name right. My eyesight isn't so good these days and newsprint is not always easy to read but a check assured me that I had it, well, if I can use the term - dead right.  Yes, folks, the family shooting center, which has figured in a recent shocking news item.

Apparently the Family Shooting Centre is the place where the family that shoots together stays together. As we often say Down Under - 'Only in America.' (with apologies to the non-USA part of America - I must admit is flows much better to say 'America' than 'USA')

Well, part of one family didn't stay together at all - 29-year-old twins, two women who happen to have come from Down Under. But let's not dwell on their sad story. I'm not blaming the Family Shooting Center nor even guns for their choice. I believe in the inalienable right of anyone to take his or her own life. Suicide is only a 'sin' in the eyes of those who pretend to pronounce moral law for mankind in the name of some non-existent deity.

But I do find it an alarming thought that families would take (one presume they do) their young children to such a place, to learn how to use the horrid weapons of death. Isn't this the country where vast efforts are made by many to defend the rights of that speck of life known as a fetus?  Yet every day on the streets and in the homes of this great nation scores of people are being gunned down. I wonder how many of the gun-toting killers got their start as children attending a 'family shooting center'? Are there other centers like this?

According to a 1998 study by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the USA topped the list of world countries in the number of gun-related deaths per 100,000 people. Another survey reported 80 gun deaths per day in 1999. All, of course, with the sanction of the Supreme Court, guardians of liberty and of that much-cherished Second Amendment. So be it - Americans obviously love their guns, or a majority of Americans do, and if the price of liberty is the freedom to whip out a gun and shoot dead a fellow human (too often over some very trivial offence) then I'm glad my country doesn't have such a law.

From Tracts For Our Times - Mark Owen, 2008 -

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