Guest Column: Shattered innocence

Column by Hank Berkowitz
Special to The Newnan Times-Herald
Are you happy, America? Did you get what you wanted when 20 first-graders and six school teachers were slaughtered by another deranged gunman who had access to assault weapons?
For all who are still wearing aluminum foil hats in answer to idiotic conspiracy theories, this is the modern world we have created. In this reality we sacrifice the innocent for the sake of the National Rifle Association.
I am a Marine who served two tours in that great vacationland of Vietnam. I served with those ground-pounding infantrymen we called “the Grunts.” Assault weapons were meant for battlefields and the Grunts used those M-16s and M-14s as they were intended ... to make war! Killing was their daily business, and they gave as much as they suffered in casualties.
War is that condition which makes men walk the tightrope of sanity over the abyss of irrationality. It is fighting, and killing and dying and when the shattering silence envelops them at the end of their battles, they get to pick up the pieces of bodies that war has shattered.
When I heard of the Newtown massacre, I wondered why no wounded. On a typical combat action we usually had three times as many wounded as dead. But this deranged human used his assault rifle, with 30-round magazines, to finish off each child and adult with multiple shots. Back in Vietnam I remember our Marine graves registration teams making a decision whether someone stateside could view a body or, if blown or shot apart, whether a closed casket was recommended.
We want you to know what assault weapons do to the human body. They are not clean entry wounds. Usually the bullet turns as it enters the body, creating massive internal damage, or horrendous holes 6 and 8 inches wide upon exiting. Blood, gore, intestines, and bones are exposed upon a blast of three to five rounds from an assault weapon. You can shoot off arms and legs and even heads because automatic weapons are the ideal for separating human tissue from bone.

Assault weapons belong on battlefields not on the streets of America.

The National Rifle Association is just another special interest group willing to sacrifice innocent life for their own self interest. Rest assured, hunters, no one is after your hunting rifles, but if you can’t kill a deer with a three-shot magazine, don’t call yourself a hunter.

One of the infamous leaders of the NRA, Charleston Heston, once said they would have to pry his rifle out of his cold dead hands rather than his giving it up.

The Newtown investigation has revealed that the gunman entered one classroom with 15 young children and one teacher. Only one child survived by playing dead. Assault weapons did as they were intended that fateful day.

And now those parents are left with selecting coffins for 20 young children and six adults who didn’t have a choice when it came to assault weapons.

Are we happy, America?


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