Dorothy Parker Mysteries
It Seems to Me. . . . was the bylineof Heywood Broun’s column in The World.

Today the church bells rang out across the nation.  Twenty-six times. . . .

Charlotte DING. . . . Rachel DONG. . . . Daniel DING. . . . Olivia DONG. . . . Josephine DING. . . . Ana DONG. . . .

When I was six there was a child murderer on the loose in Queens.  A little girl’s body was found in the woods not far from my home.  Mama and Papa did what all parents have to do.  They told me not to talk to strangers, not to accept candy from anyone, and never, ever to get into anyone’s automobile, especially if I was told they came to take me to my mother, because she would never send a stranger to get me.  When my children were little, like all parents, my most pressing worry was for their safety.  Even now that they are in their thirties, it still is.  But when they were small and vulnerable I feared they could be kidnapped, abused and murdered at the hands of a predator.  It was compelling enough for my husband and I to keep a constant vigil over them throughout the day, at the playground, on the way to and from school, and all the other possible routes towards their capture and violent end.  Etan Patz had gone missing the year of my son’s birth, on his first walk alone to school.  The news coverage showed the photo of the smiling little boy, and the camera shots of his parents—pale, ravaged by the ordeal of losing their child—hit home in a big way.  There but for the grace of God . . . .

Madeleine DING. . . . Dylan DONG. . . . Dawn DING. . . . Catherine DONG. . . .

Even when they were in their teens, the fear never left me.  A handsome son, a nubile and beautiful daughter. . . . My kids heard a constant warning: “Never leave the curb or lean into a car to give directions.”  “If an adult asks for help in finding a lost puppy,  or in carrying package from the trunk of a car run for home and . . . ” All parents know the drill they repeat over and over again.

And then there were drugs: “Don’t ever leave the party with boys who’ve been drinking.” “Never leave your soda cup unattended.”  “Don’t get in the car!!!  Call me to pick you up; no questions asked.”  “Never leave the party/concert/alone!”  They’d look at you like you didn’t trust them when you insisted on telephoning the parents of the kids who were having the party to make sure they were going to be chaperoning.   “Hate me,” I’d tell them, “I’m doing it for your own good!”  Angel dust and meth, were the big enemies.   My prayers were full of “Please, Lord, keep my children safe from harm, from the fiends and the drug pushers who might ravish, kill or maim them!”

Chase DING. . . . Jesse DONG. . . . James DING. . . . Grace DONG. . . . Anne DING. . . . Emilie DONG. . . .

Never did I ever entertain the possibility of including in those prayers “. . . and keep them safe from mad gunmen in their classroom!”

Such is the world we live in today.  Such is the nightmare of parents today!  All those beautiful children!

Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard it a million times:  Guns don’t kill people; people with guns kill people.  Right, sure.  Mentally ill people with guns, too.  What kind of a world do we live in that citizens feel the need to be armed with military/police enforcement-style weapons?  When people accumulate arsenals of assault weapons, it begs the question, WHY?  How many weapons do you need to kill a criminal who enters your home?  You’ve only got two hands, Bozo.  How many six-shooters can you handle at one time, cowboy?  Logic begs, who needs so many guns and high-capacity magazines to stop a burglar?

Scenario:  Bumps in the night.  The house is dark.  Husband turns to his wife:

“Whaddaya think, should I use the Glock or the Bushmaster?  Let’s see—“

“Here’s an extra clip, sweetie.  Oh, I hope they don’t take the Thomas Kincaid or the Keurig. . . .”

“Hand me the mini 14, will you; in the bedside table, honey . . . . Wait—”

“They’re on the stairs, Bill!  I hear them coming up the stairs!”

“The AK 47!  Armor piercing bullets, just to be safe!”

“Bill . . . .”

“Shush!  They’ll hear us.”

“No, Bill.”

“Out of the way, woman!  This is a man’s job!”

“Yes, but—“

A scratching on the bedroom door.

“Why, it’s just the cat, Bill.  It’s just Snookums.”

Jack DING. . . . Noah DONG. . . . Caroline DING. . . . Jessica DONG. . . . Avielle DING. . . . Lauren DONG. . . .

Survivalists enjoy the fantasy of imminent governmental attack.  They are at the ready.  Perhaps someday they will be lucky enough to get their eager, dirty little hands on rocket launchers and drones to protect their neck of the backwoods.  The hunter who uses an assault weapon to fell a deer isn’t very sportsmanlike.  Those are the boys who hunt with their headlights on to blind the poor creatures before blasting them.  That’s not hunting, that’s an ambush!  And considering the numerous self-inflicted gunshot wounds and accidental hunter killings every year it’s no coincidence that the NRA offers free death or dismemberment insurance as a membership incentive to join their organization.  From all I’ve just considered, it appears that outside of law enforcement, there are a lot of irresponsible trigger-happy morons walking around with guns.  Everybody duck!

I don’t want to hear the lame argument that says a murderer who can’t get hold of a gun to do the deed will find some other diabolical weapon.  Let’s not give the crazies the easy choice.  The numbers have it that there are more than 300 million guns in the United States.  One for every man, woman and child.  Nice.  And the cry that it’s the mentally ill who do these evil acts, well, yes, you’ve got to be a sick person to believe you can ease your own pain and anger by inflicting pain and death on your fellow man.  Is that news?  Killers can’t be stopped simply by seeing a doctor.  You see, after last Friday’s massacre of children in Connecticut, I am perplexed that a woman with a mentally ill son (whom she had claimed was getting worse) would risk having even one gun in her home.  She played a big role in the tragedy last week.  So all gun owners, no matter how well meaning, have the potential to cause tragedies.

Whatever the arguments, whatever the interest of NRA leaders and the cow-towing congressmen who support their dangerous agenda (fearing that if they don’t, they will not win re-election in their gun-totin’ districts), it’s time to let reason win out.  Our leaders have the power to take control, to take the guns out of the hands of irresponsible characters and dangerous criminals.  If helping to protect our police from armor piercing bullets isn’t a strong enough reason, how about protecting our children?  Putting armed guards in our schools is not the solution.  I know that we can’t stop all of the crazies.  But we don’t have to put guns and ammunition in their hands, either.

Mary DING. . . . Victoria DONG. . . . Benjamin DING. . . . Allison DONG. . . .

Until next time,