2013 is upon us. According to the Mayan calendar, this year wasn't even supposed to happen. So, the way I see it, we've received a gift, a present, time to spend as we wish and even, dare I say, as we should.
I'm one who is always looking for clues and connections in the universe, little breadcrumbs that I can follow between the double helices of our DNA to spiral galaxies and back. And this is the 13th year of the millennium and coincidentally the 13th letter of the alphabet is the letter "M" which stands for "moving forward."
Unfortunately, "M" is also for "mass shootings." Our Constitution surely establishes a right to bear arms, but I doubt that our founding mothers and fathers could have imagined a Newtown, Connecticut, or an Aurora theater shooting. How could they? In 1791, a gunsmith made guns and if you wanted one you needed to order it and wait, and wait and wait. When you finally picked up the gun from the gunsmith, you would load it through a muzzle, fire it with a flintlock (in dry conditions), and you would get one shot, making the ox a more deadly weapon for mass killing. Nowadays, "M" is for "machine gun."
The guns then would have had rudimentary rifling, which would have made them less accurate than my son's nerf gun. (I should say his former nerf gun, we have voluntarily surrendered all firearms in the McAbee household, "M" is for "memorial"). Before burglars get all excited about my unprotected house, I should reveal that our home is protected by a security system that through technology available in 2013 ("M" is for "miracle") is connected to the police. "M" is for "well regulated Militia." This militia, the police, if you didn't know, consists of brave and capable young men and women who are skilled in the use of firearms and paid to protect ordinary citizens like us. I understand that they can arrive at my house in less than five minutes if an alarm is tripped or a phone call made. This is an acceptable level of protection in my opinion. I'm grateful for it.
On the other hand, there are many out there who want to volunteer for the militia. They have a concealed-carry permit. They claim to make the world safer by carrying their gun around. But the volunteer militia in Connecticut and Aurora failed to protect the public. Where were you when we needed you? "M" is for "make a move." With such a horrible record of protecting the public as compared to policemen, I move that we disband the amateur militia and request that all firearms be surrendered for storage at your local police station or army base.
"M" is also for "meme." If you are not familiar with this term, a meme is an idea, behavior or style that spreads between people within a culture. From the root of this word we get the words "mime" and "mimick." It's akin to model in the sense that we learn from others by watching their behavior. In 2013, we can model acceptable behavior and show some true strength of spirit by demanding a plan. "M" is for "Mettle."
In 2013 we can use the tragedies of 2012 to make America a better place. "M" is for "momentum." We can and should get rid of these horrible weapons that make events like Aurora and Newtown possible. "M" is for "mourning" and "madness." Please, for the sake of us all. "M" is for "mankind."
Jeff McAbee is a former Summit County resident now living on the Front Range. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Jeff_McAbee.