Thursday, June 25, 2009

Parkersburg Iowa

My father and his sisters grew up in Parkersburg, a place I visited many times as a child. Last year as my father's sister, my Aunt Mildred, was scheduled for her annual visit from Arizona to Iowa, Parkersburg was swept by a terrible tornado.

Aunt Mildred, along with her sister, Edene, from Michigan, are in Iowa again this week. This time they are welcomed home by a brutal and heartbreaking murder in their home town. They are scheduled to attend an all school reunion on Saturday.

My mother met my father when she was teaching in Parkersburg and my father, obviously younger than she, was her brightest student. He fell in love with her and pursued her for years until she finally agreed to marry him. My connections to Parkserburg are, therefore, somewhat stronger than to other towns in Iowa, except Odebolt, where I grew up.

When will we realize that allowing open and unregulated access to guns does result in violent deaths? Maybe they would happen anyway, but we don't know that. To save even one life would, it seems to me, make sensible gun laws essential. This gunman was not a militia (as the amendment envisions). This gunman was a mental case. Why did he have access to a gun?

I grieve for Parkersburg, and for all its residents, friends and graduates.

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