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Sharon Nesbit wrote this column in 2009 after four Lakewood, Wash., police officers were shot and killed in a coffee shop. 

NESBITMy heart just hurts.

It has been an especially bloody run-up to the Season of Comfort and Joy.

Six local women and some of their children are dead in domestic murder-suicides. Four police officers gunned down over coffee.

Children left without parents. Families shattered. And the pain reaches out to areas we can't know, circles in a pond where you have dropped a rock. Or a bullet.

And how do we calculate the cost? The dead police officers in Lakewood, Wash., had a total of nine children to be raised and educated and, because they lost a parent, carefully nurtured. What will they need to keep them from turning into nut cases because a nut case killed a mom or dad?

And if the killer of your parent is your other parent, how does that affect you growing up? Are you more fragile? Or are you tougher?

How do we count that cost?

But every time we talk about gun control in this country, the gun lobby — pretty much the same folks who worry about cost — come out screaming slogans about the right to bear arms.

No one listens to me about gun control. It's just too big an issue, too fraught with macho and wrapped in militia patriotism to fly.

But I had this thought. What if we took the guns away from everyone who has a — what's the word for a family paper? — OK, a zucchini. The shooters in recent tragedies have all been male. What if only mamas could pack a pistol? How different would the world be?

Right off the top of my head, I think of all the manics who fire weapons in the air at celebrations. What if we disarmed every human with a zucchini in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan?

And if we got them to put down their arms, we would put down ours. Then the Marines could build schools in those countries. Women would be educated and things would begin to change.

In this country, would a woman with a gun be likely to dispatch her mate when he filed for divorce? How often do women go berserk with weapons? Funny, you should ask. Department of Justice figures (1976 to 2005) show that 91.3 percent of gun homicides were committed by men, and only 8.7 by women. Think of what that would do to our crime statistics.

So then I got to wondering if anybody else has ever thought of this. And indeed, at least one person has. Randy Cohen writing for the New York Times suggested in June that instead of restricting guns — a notion that makes the National Rifle Association cranky — we forbid men to walk the streets with weapons and arm all women.

Here in the West, of course, we will have issues with hunters. But I talked this over with the hunter I sit next to, and he said he'd be OK with getting his guns back two weeks before hunting season.

That seems reasonable. Somewhere, in all this horror, there has to be reason. Because the pain is just too awful.

Reporter Sharon Nesbit can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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