Kevin C Shinn

Kevin C Shinn

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Gun Violence

I had a parent message me to say that her daughters had told her that if there was ever a shooting in our school like there was in Florida, they hoped that they would be near me because they knew I would do everything I could to protect them. At first, I had a great sense of pride and honor that they trusted me so much. Then, reality set in and I had a wave of sadness wash over me that our kids and grandkids were having to even think about such things. I don't want my granddaughters to worry a moment about some nut with a gun coming into their school. Unfortunately, this is the reality of our nation today. It must change.

I am a gun owner. I am not a hunter but I own weapons for two reasons: protection and just because I like shooting them. I consider my weapons as tools. Nothing more and nothing less.

When it comes to the issue of gun violence, as with many issues in our country, the loudest voices are from the looney right-wing gun owners who believe any restrictions on who can own weapons or how they can be used is a step closer to our citizens losing their individual freedoms. Meanwhile, left-wing zealots have staked out the position that guns are THE problem and feel that if we could just get rid of them, our world would be safe. It makes for great political drama but results in terrible public policy. Policies that allow the routine massacre of innocent men, women and children to take place across our nation.

As I said, I believe weapons are simply tools. Whether for protection, sport or to get food for the family, there are legitimate purposes for their use. That said, if any other tool we used in America was responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of our citizens annually, the outrage would have forced immediate changes in design and usage. But when it comes to guns, all we can do is dig deeper into our entrenched positions and attack the other side for being out of touch with reality and in the meantime, thousands and thousands of our citizens will continue to lose their lives needlessly or will be horribly maimed and emotionally scarred.

Enough is enough. It is time that we treat this as a public health hazard and bring together the nation's experts to determine how we can stop this destructive cycle of violence. As they would say on Dragnet, just the facts should be used to determine the policies necessary to save lives and reduce carnage. Rhetoric and propaganda should have no role at the table for those searching for viable solutions.

Until we as a nation demand our elected leaders take such a position, the Grim Reaper will keep working overtime and innocent lives will pay the heavy price for policies based on ignorance and inaction.

We can do better.

We must do better.

Elections have consequences.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

A Family Kind of Thing

Four Generations of Shinn's on the Huntsville Fire Department

My earliest memories of the Huntsville Fire Department were of going with my father, Harry Shinn, down to the old fire station for their regular meetings.

To be honest, I remember little about what kind of training they did but I vividly remember crawling all over the fire trucks and dreaming about the days I could drag a hoseline into a fire.

I remember my mother getting me out of bed and taking me to the parking lot of the Jan Ran Motel across from the IGA as it burned ferociously through the night as our firefighters battled the flames without turnouts. Without airpacks. In freezing temperatures. My mother and the other wives were busy making the firefighters bologna sandwiches and coffee to keep them going.

I remember my uncle Gene Shinn coming to the table to get coffee with ice caked in his ears. I remember my father and Steve Spurlock dangerously dragging large acetylene bottles out of the garment factory in order to protect the other firefighters who didn't know they were in the structure.

I remember many things watching my dad and my uncles Gene and Earl and my cousin Randy risking themselves in order to serve others.

I remember how proud I was the first fire I worked on a nozzle battling the first fire at the Ridgeway Apartments as they were being constructed.

I remember years later, when I was a single father, raising my daughter Kristyn in and around the fire station.

Fast forward a hundred years later and I will always treasure the first time Kristyn joined me on the department.

As this report from KNWA points out, the Huntsville Fire Department is a family kind of thing.