Twenty years ago, no one would have imagined an airplane, a train or a bar without cigarette smoke. Today, good luck finding a place to light up.
Society got fed up with cigarettes killing people. Non-smokers took back their workplaces, their juke joints and their airspace.
Twenty years go, it wasn't unusual for people to drink and drive over Christmas time, after just "having a few". People got arrested and thrown behind bars if they killed somebody, but mostly drinkers got away with their bad behavior.
Today, the drunk driver is villified. The lines are clogged at Operation Red Nose with people begging for a ride home. Cops are stopping people at 11 a.m. to make sure they aren't still drunk from the night before.
People still drink and smoke. But they have been made to see that when their past times intersect with the rest of society, they will lose.
It's called a paradigm shift.
So when I hear that the National Rifle Association is too powerful, that the American congress is to afraid of them to enact stronger gun laws, I say to myself that is utter nonsense.
I am not against gun ownership anymore than I'm for Prohibition.
I am not against smokers, either.
People should be allowed their free will.
But they should not be allowed to buy guns without extensive background checks. They should not be allowed to purchase assault rifles like the ones that took down 26 innocents in Newtown.
I would go further and say that people should be allowed guns only if they are locked in a facility where their children cannot get to them. I know that goes pretty far, but America is pretty pissed that a young man was able to grab his mom's guns, shoot her five times in the face and then take out a classroom full of children.
I saw a man on television today whose son killed two of his classmates and injured 15 others using his father's guns. The man implored folks to get rid of their gun collections so that he would not have to endure watching another mass shooting.
I'm with this man.
Most of those who commit mass shootings are young men, twenty somethings gripped with rage. They are not mentally ill. They are angry at the cards dealt to them. They can easily find access to weapons on the Internet -- that's a whole other conversation -- but they also have access to their parents' gun collections.
On Friday morning, a gun collector's life intersected with American society. She lost her own life.
Her son killed the hopes and dreams of 26 others.
She was not a criminal.
Every gun owner in the United States should look at themselves and their gun collections then ask themselves what they can do to make America safer.
Let's start the conversation there.
And let's do something else.
Let's do what Mothers Against Drinking and Driving did in North America.
Let's vow not let another mother lose their child to gun violence.
Maybe, finally, we can see a paradigm shift when it comes to guns.