What if They Come Gunning for You? – REDUX
Sadly, this post from December bears repeating . . .
I cannot think of a single reason why a civilian needs a semi-automatic rifle. They are killing machines plain and simple as we just witnessed in the massacre in Orlando. If you claim that you need it for hunting, then I would suggest you take up fishing because you’re apparently a miserable shot.
We’re talking about the need for common sense gun laws, not stripping the rights of every citizen to have a gun.
There’s a huge difference.
Someone tried to make the point on Facebook yesterday that even if semi-automatic weapons were banned, terrorists, whether domestic or foreign, could always use a slow cooker bomb. Um, yes, that’s true, but why is it, do you suppose that most of the killings are done with automatic weapons?
Because it’s so much more efficient and effective to use an automatic weapon.
Why should we give them a means of being more efficient slaughterers? Why does Congress block all attempts at installing background checks when the vast majority of the citizens they represent are clamoring for them?
Use your voices. Call your representatives and demand a change today.
I’m spitting mad, disgusted, and ready to take action.
Because it happened again.
Yet another senseless shooting occurred, this time in San Bernardino, CA.
But, you know what? The city or even state really doesn’t make a difference. Massachusetts, Colorado, Connecticut, Virginia, Oregon, California and even right here in Illinois; random shootings are occurring everywhere.
Take a look at this map.
It indicates the mass shootings that have occurred since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. You do remember that particular shooting, don’t you? It was the shooting we all vowed we’d never forget. It occurred on December 14th 2012, only three short years ago, although it seems a lifetime ago. There have been so many shootings since then that it’s hard to keep them all straight.
At the time that Sandy Hook occurred, most reasonable folks here recognized the tragic consequences of ineffective gun laws. Twenty young children and six adults were murdered by a gunman in a school.
The news was abuzz with grizzly details for days. And the nation wept. And we all held up our right hands and promised to make changes to gun laws so similar tragedies couldn’t and wouldn’t take place again. In reality though, we mostly just blotted our tears and went back to business as usual. Well, that “business as usual” strategy has allowed 1,312 people to be killed since Sandy Hook in mass shootings, and 3,764 more to be wounded.
Here’s the Washington Post’s headline on the California shooting that occurred yesterday.
“The San Bernardino shooting is the second mass shooting today and the 355th this year”
I’ll bet you didn’t even realize that there was a shooting in Georgia earlier in the day, did you? And do you know why? Because it was really, super trivial . . . in our country at least. I mean, the definition of a “mass shooting” is when a minimum of four people are shot. In this case down south, only one person was killed and four wounded. That’s not even worth mentioning, really, is it? Not here, anyway. Not in ‘Murica. We’re used to much more carnage than that.
Take a gander at that headline above one more time. This year we’ve already had more mass shootings than days of the year. Why do we accept that when there are things we can demand be done to change it?
And here’s the headline found in BBC News on the San Bernardino shooting yesterday.
“Just Another Day in the United States of America”
Is that really how we want the world to view our country?
It makes me cringe just thinking about it.
In addition to suffering through the endless heartache of constant gun deaths, we’re now also the punchline of the free world.
As Gabby Giffords, the congresswoman who was gunned down during a political speech in 2011, so eloquently puts it,
We wish we could use words like ‘unimaginable’ and ‘unthinkable’ to describe the horror that unfolded today in San Bernardino. But it is not. Not in our country.
As a country and a people, we must reckon with the fact that these types of gun tragedies simply don’t happen as often in other countries. Other countries have evil people. Other countries have violent people. But our country stands nearly alone in the rate of people murdered with guns.
America is an extraordinary place. But these tragedies make us stand out in the worst of ways.
This is not the America we strive for. We have to do better. And we can.
She’s right. Other countries, our contemporaries like Great Britain and Australia, have suffered from gun tragedies in the past, certainly not at the level that we have, but, they’ve suffered nonetheless. Unlike us, they’ve learned from these tragedies. They’ve modified their gun laws and have seen the number of gun deaths in their countries plummet as a result.
Universities, theaters, churches, elementary school classrooms, you name it. No location in the US seems to be exempt. No gathering holy enough to remain untouchable. Lest we forget, nine African American church members were shot down in the middle of a bible study just a few months ago.
But gun deaths go way beyond just the mass shootings. Those are just the deaths that get the most press coverage. The ones that terrify us. Each and every day, 89 people die in our country from gun deaths.
Let me repeat that. Nearly 90 people die EVERY SINGLE DAY here in our country from guns.
According to Vox.com,
The US makes up about 4.4 percent of the global population, but owns 42 percent of the world’s civilian-owned guns. And the empirical research shows places with more guns have more homicides.
Simply put: More guns = More gun deaths.
Now, take a look at this chart.
The statistics speak for themselves. No other civilized country has a firearm-related homicide rate anywhere near as high as ours, and yet some of us continue to tell ourselves that there is no problem?
Some say that people need more guns, but we’ve tried that and it hasn’t worked. We repealed the Brady bill, and the number of mass shootings skyrocketed. The Supreme Court enfranchised the second amendment, setting a dangerous precedent that neither the federal nor state governments can regulate guns, and we’re now reaping what we’ve sown. Too many people have died, too many innocent victims have been mourned across the country and it needs to stop.
Some say that gun regulations only take guns out of the hands of responsible gun owners and put them in the hands of criminals. Truly responsible gun owners, however, will not object to proving their worthiness to own a gun. The text of the Second Amendment tells us that Congress will make no law infringing on the rights of citizens to bear arms in a well-regulated militia. Even the Second Amendment specifies that regulation is an important part of gun ownership – note that it does not say that any wacko with a credit card should be able to waltz into WalMart, buy an assault rifle and a box of ammo, and shoot up an elementary school. Once responsible gun owners earn the trust of their communities by taking these perfectly reasonable steps, then we can step in and begin getting the illegal guns off the streets, and arresting the people who have shown themselves to be loose cannons who cannot be trusted with a deadly weapon.
I’m tired of hearing folks merely sending their thoughts and prayers to victims’ families.
As President Obama said, offering our condolences and prayers is not enough.
It’s beyond time to take action.
We don’t yet know what the motives of shooters are, but what we do know is that there are steps we can take to make America safer. We should come together in a bipartisan basis at every level of government to make these (mass shootings) rare as opposed to normal. We should never think that this is something that just happens in the ordinary course of events because it does not happen with the same frequency in other countries.
We need waiting periods, background checks, mental health screenings, certification to show that the gun owner can handle the responsibility of a deadly weapon, as well as recertification to prove it over and over again. We need to get military grade machine guns off the streets, to limit the amount of ammunition someone can purchase and store, and to stop only talking about mental illness when it provides a convenient scapegoat for angry U.S. citizens who kill innocent people simply because those people look, talk, pray, love, or hold different beliefs than they do.
Here’s a study illustrating that 93% of U.S. registered voters polled, Democrats and Republicans alike, support background checks for all gun buyers, yet you would never know it based on the voting records of the politicians who are supposed to be representing us.
Our Congress is owned by the NRA.
If we abstain from voting, or vote for congressional candidates who don’t support modified gun laws, we need to realize and accept that we, through our votes or lack thereof, are also culpable for each and every gun death that occurs.
We are culpable for 90 US citizens being shot each and every day.
What is it going to take to make people demand a change?
What if these shooters come gunning for you or yours? Would that finally make you act?
Write to your congressperson and tell them that you’ve had enough: that modified gun laws have to be put in place. Period. Let them know that if they vote against modified gun laws, you, in turn, will vote against them.
If you don’t want to write to your reps, then simply give them a call. If you live in Illinois, call 1-888-997-4866 and demand that your representative expand Brady background checks to all gun sales now. I just did it, and I have to say that it was extremely cathartic to leave a very loud, demanding message for Senator Kirk.
Placing a phone call is not a lot to ask. One phone call is not going to immediately solve our deadly serious gun problem, but it’s a start. And if we, each of us, took the time to place a call and then put our votes behind our words, change will have to eventually occur.
I don’t know about you, but I’m sick to death of the murderous cycle in which we find ourselves forever spinning.