Everybody has heard the statistics so many times, I don’t know if it makes a difference to repeat them – so just a couple for context:
- it is the 312th day of 2018, and the U.S. has had 307 mass shootings (defined as four or more victims injured or killed)
- more Americans have died in mass shootings in the last two weeks, than the number of American soldiers who have died in active war zones in the entire year so far
The statistics go on and on, and every time there is a mass shooting, they just grow and grow.
We are living in a war zone, because Americans have easy access to high-capacity, high-velocity firearms. We have had bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in the past – why, when this situation is becoming exponentially worse, can we not have that now?
The rates of mental health problems, video game consumption, and violent crime in the U.S. are similar to the same rates in other high-income nations. Across all significant statistics, the U.S. is in line with other countries like Great Britain, Japan, Sweden, Brazil, etc. – yet mass murder is an almost uniquely American problem.
What’s different? Easier access for U. S. civilians to weapons of war.
There is no reason that a normal citizen needs to have a high-velocity semi-automatic rifle or handgun, that fires ten or more rounds in a matter of seconds. Magazines that hold 10, 15, 30 or more rounds of ammunition – these are not made for target practice, or for hunting deer. These weapons are designed for one thing, acquiring and killing multiple targets in the shortest possible time.
The Second Amendment says we have a right to bear arms – fine, but when the Second Amendment was written, the most effective firearm was a muzzleloader that could fire two or three shots per minute, used by a trained soldier. Modern semi-automatic weapons with high-capacity magazines can easily fire from fifty to a hundred shots per minute, only limited by how fast the shooter can pull the trigger, and how fast they can change magazines.
Twenty children – six- and seven-years old – were murdered this way at Sandy Hook. Four hundred and eighty-one people were shot, and fifty-nine killed in Las Vegas. Last week, four children lost their 97 year-old grandmother/great-grandmother in the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting. Eleven dead last night, including a brave officer who ran toward the gunfire and saved lives, while losing his.
Politicians will once again tweet about “thoughts and prayers” and say it’s not the right time to talk about gun control. If the day after a mass shooting isn’t the time to talk about gun control – there’s never going to be a day that we can, because now they are happening every day. The large majority of American people want gun control legislation – that has been proven over and over by multiple studies and surveys.
I think that every politician who accepts money from the NRA, and obstructs real, rational gun control – every one of them – should be made to spend an hour with the parents of a murdered child, or the children of a murdered police officer – or better yet, to visit the scene of a mass-fatality shooting, and help the first responders clean up bodies and interview survivors.
I am a responsible gun owner, I am a patriot, I believe in and value our Constitution – I am many of those things that the folks who cling to their assault weapons claim to be. The closest I have come in my life to losing my life, was at the wrong end of a foolishly-handled AR-15 (another story for another time). I have first-responders in my family. I don’t come at any of this from a position of know-nothingness. All that being said, I can’t imagine the pain that the thousands of people in the hundreds of families that have lost somebody to a mass shooting feel, knowing that their loved ones were senselessly murdered, and our society and government have stood by and done nothing.
If you are one of the politicians who are ignoring this problem – you need to stop deflecting, stop minimizing, stop making excuses, and actually do something. We the people (again, the large majority of us) want gun control legislation – stop being blinded by easy dollars, from organizations who couldn’t care less about a few more dead Americans.