Archive for Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Opinion: How many more have to die?

February 20, 2018

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Guns don’t kill people; people do. We’ve heard it time and again, usually after some horrific shooting like the one that occurred Wednesday in a Florida high school, which left 17 people who had been about to leave school on Valentine’s Day dead. Of course, a person pulled the trigger, allegedly, a 19-year-old who had been expelled from the school. But without an AR-15 at his disposal, a deranged young man would most likely not be able to wreak the kind of carnage we saw here. The Second Amendment was not meant to put such lethal weapons in the hands of individuals intent on killing their fellow citizens — and it’s time we quit pretending otherwise.

I own guns. As someone who has often lived in remote places, far away from police in an emergency, I appreciate the right to be able to protect myself. But I am also willing to accept that my right does not extend to amassing an arsenal or purchasing weapons more appropriate for military use than self-protection or sport. Most Americans, I suspect, agree with me, even those who own guns. So why do politicians refuse to consider even sensible restrictions that might keep guns, especially the most lethal ones, out of the hands of would-be mass murderers?

In October, a madman killed 58 people at an outdoor country music concert in Las Vegas, the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history. The perpetrator had a virtual arsenal at his disposal, which he had amassed over time, with no authority scrutinizing why he was buying so many guns and so much ammunition. To do so, Second Amendment purists contend, would be to violate his rights, as if the Founding Fathers thought every citizen in a well-regulated militia should have a right to equip himself with more lethal firepower than the British expended at the battles of Lexington and Concord, where only 49 colonists died.

In November, another deranged individual walked into a small church in rural Texas and killed 26 parishioners. Indeed, churches have, in recent years, been a favorite target of mass shooters, including Dylann Roof, who was convicted of murdering nine people in 2015 in Charleston, S.C. Schools, too, have been the frequent scene of horrendous killings. Perhaps the most horrific was Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where the 20 victims were 6- and 7-year-olds and six teachers. But other school killings come to mind: Columbine High School in suburban Denver, where 13 innocent people died, as well as Virginia Tech, where a student killed 32 people. The death count goes on and on — and has been mounting at an alarming rate recently. Three of the 10 most lethal killings in modern U.S. history have occurred in the past five months. How many more people have to die before Congress acts?

Donald Trump was once a champion of sensible controls on guns. In 2000, he wrote in his book “The America We Deserve,” “I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun.” In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre, Trump tweeted, “President Obama spoke for me and every American” when he called for stronger gun laws in response. But he changed his position when he sought the GOP nomination for president, largely because the National Rifle Association and its members might have derailed his chances. After the Las Vegas slaughter, President Trump wanted to talk about mental illness — though there is no evidence the killer was mentally ill — but wasn’t willing to talk about changes in gun laws. However, he did promise, “We’ll be talking about gun laws as time goes by.”

Enough time has gone by, Mr. President. Another 17 are dead, teenagers who will not come home to their parents and siblings, teachers who will never stand before another class of eager students. It’s time we forget the slogans that diminish the role that guns play in these tragedies and figure out how to keep weapons meant for use on the battlefield out of our schools and churches and off our streets.

— Linda Chavez is a columnist with Creators Syndicate.

Comments

P Allen Macfarlane 2 months ago

Guns are designed and used for one and only one purpose - violence and most of the time, death to a living thing. I am not against the use of firearms for acquiring food or even trophies. It is the insane policies and political action by this perpetrator that has stymied any sensible control on the availability of firearms, ammunition, and other devices used for the purpose of turning a weapon into one that can fire automatically, thereby improving the efficiency with which it can kill, primarily other humans. I submit that the NRA should be considered a terrorist organization for promoting violence against our fellow Americans. Anybody witnessing the children who have survived or escaped such violence will testify to the terror they experienced. That is the goal of a terrorist - to inspire fear. The NRA inspires fear through its steadfast belief that there should be no restrictions on firearm availability.

Bob Smith 2 months ago

You've never heard of the sport of target shooting, P? There are even shooting events in the Olympics.

Dale Miller 2 months ago

That gun you're trying to get out of my hand is the reason your able to write your dribble.

Brock Masters 2 months ago

Yes captain obvious firearms are designed to kill. It is their purpose. It is why I possess a firearm, it is why the police arm themselves with them and why politicians and celebrities employ armed body guards.

What would be the point of having a firearm if it wasn’t designed to kill? Should they be designed to be crime monitors - alert you when a bad guy is going to kill you but do nothing else?

Cite one example of when the NRA promoted violence? You can’t because your statement is false. Your statement about the believes there should be no restrictions on firearm availablibity is also false. Reasonable and meaningful regulation of firearms is needed and supported.

Should the ACLU be declared a terrorist organization because it defended the rights of a murderer and got them released due to infringement of the criminals rights? No, we must defend the rights of all even when we despise those protected.

When a reasonable gun control law is proposed that will actually stem gun violence without infringing upon my right I will stand up and support it.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months ago

Are the conservatives going to raise money to build a memorial to the students who died, so they can own their big guns? No, those kids are nothing to them. They aren't rich and famous. Next time a conservative lectures me about "pro-life" I will spit on them.

Bob Smith 2 months ago

Ah, the bodily-fluids assault. Go straight to jail, Dorothy.

Justin Hoffman 2 months ago

She cries about people yelling obscenities and then states, “I will spit on them”. How mature.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months ago

Don't have the guts to at least thank the parents for sacrificing their children, so you can have your guns. I haven't seen much sympathy for these kids from you guys, just "You can't take our guns!" Of course, they aren't your kids, so I guess it doesn't matter. And they might have been liberals, like their friends who are speaking out, so I guess it doesn't matter. How very "pro-life" of you..

Brock Masters 2 months ago

How callous of you to suggest someone should thank the parents for sacrificing their children. You are truly evil.

What a base response to someone talking to you about an issue on which you disagree - spit on them. I hope you do and I hope they file charges against you.

Dale Miller 2 months ago

Pull out your numbers on "pro-life". I'd like to hear them...

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