And right now. No, now is not the time to wait for a while and mourn. Now is also the time to get mad.
You’d have to be living in a cave at the moment not to know that yesterday, a gunman entered a K-4 elementary school in Connecticut and murdered 20 children aged 5-10, and six adults. Then himself. And prior to that, his mother, at home. So counting him, 28 people. As far as we know.
11 days before Christmas.
The weapons he used were two semi-automatic handguns: a Sig Sauer, and a Glock 9mm. He left the Bushmaster .223 M4 rifle in the car. Not enough hands, I guess.
If the assault weapons ban in the U.S. had still been in place, his mother (to whom the guns were registered) would not have been able to purchase them. At least not from a federal or state licensed dealer. Gun shows, transactions between individuals, doesn’t count. They were classified as assault weapons because they are capable of firing up to 32 rounds using an extended clip. But it requires a trigger pull each time it fires, as opposed to fully automatic, which only requires one trigger pull and keeps firing until you let go.
The meager gun laws we do have in the U.S. already do say that you can’t buy a gun if you’re an ex-felon, or if you’re mentally ill. The latter prohibition is big enough to drive a truck through.
I’ve read of gun dealers who refused to sell a gun to someone who acted strange, even when the buyer’s background check was “clean”. We need more people like that.
Which brings me to the National Rifle Association (NRA). Whom I hate. But first: I’ve owned handguns. I know many, many people who own weapons of various kinds, and who are members of the NRA. The NRA does a very good job–and they may be the only organization that does–at teaching about gun safety, even to kids. They conduct classes and training, for children and adults. But somewhere along the line, the NRA has gone off the rails. Now they are a major lobbying organization, and they have adopted a “slippery slope” philosophy: ANY gun control is a step toward banning guns for everyone. So they vigorously fight any response to even the most heinous gun crimes.
But control is not a ban.
You would think they would understand this, but logic is not involved here.
One of the arguments put forth regarding the ban of assault weapons is that as long as criminals and crazy people can still get them, you, as a law-abiding citizen, must be free to buy evermore increasing firepower to match what the criminals have. What about the concept of preventing criminals from having that firepower? Then you wouldn’t need it yourself. You could (eventually) de-escalate. It will take time. Because the criminals can still buy those weapons at gun shows and from each other.
The assault weapons ban in the U.S. expired in 2004. It’s time to bring it back. But improve on it. It was wimpy in the first place.
The underlying problems leading to mental illness are largely genetic. Until we legislate genetic law to eliminate it sick people will continue to do sick things. Murder is already outlawed. School guns are outlawed. We have police officers in the schools to prevent mass shootings, as we do mall cops. None of it works. The common link is mental illness. i.e. the Oklahoma Bomber.
Should we control matches and lighters to prevent arson? Arson is a deadly serious crime killing many and destroying Billions of assets.
And that’s not even addressing the evil folks out there.
I have noticed that the popularity of streaking during athletic events has virtually disappeared since the media quit obsessing about it (and quit showing it). Perhaps there’s a cultural message there that is applicable.
We cannot legislate away mental illness or evil. Determined people will find a way. I’ve heard that arson argument many times. We have regulated matches and lighters on airplanes. We can’t legislate tire irons and baseball bats either. But nothing is quicker than a gun for killing at a distance.
If we restricted the kinds of guns and ammunition people can have, including the law-abiding citizens who join the NRA, then maybe the CT shooter would have killed 6 children instead of 20. We have to try.
FN I believe any discussion that follows such a horrific event runs the risk of projecting insensitivity. Having been a parent longer than I was not, I do understand a parents worse fear and do not wish to ignore their grief and the grief of the nation. There is much that can be said on both sides of the issue,but at least from my perspective should better be kept for another time.