Monday, August 20, 2012

Fire and Brimstone

Fire and Brimstone

         Isn’t it time we stopped pussyfooting around the subject of gun control? Hiding behind the    2nd amendment ratified in 1791—a time when there were no assault weapons or 100 round magazines, but you could tie your horse up anywhere?

When are our lawmakers going to do the math? Yes, the NRA has 4 million members who want to keep their assault weapons for hunting, but take away 4 million from 313 million and that leaves 309 million people whose health and safety are being sacrificed so that 1.3 percent of the population can have the freedom to shoot the other 98.7 percent of their fellow citizens, with the weapon of their choice. .

Even reducing the argument to political terms if approximately 125 million people vote in a presidential election, and every NRA member voted, they would represent only 1% of the ballots cast. Yet enough members of Congress are so intimidated by this group they continue to ignore the disturbing statistics:

29,000 men, women and children a year-- 80 each and every day--die of gunshot wounds ( How many have we lost in Iraq and Afghanstan?) The United States has more deaths as a result of gunshot wounds than Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland or the UK combined; and has hosted more shooting massacres than any other developed country.  We also have the weakest laws among all these nations. The NRA would have us believe there is no correlation between the two. This is an insult to our collective intelligence.

We’re all proud to have the United States first in the world for any area of endeavor, but first in the Western World for the possession of guns? For the possession of assault weapons? For the number of mass murders?  These are distinctions we can live without.

 The time has come for a serious National Debate, town hall discussions throughout the country and a committee empowered to study, collate and report, in clear, understandable form, all the data and statistics available from government agencies and private institutes relating to death by gunfire: how many weapons are produced and sold to individuals; what kind of weapons; where are guns sold; what state laws exist; how many incidents are there, state by state; what kind of gun is involved in each case. Most of this information exists today—it only needs to be pulled together and published in one credible document, but a national debate has been thwarted over and over again: neither President Obama or Mitt Romney are willing to talk about what is, arguably, the most deadly problem facing the United States of America.

It would be hard to find anyone living in this world of war and terror, naïve enough to believe that any laws can be strict enough to totally prevent the kind of violence we have seen in this country. Vaccines don’t prevent 100% of the recipients from getting the disease, but we protect as many people as we can. If, by enforcing our existing laws and enacting new laws governing the sale and purchase of assault weapons we could save one person a day that would be 365  fewer families mourning a lost child or mother or father caught in the riptide of a random shooting. 

We can either go on, year after year, watching friends and neighbors weep as they build homemade memorials to victims of gunfire, or we can face up to the fact we have a national emergency. Whether it’s 3 months before an election or 3 months after—we cannot wait any longer. Now is the only time we have.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for doing the math and painting such a common sense picture.

    Making sure civilians cannot own assault weapons/automatic/semi-automatic guns is just common sense. There is no need to own those. Period.

    And limiting the number of guns you can buy in a day/month/quarter/year must be considered. While we'll never stop all of these massacres, the truth is they tend to be perpetrated by people whose slide into destructive mental state is relatively rapid. If we can give pause, or give us a chance to see one red flag, who knows what lives could be saved?