Perspective of a Tragedy: Part Three
There are many factors when it comes to tragedies such as the one in Newtown. But there is no doubt in my mind that the biggest impact we can make is in regards to guns. Changes need to be made. They need to be made now!!
It’s the Guns, Damnit
A friend of mine recently stated, “We’ve seen technological advances, but the stupidity factor has risen along with it. We run 21st century problems through a brain chemistry that, in evolutionary terms, hasn’t advanced in 50,000 years.”
Technology, media, and entertainment all play a role in how we have reached this point. It is almost as if the clothes on our backs are growing while we remain the same size. We can invent something to take care of just about anything but we cannot count on any machine, program or device to power our human evolution.
Mental illness is also an important factor when it comes to quality of life. We need to eliminate the stigma and increase the funding. We need awareness equal to any other disease or disorder. We need to find acceptance and compassion. Until we take care of the people in our society who may need help outside of themselves, we cannot expect true freedom or safety.
Above it all, we need gun control and we need it now. With or without mental illness, guns are tools of destruction. With or without violent video games, guns are made to inflict harm.
I wanted to avoid boring ole statistics, but sometimes numbers are a must. These facts are from The Washington Post:
- 15 of the 25 worst mass shootings in the last 50 years took place in the United States.
- More guns tend to mean more homicide.
- States with stricter gun control laws have fewer deaths from gun-related violence.
Some additional stats:
- 96 percent of the $3 million that gun lobbyists donated during the 2012 election went to Republicans.
- 80 percent of gun deaths from the 23 wealthiest countries were Americans.
- There are nearly 130,000 licensed firearms dealers in the United States. 51,000 are retail gun stores according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Compare those numbers to 37,000 grocery stores, 14,000 McDonald's restaurants, and 13,000 Starbucks stores nationwide.
- The CDC reports more than 30,000 lives are lost every year to gun violence.
- Every year, approximately 100,000 Americans are victims of gun violence.
- In 2010, guns took the lives of 31,076 Americans in homicides, suicides and unintentional shootings. This is the equivalent of more than 85 deaths each day and more than three deaths each hour.
I do not like guns. I have been very vocal about that. There is no use for them in my life and there will never be one in my home. If they were all banned, I would probably be pretty happy to be quite honest with you. I do not understand the appeal of shooting any living thing. I do not understand how a hobby could weigh heavier than the safety of our population. I just do not like guns.
With that being said, an all out ban is not what I am asking for or expecting. I have many friends who hunt and are gun owners. And I recognize the difference between the NRA and an NRA member. I see the difference between a gun owner and a gun nut.
What we do need are stricter laws, consistent and firm enforcement of those laws and hardcore regulations and oversight.
- There must be a background check and a psychological exam with history (also for those in the home where the weapon will be stored) before approving any gun owner.
- There needs to a mandatory transfer of title between owners with each purchase.
- There is no purpose for assault weapons or high capacity magazines to be in the possession of anyone other than active military personnel - they should be banned.
- Online and gun show sales – also banned.
- Mandatory extensive training and testing in order to have license renewed every couple of years.
I believe any reasonable gun owner would welcome these regulations. And if they don’t … cry me a friggin’ river.
I would like to close with a quote from Joe Scarborough, a man who unexpectedly brought tears to my eyes recently. Not necessarily because of the words he used; he wasn’t any more eloquent or emotional than others I have heard in these past days. What moved me was the bravery it took for this guy to speak out knowing he could likely alienate much of his demographic. He, unlike so many other politicians and talking heads, did the right thing regardless of possible consequences and he did not show an ounce of shame for doing so. To that, I say bravo.
“And our Bill of Rights does not guarantee gun manufacturers the absolute right to sell military style, high caliber, semi automatic combat assault rifles with high capacity magazines to whomever the hell they want.” – Morning Joe