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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:

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

 

This is part three of a three part segment. You can see part one HERE and part two HERE

Blair Nielsen December 21, 2012 at 03:43 PM
Please define an "assault weapon" for us all and you can even ask Joe Scarborough for help. -Chicago has very strict gun laws, how's that working out for them? Law abiding citizens can't legally defend themselves & the laws don't apply to criminals.
Rees Roberts December 21, 2012 at 05:34 PM
We have all heard Blair Nielsen's arguments before. As with all of these types of rebuttals they simply do not take into consideration the life we live in today's American society. It's violent! It really isn't as simple as Blair's comment suggests. We have evolved from a host of seemingly non-related changes over time. For example, it was a simpler life in the 1950's. We did not have the stress we now live with in the work place. We call it the rat race. Our mothers didn't work in the work force, they raised children. Gee, how's that working for us now? We downsize the country by sending our jobs overseas and we expect life to be as rosy as before? It's easier to get a military weapon on our streets than getting help for a mentally ill family member. And we are asked to define "assault weapons"? These are generation spanning issues. To spin a comment to say law abiding citizens can't legally defend themselves isn't the point. They shouldn't have to in the first place if our society was filled with a positive view of life. But today, we eat with abandon what the media says with all the negative aspects they say we have a right to know about. If the media didn't give weight to Columbine would we have the Newtown copy cat and the others? Sometimes it is better to be unaware and be blissfully ignorant of violence. Mentally ill people would then not pick up these ideas. My 2 cents. Merry Christmas
Greg December 21, 2012 at 05:39 PM
So what you are saying is that in Rayne's World we would convict the Newtown shooter, or others like him, for several gun crimes. I don't think that anyone that is involved with mass murder/suicide gives a flying frog about gun laws, the laws may slow them down but I don't think they will stop them, in the end the victims are still dead. Statistic can be made to say anything that you want, for example: "•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." So what? That is like saying there are XXX,XXX,XXX licensed drivers in the U.S., but only X,XXX are named Bob. If you want to use the 130,000 number you should then provide the total number of people and places that sell any type of food in the United States. In places that have stricter gun laws, like the UK, the gun fatalities are less (U.S. numbers include bad guys), but your family members are more than 4 times more likely to be a victim of violent crime. Is that a trade-off you are willing to make? I'm not sure that I am.
Anthony J Lease December 21, 2012 at 06:55 PM
How many guns did it take Timothy McVeigh to slaughter 168 people including 19 young children that were in the day care center that day? How many guns did he use on the more than 800 additional people that he injured that day? How soon we forget!
Rees Roberts December 21, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Mr. Lease: The point I was attempting to communicate was it isn't the guns, it is our collective state of mind. If someone wants to create atrocities there are many ways of doing it. We just need to get our spirit back. We need to believe that these acts are a result of something deeper than the mere tool that is used. In some ways it might be a call for help. I suspect we all feel the pain. But some reactive violently. But the bottom line is we need to react to that deeper reason or else we are merely providing a surface response to something that is much more deeply seated. It's not about guns. It's about our human needs and how our society responds to those needs. If we merely react by creating more gun legislation we are doomed. We need to dwell in a place much more complex and not knee jerk to perceived simplistic views which the media knows so well how to manipulate. I, for one, believe we can do it. It takes leadership, it takes the collective will of a nation.
Blair Nielsen December 21, 2012 at 08:46 PM
HRG titled her piece here " It’s the Guns, Damnit" I say "It's the media, damnit" If the media wouldn't ever say the name or talk about the nut case, none of them would do this just to be famous. I'm not saying there is a easy fix, but it's not "the guns damnit" but when you work for the media, you ain't gonna blame them. Time for work. Merry Christmas.
Heather Rayne Geyer December 21, 2012 at 08:57 PM
I am not going to have a back and forth - especially since I already wrote like 5000 words on the subject. But I did want to mention...at the NRA press conf. this morning he mentioned the shooter's name over and over again. In 3 articles, I never typed it once. Also, I did go in length about the media in the first piece I believe, so not sure where that is coming from. However, I don't really buy into the whole wanting to be famous thing. Maybe some have that frame of thought - but I don't think they all do...especially when the plan is to kill themselves. What would be the point. Merry Christmas to you too!!
Rees Roberts December 21, 2012 at 09:40 PM
My only comment about the NRA's press conference is that it would be the worst policy decision this country could take. It does not deal with the real issue. But who would expect that from the NRA? Cheers
C. Sanders December 21, 2012 at 09:51 PM
@Rees ... The cynical side of me believes that politicians are out for themselves, to keep their office and to accumulate and hold onto their power. With that said, it is politically expedient for politicians to achieve their primary objective [keep their jobs & power] and not address the mental illness issues involving access and ownership of firearms and environmental issues involving the rampant promotion of extreme violence by hollywood and video game makers. So, the politicians will work to "solve" the problem by addressing the laws that restrict the access to purchase certain types of guns, and then they will pat themselves on the back, get re-elected and we'll all wait for the next massacre to happen. In the meantime, I'll gladly take armed security in our schools, especially those that my children attend, should others not feel the need for such security.
Rees Roberts December 22, 2012 at 12:16 AM
C. Sanders Ya know, I think you are right on target. We need fewer attorneys in Congress and more regular folk who would put our country first. Sorry to hear you would just settle for armed guards. I honestly believe that is a knee jerk reaction and wouldn't even begin to deal with the real problems of our ill society. But you seem to indicate it would be an interim solution when you said "In the meantime". But you know what short term answers become.... long term ones. At least we are having a civil discussion on the subject and I applaud you for that.
C. Sanders December 22, 2012 at 12:40 AM
Rees Roberts ... "Fewer attorneys in Congress"? You have surely peeked at my greatest wish for this Nation in the year(s) ahead.

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