Opinion: We must not be helpless against gun violence

(AP)

We live in a world in which one old man with no military training, all by his lonesome, can slaughter 59 innocent people and wound more than 500 others. Think about the scale of that, because it’s a higher casualty count than U.S. forces took in an entire week of heavy fighting in retaking the Iraqi city of Fallujah.

Yet it happened right here at home, in a matter of mere minutes.

We also live in a world in which we are told that there is little or nothing to be done about such events, that this is “the price we pay for freedom” and that it would somehow dishonor the dead to try to figure out a way to prevent or mimimize such catastrophes.

Well, screw all that hopelessness and helplessness. The four largest mass murders in this country have all occurred in the past 10 years. Until this week, the largest had been the attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, which left 49 slaughtered, again by a lone gunman. That grisly record stood for all of 16 months, and you have to ask yourself what comes next. Because something is coming next.

In short, we have a problem, a problem that is worsening even in the face of an avalanche of prayers and thoughts and condolences that we have marshaled against it. Somehow, that approach hasn’t done the job. And although some won’t want to hear it, in this country, under our system of government, we solve problems through politics. We politicize them. That’s how it works, by design.

If you have a recurring problem, one way to address it would be to look for factors common to most outbreaks. That’s what an epidemiologist would do, but since our government epidemiologists are banned by the National Rifle Association from applying their science to this particular problem, it is left to us amateurs to figure out.

That’s OK, though, because some of it’s not all that complicated. We know, for example, that the Orlando gunman was armed with a Sig Sauer MCX assault weapon, designed and sold as a weapon of war, not as a hunting weapon or means of self-defense. That weapon, combined with magazines capable of holding 30 rounds of ammo, made him impossible to halt without severe loss of life.

We also know that the Las Vegas gunman had several assault weapons, and in at least one case probably altered it to make it capable of fully automatic fire. We know that the gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School chose a Bushmaster assault rifle, again with high-capacity magazines, to kill 20 children and six adults. We know that the San Bernardino terrorists also armed themselves with two assault weapons fed with high-capacity magazines.

Is anybody sensing a pattern here? These gunmen are often nuts, but they are rational enough to know that when you set out with the intention to inflict mass mayhem, you should reach for equipment that is specifically designed to inflict mass mayhem. And you can buy it off the shelf.

And yes, I am fully aware that the gun industry and its defenders don’t like the term “assault weapon,” preferring “modern sporting rifles” instead. Well, screw that too. It is not yet a modern sport to kill large numbers of people in a short amount of time, and that is the purpose for which these tools were designed.

Finally, it is not unconstitutional to address the issue. In the words of Justice Antonin Scalia, “the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited,” and it is “not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever.”

As Scalia understood, guns are a legitimate means of self-defense.

But so are laws.

 

 

Reader Comments 0

2184 comments
YouLibs
YouLibs

People are always going to kill people, why have silly laws against murder?


More senseless government interference and regulation.

monty1
monty1

saying, if only we had done A then B wouldn't have happened is naïve. 

monty1
monty1

Any type weapon can be had for a price and that dude had plenty of money. Tougher laws wouldn't have made a difference in his case. admit it.

monty1
monty1

Helplessness is when only the bad guys can get guns, through the black market and the good guys can't defend themselves. Outlaw a quick shooting gun , and then the next time some evil doer commits a crime with a slightly slower shooting gun,then that was get's outlawed, and the next time someone kills with something slightly slower that gets banned. Pretty soon you realize that anything that can fire multiple rounds a minute can kill people, and then what? No guns. What about if the guy had driven his pickup into the crowd? The tightest gun control is in Europe and it hasn't stopped the violence over there. Think about it.

sneakpeakintoeducation
sneakpeakintoeducation

@monty1 


I have thought about it and I have experience because I grew up in Europe. The gun laws there work. How do I know? Because there have been very few, almost non-existent, numbers of massacres of the kind we witness at the hands of gun owners and their guns. We can never wipe out all violence from our society but we can make good policy decisions that help to keep the public safe from these types of atrocities. 


I have already called my congressmen and asked them to support policy changes. I know they seem unwilling to listen because the money the NRA offers is too tempting but I will not be silent. Gun owners can keep their guns but they should be regulated-heavily. It's not brain surgery.

TruthReallyHurts
TruthReallyHurts

If these GOP'ers were so afraid of being primary-ed by the NRA that they failed to do ANYTHING after 20 innocent babies were slaughtered in Sandy Hook, what makes anyone think they have the "testicular fortitude" to do anything now? 

Simply put, they are cowards. Sometimes you need to go home to your district, go to the VFW or high school auditorium, grab the mic and tell your constituents that you are going to do what's right, and they can take it or leave it. If they vote you out, fine. Go back to doing whatever you were doing before you were elected. But at least you'll have your dignity. 

Pathetic.

monty1
monty1

@TruthReallyHurts  No one is a coward because they believe in the 2nd Amendment. IF there was some surefire(no pun intended) to stop crazy evil doers , it would have been done already. You can't make evil people just go away because you passed a law.

honested
honested

According to wrong-wing naysayers, they are afraid the wind is changing and Democrats will finally stand up to the NRA!


Meanwhile, the idiotic attempt to de-regulate suppressors dies on the table.

Fan4500
Fan4500

@honested I say go ahead, do whatever you think is best.

It's worked so far.

:)

Eye wonder
Eye wonder



#RepublicansJustLoveThemselvesSomeDebtSHEETZ!*



*half baked; Jay has been notified

td1234
td1234

"According to Politico, Democrats feel too much pressure from the coming 2018 elections to make a hard push for gun control; they have too many Democrat seats in red states at stake. Therefore, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) is planning the same background check push that Democrats make following every public attack–even though the Vegas attacker passed numerous background checks for his guns–but there is no talk of pushing a ban on certain types of firearms and/or magazines.

Moreover, many Democrats are so skittish about being tied to gun control that they are wary of plans for another gun control sit-in or similar action. Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-CA) said, “I think at this point, that’s probably not the best course of action for Democrats to take.”

Another well-known gun control proponent, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), satisfied himself with simply trying to get the GOP to drop attempts to deregulate suppressors."

Peachs
Peachs

This is a law of nature not congress and more and more people will die not less and less. Seems to me the pressures on Congress to fix this problem. Looking at Trump’s monotone prayers in Las Vegas , i don’t think that the Republican Party can’t feel pressure.

KUTGF
KUTGF

And, just because they may move to the US they still will not be eligible to vote, legally, until they become citizens....
____________

Surely jester would not troll by displaying complete ignorance that PR citizens are US Citizens.  

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@KUTGF Thanks to SurelyYouJest, I checked this out....PR citizens are indeed US citizens, but there are several categories of US  citizens. Those living in our territories don't have electoral votes since the EC was set up before they were our territories. They have delegates in our primaries, but not final votes.

gotalife
gotalife

Americans needs blunt honesty from pols.

Call a moron a moron.

No pc.

LilRichie
LilRichie

@gotalife Tillerson sure does know one when he's around the Liar-in-Chief.

KUTGF
KUTGF

The Senate Intelligence Committee agrees that Russia attempted to interfere with the presidential election, but it hasn’t concluded its investigation of possible collusion by the Trump campaign.... 

The senators found evidence that Russia had hacked into political parties digital infrastructure and at least tried to test the vulnerabilities of electoral systems in 21 states.

The investigation also found that Russian agents manipulated social media through paid ads and false accounts used to drive interest in active measures intended to sow chaos and division.


_____________

Well they got to step 1 of proving the "nothingburger" claim and Trump "hoax - fake news" claims to be wrong.  Perhaps they'll catch up with the rest soon.  

td1234
td1234

@KUTGF The nothing burger is the claim that Trump colluded. Russia and many other foreign governments have attempted to interfere in not only our elections for many years but those of almost every nation in the world. That is not breaking news. We (the USA) have interfered in other countries elections. That is not breaking news. 


It is now, has been in the past and will be in the future what happens. 

JKToole
JKToole

@td1234 @KUTGF Russian Facebook "news sites" heavily targeted Ohio, GA and Florida.

Worked.

Peachs
Peachs

My question is why does Trump hang around with people like Manafort? My guess is his character is so weak he can’t hang with winners. The entire drive for him running for president is to prove to Obama that he’s not a loser. But in doing so is proven to the world what a loser looks like.

Peachs
Peachs

Republicans are always looking for the wrong suspects! Wall Street melts our economy and no one goes to jail. Hillary did what half this White House is doing now. Gowdy must of spent millions for what. And poor Puerto Rico is costing Trump millions to save lives when he much rather be on a golf course spending our money that way!

rimsky
rimsky

@Peachs Trump indicated that the expense is going put a dent in the budget.

Yet he gives $10 B to the DOD and never uttered a word about the budget.  

This is kind of "moron"we have in the WH

gotalife
gotalife

@rimsky trump is a blithering moron like his voters. It is no secret.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@rimsky

The "moron" comment has been attributed to unnamed sources.

I applaud what Tillerson did today. He's by far, one of my preferred cabinet members within Trump's administration.

A steady ship in the media storm.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@gotalife @FIGMO2 @rimsky

An opinion I share with you more often than not.

Trump leaves a lot to be desired.

The economy is roaring and a conservative justice in place.

I'm good with those.

Peachs
Peachs

One of the reasons Paddock got away with this is he looked like a rural slob and the security was concentrating on Trump’s description of a terrorist.

gotalife
gotalife

trump always welches on paying folks.


That is his scam.

Surelyyoujest
Surelyyoujest

@gotalife

"...Three months later, Vance told his office to drop the investigation, according to the report, which cited 20 sources familiar with the investigation, court records and other public documents. 

Earlier in 2012, Kasowitz donated $25,000 to Vance’s re-election campaign, the report says. Vance reportedly returned the donation just before his meeting with Kasowitz...."   Now you know the rest of the story...

Peachs
Peachs

When you have a unpopular president in office the drama becomes deafing!