by Dave Mindeman
This happens nowhere else on earth.
Another school shooting, a really bad one, in Florida. And the above phrase is what keeps getting repeated in my brain.
Why is that?
We don’t have a higher number of mentally ill than most countries. Our society is open, but not more than other western democracies. We have law enforcement that is just as aware of the problem as any other country. We probably have better law enforcement techniques than most places. Yet, we are uniquely plagued with this type of mass violence.
The one and only difference between us and the rest of the world is that we have a Second Amendment. And it is not the Amendment itself that is the key to our problem, it is how it is used to proliferate guns.
There is no excuse for this. We mourn the victims. We offer prayers and empathy. We investigate the why and the how and the who. But in the end, we continue to do nothing to even make an attempt to stop this carnage.
American carnage. I remember Trump using that phrase in his inaugural address – but it wasn’t about guns. No way. It was about his perceived view of American economics.
But you know what? The REAL American carnage was demonstrated today. Too many mothers and fathers are feeling incredible loss today. Too many others have felt it in the recent past. And unless something is done, too many will feel it in the future.
Imagine your child in school. Imagine the sound of gunfire in a hallway. Imagine the fear and panic they must feel – and you can do nothing to help. Nothing. Is this how we are going to deal with this national problem? Doing nothing?
I know we cannot fix this entirely. There are too many variables that we cannot control. But, for heaven’s sake, we DO NOT HAVE TO MAKE IT EASIER for this to happen.
The Second Amendment is sacred. I get it. I am not arguing with that. But that amendment was written when we had single shot rifles that took 10 to 15 minutes to reload. Now we are dealing with automatic weapons that can kill dozens in minutes. We can and must compensate for this.
Do hunters head down to their local Walmart and request AR-15s for deer hunting season? If they do, then it is hard to describe them as a sports person. Guns for recreational use get no argument from anybody. That is the common sense aspect of the 2nd Amendment.
But common sense is sorely lacking in virtually every other area when it comes to the topic of guns.
The first thing that always comes to mind is background checks. We don’t want people who have serious problems to get these types of weapons. So let us have a credible data base and keep it up to date and correct. We are not supposed to allow domestic abusers to have guns – but they get them. The mentally ill are supposed to be flagged – but they also get them.
We have too many loopholes. Let’s be clear -EVERY SINGLE SALE OF A GUN MUST HAVE A BACKGROUND CHECK. Every one. Family. Gun shows. Everything. Yeah, sure, I know. Criminals will still get guns. They will get around a background check. But is it hardcore criminals that are doing these mass shootings? Too often, it is a kid. Too often, a disgruntled employee. Too often, someone with family problems. Too often, someone who is bullied.
They aren’t criminals, but they become one when they pick up a gun in anger.
Do not let this pass once again, without action. First thing to do is to not let conceal and carry reciprocity pass in your state. If my state doesn’t want to recognize the permits in another state, let’s respect that. And secondly, pass legislation wherever we can to make it a certainty that every gun sale has a credible background check – and then let’s enforce that requirement.
There are too many hearts broken here. Too many. And we have allowed too many hearts to be broken in the past with no action. Our future does not have to continue this violent chain of events.
Common sense gun laws are not a violation of the rights of gun owners. But not acting is a violation of public safety.
Action is needed.