Gun Violence, Anyone?
A simple set of facts
In the aftermath of the slaughter at a grade school in Connecticut, there's been a lot of talk about improving safety from guns, but no action so far in Congress. Charges and counter-charges have been thrown about like hand grenades, with similar results (metaphorically, thank heavens). But the question remains: can, and will, we do anything as a nation to rein in the tools of killing in our country - with the dubious distinction of having the largest private arsenal in the world?
Connecticut, New York and Colorado have been moved to act. Now, what about the rest of the nation? What will it take to ensure that the public in general - - and the youngest and most innocent among us in particular - - are safer from attack?
A little common sense would help, if everyone would just pay attention to the facts. For instance, you need to show a photo ID and swear not to misuse Sudafed at a pharmacy just to get sinus relief. When we buy a camera lens or a new kitchen appliance, we have to fill out a warranty form, showing our name and address and phone number and date of purchase and submit it in order to have that product covered. Our cars are registered and licensed, and we need a license to drive (and photo ID and more now to vote in many states).
Yet somehow, background checks to screen out criminals, potential terrorists and the mentally ill from getting and using a gun is somehow a 'bridge too far.' The same goes for limiting the size of magazine clips, even though police officers and hunters are told how many cartridges are too many for them. And we can't buy a used Army tank and drive it around or fire its cannon, though an assault rifle designed for use in warfare is just fine, we're told.
Maybe nothing will be done to limit the killing of our citizens, but I keep hoping we'll come to our senses as a nation and as its leaders. So, here are two small bits of information I ran across today:
- more Americans were killed with guns in the 18-year period between 1979 and 1997 (651,697) than were killed in battle in all wars since 1775 (650,858); and,
- more U.S. citizens died in the past few years from civilian gun use than were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined.
Something's wrong with this picture, don't you think? Enough said.