Buy guns, kill people, console the victims’ families, talk about legislation, forget and move on to the next news cycle, then repeat.
Less than a month ago the Las Vegas massacre dominated the news, followed by talk of gun control regulation, an immediate increase in gun sales fearing the latter, and promises of at least regulating bump stocks that convert semi automatic weapons into machine guns . Now it seems like it never happened, 58 people killed, hundreds injured. This is the pattern of the past. The NRA has puppet politicians well under control.
Imagine if the automobile was just invented and people went out and bought them, no license or testing required, few traffic laws, and who needs stop signs and lights? Autos still kill more people than guns, but those deaths now are nearly neck and neck. We choose to regulate automobiles, testing and licenses required, registration so we can track who owns what and if someone buys or sells more than a certain number of autos each year, he/she is considered a dealer and another level of regulation is reached.
Today, crazy people like Stephen Paddock can amass a war arsenal without any tracking information. Regretfully this means giving up some privacy, but we give it up to drive a car, why not owning a gun?
My entry after the San Bernardino tragedy almost two years ago (written during the heated election season, thus explaining its political bent) seems to be as relevant today so until the next inevitable incident, I repeat….
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
It Can’t Happen Here?
Unfortunately, the horror in San Bernardino has fed into all of this, “legitimizing” such dangerous rhetoric and escalating it to personal attacks on President Obama (who now has low polling numbers about keeping America “safe,” the exact inverse of what those numbers were after bin Laden was nailed) - and subsequent accusations that any call for stronger gun control laws is merely politicizing the San Bernardino tragedy.
But such calls have gone on for years with fierce Republican and NRA opposition. I do not naively believe that better gun control laws and enforcement would magically eliminate such tragedies, especially in the short term. But I do believe that the Second Amendment, which was written in the days of musket rifles and flintlock pistols, needs serious updating.
At that time, we needed an armed militia and also the founding fathers believed that an armed citizenry would be deterrent to the rise of a despotic government. The world has changed since then, weapons of war unimaginable to our forefathers, and, now, mostly in the hands of the military and law enforcement. To make some of the same weapons legitimately available to the citizenry no longer serves the purpose of protecting us from a despotic government as the military will always have superior weaponry (is an converted AR-15 adequate protection against a tank?). The proliferation of automatic weapons just further endangers us all, giving us a false sense of security by just having one in our closet.
No, this is a country of laws and checks and balances and we have to depend on our tried-and-true institutions as well as the much maligned (by Trump in particular) fourth estate to keep our government transparent and trustworthy. If some fringe element threatens us in our homes and public places, we need better intelligence to prevent it and rapid response law enforcement to protect us.
Fully automatic weapons (ones that operate as a machine gun) need to be banned, and guns should be registered just like a car, an equally dangerous thing. That means getting a license, passing a rigorous background check and license renewals (a gun owner having to report if it is sold, just like a car). Guns for self defense, hunting and target practicing are understandable but how can one argue that an automatic weapon is needed? Certainly not for hunting (where is the sport in that?). Do we really want our neighbors to be totting an automatic weapon citing Florida’s ambiguous “stand your ground” law as a justification?
Will that keep guns out of the hands of the “bad guys” as the Republicans like to call them? No, but it’s a start and of course the devil is in the details of how such gun control is administered. Senseless to get further into it here – I’m merely expounding an opinion.