On Tuesday, a 15-year-old boy (who shall not be named in this post) walked into Oxford High School in Michigan and started shooting. He killed four classmates and wounded seven others.
This firearm was given to him by his parents as an early Christmas present less than a week before the massacre. His parents have been charged with four counts of homicide involuntary manslaughter. As of yesterday afternoon, they were absent from their court appearance.
Ryan Busse, a former executive from a major gun company, published his memoir recently. Introduced to weapons as a young man by his parents, he received a message very early on how dangerous they could be.
Though forcing the shooter’s parents into court will not bring back the teenagers who were killed, I am hoping that it sets a moral and legal precedent. They could have made it absolutely clear that there were caveats and responsibilities attached to this gift. Just as a sixteen-year-old is limited to where they can drive once they get their license, the rules about where and when he could use it should have been crystal clear.
Instead, his parents gave him carte blanche to do as he wanted and as a result, the lives of four families will never be the same.
Maybe the memories of these innocent souls forever be a blessing.
Our childhood has a powerful effect on who we are when we reach adulthood. However, it does not mean that it is predetermined who we are and what we will accomplish.
Firearms have been part of Ryan Busse‘s life for as long as he could remember. Raised in a hunting family, it was natural that he would find a career in the gun industry. In his new memoir, Gunfight: My Battle Against the Industry that Radicalized America, he goes into great detail about his decades-long career and how it turned into one that was nearly unrecognizable. When he was starting out, the purpose of the job was to cater to their customers while ensuring that all safety precautions were followed. Over the years, there was a slow shift to a more radical perspective that politically veers away from democracy and towards another form of government that can only be described as concerning.
For anyone in this nation that is worried about the gun rights issue, this book is a must-read. Busse does not leave anything on the table, taking the reader on a ride that by the end should force us to ask questions. By no means is he calling for the 2nd Amendment to be abolished or the complete removal of all firearms from anyone who is not in the military or law enforcement. He is challenging those who are still in the industry to use common sense, which would solve many problems if it was used.
From the outside, it appears that the NRA is one of the most powerful non-profit and lobbying intuitions in the United States. But, like any image, what we see may not always be the complete truth.
Misfire: Inside the Downfall of the NRA, by Tim Mak, was published earlier this month. Back in the day, the NRA was simply a grassroots organization whose goal was to encourage gun safety among its members. But over time, it morphed into a company that has had a stranglehold over the nation and any attempt by those in power to enact reasonable gun control laws. Led by Wayne LaPierre, the book reveals internal conflict, misuse of funds by those at the top, and the idea that they are above legal and legislative reproach.
The first break in the chain came right after the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012. Instead of working with the powers that be, LaPierre and the NRA doubled down on their perspective on gun rights and gun control. This opened the door to the revelations about how low it would sink to retain power. Even if that meant working with Russian spies and manipulating those at the top of the political food chain.
It has been said that the bigger they are, the harder they fall. To say that this fall is spectacular is an understatement. If we are to balance the rights of gun owners while protecting the lives of Americans, the NRA must be dismantled. Mak’s book, I believe, makes this clear. If we don’t, we will continue to be a fractured nation that is continually grieving over loved ones lost to gun violence.
There is no doubt that the issue of gun control has created a crisis in this nation. Too many Americans, young and old, have been directly or indirectly affected by the unnecessary loss of life. More often than not, those who have survived have walked away with emotional and physical injuries that will last for the rest of their lives.
John Woodrow Cox‘s new book, Children Under Fire: An American Crisis, was published back in March. Following two young children, Cox talks openly and honestly about the long-lasting damage created by gun violence. The subjects of the book are two young children: Ava and Tyshaun. Ava watched her best friend die when a former student entered her school and started shooting. Tyshaun’s father, who he adored, was killed steps from where his son was receiving his education. He looks into the many attempts of reforming the gun control laws, interviews family members, academics, and politicians, and follows both children as they live with the after-effects of those tragic days.
If I could have hugged both Tyshaun and Ava and found a way to wipe their memories clean of the day their innocence died, I would have. When it comes to events of this kind, the subject of mental health and the perpetrator is inevitably brought up. But we don’t think about the survivors and the lasting consequences that they will be with them for the rest of their days. This book is long and hard to read. But it is one that I believe must be read by every adult and more importantly, even parent. We are failing our children if we do not stop this epidemic. It is possible to respect the 2nd amendment while keeping our kids safe. For foolish reasons, it is just not being done. Which pisses me off to no end.
Change starts with a conversation. But first, we must be able to have that conversation, which is sometimes easier said than done.
The new CNN movie, The Price of Freedom, is about the battle for gun control and the measures both sides have taken to win the hearts and minds of both the public and those in the halls of power. It examines the power that the NRA holds over certain sectors in this country and its unchanging belief in the 2nd amendment. On the other side, family members of victims, survivors, and pro-gun control politicians plead for being reasonable and coming to the table to compromise.
I enjoyed this film. The filmmakers did a good job of letting both sides make their case and let the viewer decide where they land. They also provided a historical background to this topic, giving a greater grasp of the topic beyond the last few decades. Though it did not change my mind, it is a good start in bringing both sides and their beliefs to the table. Hopefully, it opens the door to a dialogue and perhaps understanding one another.
Does it go far enough in my mind? No. But it is a necessary first step that should have been taken long ago. I can only imagine how many lives could have been saved had the Clinton administration acted after Columbine. But they didn’t and neither has subsequent Presidential administrations up now.
This is not about the 2nd Amendment. While I have never been interesting in hunting as a hobby, if that is what another person does in their spare time, that is their right. But there is a difference between being of sound mind and legally owning a hunting rifle because that is what one enjoys doing and killing strangers with a firearm that is meant for the battlefield.
The problem is that any potential gun control legislation would be deadlocked in Congress. The only option Biden has is executive action. I wish that it was not the truth, but it is.
The question I have is why does it take 20+ years and hundreds of live lost for the politicians at the national level to finally do something?
I’ve often spoken about the Columbine shooting and the unnecessary loss of young life twenty years ago. Back then, it was front page news for weeks on end.
These days, mass shootings in the United States are just another blip on list of daily news headlines. The headline may last a week at best on the front page before it slowly fades from the nation’s consciousness.
Earlier this week, Madonna released her new music video. Entitled God Control, the video tells the story of a fictional shooting in an New York City nightclub similar to the massacre at the nightclub in Orlando three years ago.
I will warn you that the video does contain graphic imagery.
There is enormous power in celebrity. In using her voice and her music, Madonna speaks of the heartache and grief that gun violence creates. We need sensible gun control laws. There has to be a way to respect the 2nd Amendment and responsible gun owners while protecting innocent people.
My hope (though it often springs eternal) is that one of these days, sensible gun laws will be the law of the land. Until then, we will continue to grieve for those who are killed simply because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The generation that lived through the Depression and World War II is known as the Greatest Generation. Their children are the Baby Boomer generation. My generation, otherwise known as Generation Y (aka Millennial’s or echo boomers) is known for the technology that become ingrained in our world.
I am convinced that the current generation that is growing up in 2019 will be the generation that dies in school. Too many young people have died in school shootings over the last few years. The most recent shooting happened earlier today in Colorado. One student was killed and seven were injured.
After Sandy Hook, after Parkland, after the UNC shooting last week, I don’t know how much more of this I can take. Our kids should not be dying in school because of guns. They should be learning so they can one day become responsible and prosperous adults. They should not be afraid to go to school. On the same token, their parents should not be afraid to send their kids to school, not knowing if they will see their kids at the end of the school day.
I have no problem with the 2nd Amendment. I have no problems with people who purchase guns legally, are of sound mind and use their firearms in appropriate situations.
What I do have a problem with is that our leaders continue to allow murders of innocent children in the classrooms to happen. When did the 2nd Amendment and guns become more important than our children?
May the memory of the student killed be a blessing to their loves ones. And may we, once and for all, do something so this generation does not become the one who dies in school.
When a parent drops his or her child off for the first day of their freshman year of college, they hope that the next two to four years will transform their child into an adult.
The last thing they expect is that they have to bury their child instead of watching them walk across the stage and accept their diploma.
Yesterday, there was another school shooting. When all was said and done yesterday at UNC Charlotte, 2 people were dead and four were injured.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I am so tired of turning on the news and seeing that there has been another school shooting. When did our kids become less important than our guns?
I don’t believe that we should abolish the 2nd Amendment, but the time for discussion when it comes to gun control has ended. It must be done, before more parents are forced to bury their kids instead of watching them grow up.
A year and a day after 17 innocent lives were taken during the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, another 5 innocent lives were stolen.
Yesterday, a gunman killed 5 people in a warehouse in Aurora, Illinois. The shooter (who will not be named in this blog post), was on the verge of being fired. The authorities have not released all of the details to the public yet.
Just before this shooting happened, you know who proclaimed that there was a national emergency on our Southern border. The only way to solve the problem was to bypass Congress and waste tax dollars on an unnecessary border wall.
The real national emergency is not on our Southern border, it is the epidemic of gun violence in this country. When it comes to the point of being afraid to go to work, school or live our lives because of the fear of gun violence, something has to be done. We cannot completely abolish the 2nd amendment, but at the same time, we need to make sure that those who have guns are doing so legally and are of sound mind. While authorities have not yet confirmed or denied that the gunman had mental health issues, it is one of the key components that have been the cause many of the mass shooting in recent memory.
I’ve spoken in the past of my memories of the day of the Columbine shooting. At that time, it was an anomaly that should have shocked the nation and our lawmakers into action. But it didn’t and twenty years later, we are paying the price in the blood of innocent Americans.
Words, words, words... well said Hamlet! A little blog to go off on tangents within the worlds of history and literature that interest me. From the Tudors to Tom Hardy's Tess, or from the Wars of the Roses to Wuthering Heights, feel free to browse through my musings to pick up extra ideas and points for discussion!