There was a time in this country in which adults dealt with conflict (hopefully) like adults. Whatever the issue was, it was resolved in a mature and reasonable manner. These days, resolution comes via a gun and killing innocent people.
Last Friday, a man in Cleveland, Texas was asked to stop shooting his rifle outside because his neighbors were trying to get their baby to go to sleep. He could have done the decent thing by waiting until Saturday morning. Instead, he knocked on their door and killed 5 people. Among the dead is an eight-year-old boy.
Instead of consoling the family and using his power to find the accused killer, Governor Greg Abbottaccused the victims of being “illegal immigrants“. Regardless of whether they are citizens or crossed the border yesterday, his comments were insensitive, hurtful, and racist. The sad irony is that the suspect is himself in the country illegally.
Then, on Sunday, police were called to a house party in Bay St. Louis, Mississipi. A young man has been charged with murdering two of his peers and injuring four others. Those in attendance were there for a post-prom party. Instead of enjoying their last few weeks of high school, the lives of all affected have been forever changed.
And finally, authorities in Atlanta captured a suspected shooter who opened fire in a medical facility earlier today. One woman was killed and four were injured. His reason was that he was unhappy with the treatment he was receiving. He could have gone through the proper channels. Instead, he chose to resolve the problem with a firearm.
I don’t know what it is going to take for us to enact sensible gun control laws. This is not about removing or devaluing the 2nd Amendment. It is meant to save lives. But until some politicians decide that American lives are just as important as freedom, these senseless deaths will continue.
Though this particular event was one in a long list of murders in an educational setting, it is the first time that the parents of the minor charged will face charges themselves.
As I have said before, I have nothing against guns. It’s not my cup of tea, but that’s ok. What I am against is this loosey-goosey vision of the 2nd amendment in which the lives of the average person are less important than the firearm itself or the NRA.
Granted, the child accused of killing his classmates was 15 at the time. By that age, most parents (hopefully) give some amount of autonomy to their offspring. However, he is still underage, and his parent’s responsibility. Unless they were living under a rock, they had to know what was going on with their son. The signs of mental illness are not unknown to us. Neither is the ability to secure one’s weapons and keep them away from small hands.
Obviously, no one can predict what the verdict will be. That being said, I can only hope that the message is loud and clear to anyone who calls themselves/is referred to as a parent.
To say that gun control is a divisive issue is an understatement. Where one stands on whether or not firearms should be regulated speaks volumes.
Earlier today, SCOTUS ruled that the highly restrictive concealed-carry handgun law in New York State was unconstitutional. In laymen’s terms, the judges said that licensed gun owners can carry their hidden weapons into public spaces.
The majority ruling stated the following:
“Because the State of New York issues public-carry licenses only when an applicant demonstrates a special need for self defense, we conclude that the State’s licensing regime violates the Constitution,”
This decision is both wrong and dangerous. At the end of the day, gun reform is about safety. The 2nd amendment is as solid as it ever was. We shouldn’t be afraid of completing day to day activities ( i.e. going to school, grocery shopping, seeing a doctor) because some politicians are beholden to their NRA donors.
The majority of Americans want reasonable gun control. The problem is that until those in power listen to the people, we will continue to lose our loved ones to unnecessary violence.
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.
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