In the wake of each of these tragedies, it has become a predictable play. It isn’t even nuanced anymore, and it sure isn’t interesting. Here is the recap – tell me I’m wrong.
One side says, “WE NEED REFORM!”
The other side says, “IT ISN’T THE GUNS’ FAULT, IT IS THE CRAZY PEOPLE!”
Then someone quotes a Founding Father, “If you sacrifice liberty for protection, you deserve neither.” – Benj. Franklin.
Shortly after Ben’s words are thrown down, as if it is gold, like clockwork, the next line in the play. And, it’s the climax. Spoken by a person, who has never read the Constitution in its entirety, and doesn’t even know what the U.S. Reporter is. Nonetheless the speaker is defiant, speaks with purpose, resolve and authority, “[a] well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.”
Well, let’s take a look at the arguments.
IT ISN’T THE GUNS’ FAULT, IT’S THE CRAZY PEOPLE
This argument fails common sense. On this basis, it isn’t the cigarette, the fentanyl, opiates, semi-truck, airplane, uranium, coal, ship, barge, or atom’s fault. Each item on this planet, without human interaction, is inert.
A cigarette on its own, there is no danger there. It is tobacco, an organic plant that grows in the soil. It produces oxygen through photosynthesis. Same with marijuana.
A semi-truck? There is nothing dangerous about those. Heck, I navigate parking lots and roads every single day, and a parked semi-truck has NEVER posed a significant risk to me. It is human interaction with each of these that creates the risk.
It is the risk caused by human interaction that requires these items to be regulated by the government. We accept that if you want to fly an airplane you have to pass a physical, get trained, and be properly licensed. Same with operating a dump truck. Why? It isn’t the risk to the owner or operator, the risk is to the rest of us.
With guns, despite the risk, despite the fact that the headlines of mass shootings have become a routine, there is a segment of our society that discards the demonstrated risk and destruction to human life. In the meantime, bodies hit the floor.
They’re trying to take our guns!
This is the other thing I see and hear a lot of. And frankly, I am sick and tired of the binary conversation. The black and the white. The right or left. This isn’t a binary issue. There is a TON of GRAY. And it is in this gray space where compromise can exist and we can say, we took a step forward to protect the innocent.
Following two mass shootings in the 1980s and 1990s, the U.S. Congress, which was held by Republicans, passed what is commonly referred to as the “Clinton Gun Ban.” These two shootings, one in Stockton, CA (5 dead, 35 injured), the other in Texas and known as the Luby’s Shooting (24 killed, 27 injured) were enough for our leaders to begin making changes.
The Assault Rifle ban went into effect in 1994 and lasted ten years. Guess what? During that ten year period, there was ONE mass shooting in 1999, at Columbine High School.
The Assault Rifle ban was lifted in 2004. Since then, there have been more than 17 mass shootings, resulting in 346 people dead, and 1,184 injured. This isn’t a political issue folks. It is a moral one.
I have sat at hospital foundation fund raisers where the goal is to raise enough money for “stop the bleed kits” that they want to give out to local schools. I’ve met with law enforcement who tell us that typically mass shooting victims lay on the floor for 30-40 minutes to bleed out until an area is secured. I hear this and think of my daughters.
I own an assault rifle. I hunt. I will continue to hunt. I will continue to shoot. But I believe we need legislative measures to protect everyone.
Maybe my ideas are best, maybe they aren’t. Maybe you have ideas. Doing nothing is not an answer. We have seen what that gets us.
The road to fixing our mental health problem will be long and arduous. Credit goes to those setting out on that path of reform, but it is riddled with legal issues that will have to play out in the courts.
What can you do? Call your legislators. Send them emails. Share this point of view.