Recent shootings highlight need for stronger gun control

Travis Danner
OPINIONS/MANAGING EDITOR

In the minds of the redneck, gun-loving yahoos who make up a large portion of America’s voting bloc, freedom means the right to be shot at any moment.

The frequency and volume of gun violence in America should lead any sane person to at least question current laws and advocate for more regulations related to firearms.

In keeping with the Conservative victim fantasy that some vast Democrat conspiracy is actively seeking to take their guns — many who read this will already be accusing me of being some kind of left-wing ideologue for the mere mention of gun control.

They’d be right.

I do hold ideals. Ideally, I could walk around without fearing that I’ll become the latest victim of a random shooting. Ideally, the second amendment wouldn’t be used to ensure crazy people have access to guns.

If it makes me an ideologue to believe that the constitution, in addition to guaranteeing the right to bear arms also allows everyone the ability to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, then that’s OK.

If it were up to me, every fire- arm and every bullet worldwide would be rounded up and melted down. The metal would be used to construct a series of children’s hospitals and playgrounds.

The sheer amount of mass shootings this year has at least brought the conversation about guns back into the national discourse.

Unfortunately, the amoral pro-gun lobby, high-class prostitutes in congress beholden to that
lobby and their army of bible-thumping sycophants are one of the most well-funded, politically influential groups in the country. An unholy trinity standing in eternal opposition to common sense and the morally correct position on guns.

According to opensecrets.org the National Rifle Association, the country’s preeminent gun rights organization, spends more than $1.5 million dollars annually lobbying congress to kill any legislation aimed at restricting gun access for any reason.

Nine days before the shooting in Aurora, Colorado which left 12 dead and 58 injured, NRA Vice President Wayne LaPierre proclaimed in front of a United Nations assembly that his organization would resist all efforts to limit access to firearms in America.

“I am here to announce the NRA’s strong opposition to anti- freedom policies that disregard American citizens’ right to self- defense,” LaPierre said.

The current standard-bearer for the Republican party, presidential candidate Mitt Romney, has made it clear he will do nothing to address the issue of gun violence.

This despite his history of speaking in favor of gun control laws during his time as the Governor of Massachusetts.

“We do have tough gun laws in Massachusetts,” Romney said in 2002.

“I support them. I won’t chip away at them. I believe they help protect us, and provide for our safety.”

In keeping with his reputation as the windblown candidate, he has since reversed his position on this issue.

His 2012 campaign web site now states that “(Romney) does not believe that the United States needs additional laws that restrict the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.”

Perhaps Romney was faced with the knowledge that any candidate with half a hope of being selected as the Republican nominee for president must kiss the proverbial ring of the NRA.

Not that his rival, incumbent Barack Obama has much hope of affecting change in any meaningful measure either.

Such change would have to get through the halls of the United States congress which is populated largely by career politicians, of which many are true believers of the ‘guns for everyone’ orthodoxy.

I got my first gun when I was 6 years old. From the moment my father (himself a member of the NRA) placed a BB gun in my hands, I was taught to be wary of and respect the destructive potential of a firearm.

This memory weighed heavy on my mind when I set down to write this piece.

As I worked, I opened my Twitter account to review the morning’s news events. Sadly, I was not shocked to learn that a 15-year-old student of Perry Hall High School in Maryland had shot a 17-year-old classmate on the first day of school.

This incident was just the lat- est in an increasingly fast procession of random, violent shootings.

From the Gabby Giffords shooting in Arizona in 2011, to the “Dark Knight Rises” shooting in Colorado in July and the racially-motivated massacre at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin this month I began to formulate a concrete view on the issue of guns in America — too many
damn people have way too many damn guns.

And those are just the most recent or heavily reported shootings. A Google news search for “fatal shooting” on any given day will yield a fresh round of casual- ties.

If the shootings of a sitting congressperson, 70 people sit- ting in a movie theater, peaceful church-goers or children shooting children aren’t enough to motivate change, it’s hard to imagine what will.

American citizens die at the end of a gun barrel by the thou- sands every single year.

If every victim of gun violence was laid in one cemetery and the sheer geographic size of human misery was laid bare – would it be enough to shake the core of the American soul?

Probably not. America’s fetish for guns is so strong that the circular logic would most likely continue. Gun nuts the country over would simply make the same argument they always do. They’d say that the guy who didn’t have a gun should have had a gun so they could have shot the guy who had the gun that shot them.

More guns, always.

I remember my first BB gun fondly. I had a good time as a boy running around the wilderness shooting my gun wildly. I was one of those people seduced by the captivating power of guns.

I remember something else happening during my childhood —I grew up and I put the gun down.

It’s time for America to look at itself in the mirror and consider doing the same.
Responses and comments can be sent to TravisDannerExpress@ gmail.com

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: