As our nation comes together to mourn the senseless killings this past week in Tucson, Arizona there doesn't seem to be the appetite to try and prevent another incident. There's a lot of finger pointing and a lot of defensive recoiling but little else.
Jared Loughner acted alone when he committed his atrocity, but he is just one of many mentally ill people who are allowed to purchase assault weapons, extender clips, and as much ammunition as they want to commit their hideous acts. The NRA and the gun- right supporters have a different view. They think this just shows that more people need to buy guns to protect themselves. That attitude prevents us from ever asking the question" why are the mentally ill still allowed to purchase weapons?" Why should people be allowed to purchase ammo clip extenders, silencers, and other non -sporting items? We can't we even have that discussion? It’s because our politicians are scared of the NRA and vocal guns -right supporters, who see this as another attempt by the liberals and our fascist government to take their guns. The republicans control the house, so this issue probably won't come up.
The politicians know, we have a problem because two Washington politicians have said they will be wearing a gun when they meet with their constituents. One legislator, Congressman Dan Burton, is going to introduce legislation to erect a glass petition to separate the spectators from the legislators making a speech on the house floor. Another legislator, Peter King, of New York plans to introduce legislation making it illegal to carry a firearm within 1,000 feet of lawmakers and some other government officials. I agree with both pieces of legislation but shouldn’t we extend it, to make it harder for mentally unstable people from owning guns? I can’t remember the congressman name, who suggested streamlining concealed handgun permits for all congressmen. I can picture the democratic congressman from New York; Anthony Wiener crouched behind a desk taking fire from Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann. Lawmakers from both parties are having a bipartisan caucus to iron out their differences; they should also show their leadership and admonish their colleagues, constituents, and staff if they stray from the goal of civility.
I'm 65 years old and live in a state where owning a gun is second nature, while I do not own one myself, but I certainly don't mind if law abiding, mentally stable people own as many guns and ammunition as the law allows. I am fully aware of the need to protect our homes and our loved ones but just because I choose an alarm system and calling 9/11 don’t mean I look down on those who buy guns for that extra protection. In the 1980s, Congress passed laws that banned armor piercing ammunition and plastic guns that were undetectable by airport security. President Reagan signed those bills. Today we can't even have the conversation because, both parties fear the NRA.
Throughout the years, I've had this unwinnable argument with my friends because it's about a mindset not facts. This is not the time to drag out the old clichés and slogans such “guns don't kill people; people do."
The argument started after the Virginia Tech shooting:
My friends believe that if everyone was armed, a disturbed individual would think twice about going on a rampage shooting people...They went onto say "even if the crazed gunman didn't think beforehand, an armed individual could bring down the assailant before he did harm to others." I'm not arguing that an armed citizen can't prevent a crazy gunman from shooting more people; I'm saying this should not be the only solution, and it's not a truth certain.
The assailant is not a rational person, so he's probably not afraid of being killed..... I also said the police don't really want everyone armed because it makes it more difficult for them to spot the shooter... I'm also claiming that the targets might be terrified and just start shooting at the attacker harming others in the crossfire. That's the reason I'm against students being armed. I can see too many bad things happening that would override the good.... One of the heroes that wrestled Jared Loughner to the ground was armed, but he had the good sense to know that the gunman was already subdued, so he left his gun holstered. After the three heroes kicked the gun away from Loughner, another man picked it up but was advised to immediately drop it because the police might mistake him for the shooter... That's good advice, multiply several people with weapons making it more difficult for the first responders to decide who the good guys are.
This country belongs to all of us, as well as the constitution, the bill rights, the armed forces, the ballot box, and the definition of liberty. There's not a superior ideology, race, political party or economic system. I love a passionate debate but my opposition can be my trusted doctor, priest, neighbor, relative, or anyone else I respect, or perhaps an anonymous merchant or clerk who I have been dealing with for years.
How many more senseless killings, vandalism, and calls for hate does it take for us to admit that there might be a problem? Like all the other problems that are left unsolved; we first have to admit that there is a problem. I can quote as well as anyone else, of times when our country has weathered the turmoil, but I can't recall a more violent atmosphere than these last two years. Unless we ratchet down the rhetoric, the next incident will be between normally sane people driven into a frenzy with misinformation and a call for violence. If things go according to plan, there will be more controversial legislation coming down, that will need to be dealt rationally.
I pulled my blog the other day because I didn't want to cheapen the moment of the Tucson tragedy by hosting a venue for another left and right battle. Perhaps, I should have chosen my words more carefully (I thought I did) but I thought I would give it another try. I was reminded by a wise blogger that said “don’t worry about being offensive. Again, I think we are at a point in our history when our skin has never been thinner and where some have had enough of being politically correct."People will interpret this blog differently, I know that, but I am just wondering why our lawmakers can't sit down and try to fix the bottlenecks that will prevent unstable people from purchasing the most lethal weapons imaginable because they have the cash. I don't like knee-jerk laws but is there a logical reason for purchasing an ammo clip extender? Should guns be allowed at political rallies or a presidential event? Just because we can is not an answer.
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