As the 2012 Olympics get underway, it’s likely that the week-old Colorado gun massacre will be overshadowed by media saturation coverage of Team USA and events in London. But let’s not forget about the disturbing and deadly event that took place in the town of Aurora, Colorado, last week — which reportedly left 12 innocent moviegoers dead and nearly 60 more people wounded.
Something very wrong in America
The deep scars inflicted on America caused by this senseless tragedy won’t heal any time soon. However, perhaps common sense and real leadership will finally prevail in Washington, D.C. and state capitals nationwide when it comes to guns and Government? Then again, don’t hold your breath waiting.
That’s because something is very wrong in America when almost any adult can easily obtain military-style assault weapons — with endless ammunition – then waltz into a crowded movie theater and randomly shoot it up like Rambo in the “First Blood” series.
When it comes to societal rules of civility and moral responsibility, sometimes it appears we have not advanced much since the days of the caveman. Wasn’t the “Wild West” wild enough without semi-automatic weapons? This is just the latest sign of America’s moral decay, which is due in part to guns and Government. As the Washington Post put it in a front page article:
“The mass murderer has become almost a stock figure in American culture, someone bent on overkill – and, so often, seemingly coming out of no where.”
Politicians and the NRA
At the heart of this latest national tragedy we find two entrenched institutional culprits: politicians at all levels of Government and the mighty gun lobby in Washington led by the infamous National Rifle Association (NRA).
When the Founding Fathers penned the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, did they really expect the judicial branch of Government to render legal rulings which allow citizens to arm themselves with the most deadly types of firearms, those once reserved only for military warfare and law enforcement? Regardless, enough is enough already!
Today, we live in a nation incessantly on edge due to the threat of global terrorism, worsening climate change and extreme weather, and a lackluster economy still digging itself out of the worst recession since the Great Depression (among other negative trends). Citizens don’t need easy access – or any access at all – to AK-47s and AR-15 assault weapons (like the one used in Aurora). The AR-15, for example, was outlawed when the decade-long assault weapons ban was in place, even though the NRA made sure there were gaping loopholes even in that legislation (see below). We should NOT be able to purchase semi-automatic firearms as effortlessly as buying bread and milk at the local grocery store.
“Right to keep and bear arms”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m NOT advocating the outright abolition of guns. However, I am saying that deadly assault weapons ought to be legally banned nationwide from public consumption — as they once were. There’s a significant difference between the “right to keep and bear arms” and arming oneself with the most lethal types of firearms. This should be a simple question of common sense to any rationale minded, semi-intelligent and sane person.
While I support the Second Amendment and the rights of responsible citizens to own guns generally, the line must nonetheless be drawn somewhere. Aren’t handguns and rifles enough? Don’t tell me that so-called “sportsmen” need semi-automatic weapons to better hunt down “Bambi” and her friends in the forest.
America’s increasingly deadly love affair with guns needs to be brought under control. Yes, gun control – not gun abolition. Don’t let the NRA brainwash you into equating one with the other. Having control is good; losing control is bad. Thus, is it best to have gun control, or out of control semi-automatic weapons on our streets?
Why do these gun-related massacres occur in one of the world’s most advanced societies? Because the NRA and its gun loving cohorts have paid off enough politicians to allow it – via large campaign contributions and other methods, some questionable. In essence, the NRA owns a good portion of the U.S. Congress.
Do guns kill people?
One age-old NRA mantra is: “guns don’t kill people – people kill people.”
Well, not quite.
People use guns to kill other people and sometimes themselves as well. If assault weapons were banned nationally, the Batman movie killer may not have so easily obtained his weapons of mass murder. How many times does this type of national nightmare need to play out before spineless politicians show some backbone by putting America’s best interests above their own narrow-minded political self-interest — and that of the powerful gun lobby? What’s next, allowing Americans to buy hand grenades and “flame throwers” at the neighborhood Wal-Mart? Where does it end?
During times of national mourning due to senseless acts of mass murder, we need to look inward as a people, as human beings. We need to ask ourselves some profound questions about the basic rights and responsibilities of Government to protect the citizenry when it comes to assault weapons. We need to turn over that rock stubbornly stuck in the dirt and see what lies beneath within the mud.
America’s best interests
Our nation’s lawmakers are supposed to look out for the best interests of America. Considering this, is it really in our country’s best national interest to allow anyone and everyone to stock up with the most lethal weaponry — the types of assault weapons used for the sole purpose of killing as many people as possible as fast as possible?
One way to help solve this persistent problem is by voting politicians out of office who support outrageous and unjustified gun policies allowing for easy access to military-style assault weapons. Such weapons are outlawed in most civil democratic societies, and for good reason. But don’t tell that to the ruthless rebels at the NRA.
If the Aurora gun massacre is not the latest tell-tale sign of America’s moral and civil decay, then I don’t know what is.
Thanks again, NRA!
* All views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author only.
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the High Court’s most vocal and conservative justices, said on Sunday that the Second Amendment leaves room for U.S. legislatures to regulate guns, including menacing hand-held weapons.
President Obama: Gun laws should be “common sense”
President Obama: “I also believe that a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers not in the hands of criminals, that they belong on the battlefield of war not on the streets of our cities.”