“Two Mass Shootings,” “White Nationalists Pose Urgent Threat,” “Gun Control Rises as Campaign Issue,” “Walmart is Shaken by Recent Shootings,” “Sorrow, Anger,” “Nation Mourns,” “Terror Within: FBI had warned of growing domestic extremism.” So read the headlines on Aug. 5 from the Wall Street Journal and USA TODAY.
Gilroy? Three killed, 12 injured. El Paso? Twenty-two killed, another 24 injured. And Dayton? Nine killed, 27 more injured. All told, 34 killed, 63 recovering from gunshot wounds.
These incidents took place in just one week. The last two in only 13 hours.
Here are some observations. Two weeks ago, on Sunday, a letter-to-the-editor appeared in a Milwaukee newspaper. The reader was irate at what she considered biased and unfair reporting of active shooters. She went on to claim that “gun violence” was a “meaningless term.”
On CBS This Morning, one of the guests responsible for the safety of New Yorkers posed this question in light of the recent tragedies in California, Texas and Ohio: “Are we in danger of seeing mass shootings as the ‘new normal’?”
At the same time these unconscionable events were taking place, another went unreported. Because Chicago has simply too many shootings each day to get any national coverage. Two weeks ago, this city recorded 47 episodes of gun violence in one weekend, seven of which were fatal.
It’s getting to the point where perhaps we should all go to the window, open it, and shout at the top of our lungs, “I’M MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!”
An article I read recently about the killings at Newtown left an indelible impression. It was an interview with the officer who was first to witness the aftermath of the murderous assault on 5- and 6-year-old school children. He said the news coverage of these events fails to adequately describe the horror they represent.
The officer went on to detail what he saw. As he entered the hallway, where the massacre had taken place, he saw small bodies ripped and torn apart by high-powered rifle fire, children mutilated beyond recognition. Body parts and flesh were splattered all over the walls and floor, rivulets of blood seeped and pooled everywhere.
His nostrils were filled with the stench of death. The overwhelming stink of decaying human remains. The officer concluded that it was this inconceivable horror that needed to be in he public mind when the national conversation turned to reducing gun violence. Otherwise, the discussion utterly fails to take account of what military-style weaponry does to the human body. We definitely don’t need any more empty gestures of condolence.
We need real, concrete steps to curtail the needless slaughter of innocent men, women and children.
Any observation on this subject has to include the NRA and its advocates, like the lady who is perhaps still arguing that “gun violence” is a “meaningless term.”
In order to emphasize the urgency needed to confront mass shootings, consider this: How many times has Congressman Scalise or Wayne la Pierre of the NRA approached the parents of a child savaged by an assault rifle and explained to them the benefits of gun ownership? And just how often has a gun advocate tried to comfort those who’ve lost a loved one by explaining the virtues of a “well-regulated militia?”
The answer? Absolutely none. They haven’t the stomach for it.
Because the fact of the matter is that there are no benefits of widespread and unregulated gun ownership, and there is no virtue in continuing to rant about the ultimate good of an armed society. It is only a minority of the population who actually believe it is a useful for everyone to carry a weapon or that vigilantism safeguards our freedom.
Ask yourself these questions. Just exactly how many lives is the Second Amendment worth? And why is nothing being done to curb and control and restrict gun proliferation in the United States? We represent 4 percent of the world’s population, but own over 45 percent of its guns. Plainly, enough is enough.
While you think about it, keep this in mind. People don’t kill people. Guns do.
Ammon, a longtime lakes area resident, has written a book entitled “State of the Union: Observations on American Life.”