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Guns — The price we pay

By   /   December 18, 2012  /   4 Comments

Americans are horrified by the carnage delivered to Sandy Hook schoolchildren last week. They are frightened and they are furious.

But they should not be shocked. Such tragedy has become the price of life in a country awash in guns and we seem bound to endure it again and again and again.

At elementary schools, high schools, fast food places, post offices and college campuses, this nation has been staggered by massacres of increasing ferocity. No place is safe, not even an Amish schoolhouse.

The questions began before the final body count was in. How could somebody break into a school and kill so easily? If, as some have said, this young man was so evidently troubled, why did somebody not intervene years ago.

Valid questions, but no policy, no reaction plan is much of a match for one who is disturbed, determined and armed to the teeth. This time, an evidently tormented young man found the legal and licensed guns at home. His arsenal included semi-automatic 9 mm Glock and Sig Sauer handguns capable of firing five rounds a second, and a Bushmaster assault rifle.

Sickened by and made wiser by the toll, other nations have had the gumption to do what Americans by now must know is needed.

The United Kingdom banned all handguns a few years back. A British citizen is 50 times less likely to be a victim of gun homicide than an American.

Twelve days after 35 people were shot dead by a gunman in Tasmania, Australia enacted gun laws requiring registration and restricting access to many weapons.

In Canada, handguns must be registered and may be kept only by police, collectors and gun club members. While the murder rate without guns is about the same in the U.S. as in Canada, the murder rate with handguns here is 14.5 times the Canadian rate.

But here no tragedy seems sufficient to derail the National Rifle Association and its Second Amendment spoutings. That amendment, written back when the single-shot flintlock was the state of the art, does indeed call for “the right of the people to keep and bear arms” — for the purpose (and this is the part the NRA likes to skip) of “A well regulated militia.” There is nothing the least “well-regulated” about a system in which any lunatic can get his hands on high-powered, rapid-fire weapons that are a match for anything police carry — often with no background check or license needed. Guns like that Glock aren’t built for hunting. They’re meant for one thing — killing human beings.

If experience is any guide, this massacre will spark a brief outcry for tougher gun laws. It’s happened over and over again since Virginia Tech and Columbine — In just the past three years there have been nearly a dozen US gun massacres with a half dozen or more dead — remember Binghamton, Aurora, Geneva County, the Sikh Temple, Tucson mall, Seal Beach, Manchester? The names, places and body counts blur.

Cloaked in their take on the Second Amendment, the NRA and its legion of well-paid lawmakers will deflect this nuisance as they have so many before.

Then, not so many months from now, the news teams will speed off to the next bloodied schoolyard, campus or mall. And Americans will marvel again at the ease with which the latest madman loaded up.

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About the author

Sakonnet & Westport Editor

4 Comments

  1. Joe Sousa says:

    The Media and their “IF IT BLEEDS IT LEADS” reporting are a large part of the problem. The would be assassins see the 24/7 reporting as away to become famous. There needs to be a change in the way these stories are reported to prevent copy cats. The right to bare arms is also to protect us from home invasions and personal attack.
    Did you hear about the massacre at the Mc Donalds in Florida ?
    No, because one of the customer was armed and took out the assassin before he could kill more people. There are arguments on both sides of the coin since many criminals own illegal guns. When the Government collects them come for mine.

  2. 2nd Beach says:

    Thanks for so eloquently putting forth your opinion, while utilizing one Constitutional Amendment right
    :Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    to talk about restricting the second Constitutional Right
    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.

    It sounds like YOU’RE not wanting to talk about the “shall not be infringed” and replace it with “shall be infringed”.

    And by the way – the rights of the states and due process and all that good stuff in that old fashioned document – yup those are numbered after “2″. So while you enjoy your “1st” let other’s utilize their “2nd”. If you put up that idea of “should we change or reword the 2nd Amendment” to a referendum nationwide the vote would overwhelmingly be “NO”. For a reason. The reason being we ALL agree that the Constitution is hard to change and should be hard to change. That and I bet some of the folks in the center of the country with a little common sense wouldn’t vote the way you do.
    So if you can’t change the Constitution what do you have?
    A councilman in Providence who just wants to take that right that “shall not be infringed” – regardless of whether that right is for the purpose of creating a militia – or not (and realize it doesn’t say “but what if we decide later we don’t have or use militias because the FBI would come and shoot at us if we did”) – and restrict all firearms.
    Here’s the deal. If you talked about “freedom of speech control” or “right to assemble control” or even better “right to vote control” – the obvious majority would say “how can you even say that”.

    So don’t you have your head in the sand if you want to just ignore what that 2nd Amendment does say, and what it doesn’t?

    Let’s put it in context.
    “A unregulated press being necessary, the right to free press shall not be infringed” – if it was written in that way, and we decided that “you know, that unregulated press is sort of old fashioned and we don’t use it anymore, so we can just throw away the second half of that written statement”. Nope doesn’t work that way. If you think, as probably we all do, that there are no militias so we don’t need them, will never need them again, and I’m totally happy with the Feds coming down on anyone who thought we needed a well regulated one next year – that doesn’t mean the shall not be infringed part means it SHALL BE infringed. It doesn’t just go away.
    Hey I might be surprised. Enough of the “popular at the time” supporters helped us get that really good and protective 18th Amendment. That shows we CAN Amend the thing if we think we need to. Not even 100 years ago even! Of course it also shows that we can then fix it when we Amend it but shouldn’t have. Not even a bad comparison – people dying of booze – we can simply restrict booze – think of how many lives we’ll save. All it takes is the support of the majority. I’d welcome that discussion. But until it’s had – don’t just step on the Amendment and say we can work around it because it’s old and talks about old ideas like militias. Change it, or talk about changing the Constitution. Not saying “F#$% the Constitution” and we should just ban every firearm. Or should I say infringe on the rights of others to have them, even when it says we shouldn’t.

  3. Transplant says:

    Patently false, and renders the rest of your anti-rights screeching unworthy of note. If you can’t even be bothered to learn the facts straight about the things you want to take away from law-abiding citizens, you don’t deserve to be heard.

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