Editorial: Stop the guns, slow down the massacres

Posted 8/22/19

There are myriad ways to explain the epidemic of mass executions in this country. There’s a growing mental health crisis, with overworked advocates, providers and social workers struggling to …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Not a subscriber?


Start a Subscription

Sign up to start a subscription today! Click here to see your options.

Purchase a day pass

Purchase 24 hours of website access for $2. Click here to continue

Day pass subscribers

Are you a day pass subscriber who needs to log in? Click here to continue.


Editorial: Stop the guns, slow down the massacres

Posted

There are myriad ways to explain the epidemic of mass executions in this country. There’s a growing mental health crisis, with overworked advocates, providers and social workers struggling to manage excessive caseloads.

Video games desensitize the horrors of maiming and killing — witness the sickening sight of an 8-year-old killing his way through a Fortnite battlefield.

Racist vitriol is prevalent, and with the wonders of modern communication, anyone with electricity and a WiFi signal can fuel hatred of other races or beliefs.

Then there’s the woeful state of public discourse, which has sunk to an all-time low. Far too many people refuse to even acknowledge someone of the opposite opinion, nevermind show respect and listen to other points of view.

This nation is simmering with far too many explanations for these shockingly violent attacks.

And then there’s the one unmistakable constant in all mass shootings — the guns.

Too many people have too easy access to the instruments of mass casualty and carnage. Consider the shooter in Dayton, Ohio, a couple of weeks ago. A mere 30 seconds separated his first shot from his own death, when he has gunned down by police officers patrolling the same street where he launched his attack. Yet in 30 seconds, he executed nine people and sent dozen to hospitals while using high-capacity magazines with the potential to fire 250 bullets.

In an El Paso, Texas, Walmart, a shooter executed 22 people within minutes. The youngest wounded was 2 years old; a 15-year-old boy was executed with a single shot to the head; the store was crowded with thousands of people, some lured by back-to-school shopping promotions.

Unencumbered by the need to re-load, carry multiple weapons or pause in their killing spree, potentially opening themselves to counterattacks, shooters can kill in horrific bursts. Using military-style weapons, assault rifles and large-capacity magazines, they can kill with incredible efficiency.

Yet despite the obvious connection between these weapons and the deadliest assaults in American history — El Paso is now the sixth-deadliest on record — only nine states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws outlawing large capacity ammunition magazines. They are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont. All of these, except Colorado and Vermont, also ban assault weapons.

While the nation must improve its mental health system, raise children who are not addicted to violent video games, and engage all races, creeds and beliefs in better, more productive relationships, it will mean nothing if these weapons continue to be sold over the counter, or worse yet, over the internet. These guns belong in the hands of police officers and soldiers, and not in the hands of any private citizens.

Removing the guns will not stop the violence, but it will reduce the casualties.

2020 by East Bay Newspapers

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
Meet our staff
Scott Pickering

Scott Pickering has been on the East Bay Newspapers team for more than two decades, since starting as a reporter for the Sakonnet Times. He's been editor of most of the papers, was Managing Editor of all the papers for many years, and became General Manager in 2012. Today he can be found posting to EastBayRI.com, steering news coverage, writing editorials, talking to readers, working with the sales team, collaborating on design, or helping do whatever it takes to get the papers out the door. Reach him at spickering@eastbaynewspapers.com.