- Phyllis H. Moore
It Will Happen Again
It will happen again. It will be in a school, a theater, a church, a mall, at a concert, any where people are gathered. It will happen because we are fascinated with guns and violence and the right to do what we want to do. We are a country of rights and capitalism and violence. We relish being the US in the game of us against them. It's our country, our flag, our team, our state. WE always know best because we are better stronger, more patriotic, right, and we often roll all of that up into something religious to make it sound noble. WE don't walk in anyone else's shoes because we're so proud of our own. WE don't listen because we're too busy thinking about what we're going to say, because what we intend to say is more important because we are who we are. Not everyone gets to be WE. You have to be the right color, don't question our rights--the ones written a couple of centuries ago--and for heavens sake don't tell us how your prophet gets you to the same God. But it's not working. We're not better. Our country is supposed to be strong and lead, but we're killing our young. We're doing it by their own hands with an object we covet because it's swaddled in fear and power. We need help.
Some say, and they happen to be our elected officials, we need more guns, teachers can be a part of a well organized militia, good guys need to out gun the mentally ill, schools need fewer entrances, guns don't kill people, people kill people, kids are violent because they play violent video games, kids have been spoiled by "everyone gets a trophy", kids have taken too much Ritalin, kids have eaten too much fast food. . . So, the last time I checked the adults were in positions of making laws, prescribing medication, setting policy, designing buildings, conducting research, etc. Come on big people, what's really going on here? Why is the US the only country where this continues unchecked, even when so many people are begging for change, when the very children involved are marching on Washington demanding change. What is clear, is that the continued violence against school children, concert goers, worshipers, shoppers, etc. is not a priority for leaders at a national level. So, if anyone really cares, they can vote these so-called leaders out of office. They are not doing their jobs. They are not responding to voices asking for change.
Maybe, those leaders don't know what to do. It never occurred to me we would have to think for them also. I have lowered my standard of expectations concerning these people. It makes me sick to my stomach. They are responding to organizations influencing them with money, lobbies with endless backing. The electorate has no chance to compete for attention with these heavily funded organizations. So what's the answer? Does anyone have solutions? I have some suggestions:
1. Changes have to be made about the way students access their campuses. The freedom to come and go without passing through a metal detector is over. Schools must become more like high security buildings. I have no idea where the money for that will come from. Maybe a heavy tax on guns and ammunition, the way cigarettes and alcohol are taxed because they kill people
2. Parents of children caught with weapons need to be jailed until they can post a high bond and verify the supplier of the weapon. It doesn't matter if they didn't have anything to do with it. They need to know what their child is doing and be well aware of the child's ability to have possession of a weapon. There are compulsory school attendance laws. There can be compulsory "Give a Shit About What Your Kid's Doing" laws.
3. Guns must be registered and insurance must be purchased for any weapon that shoots any kind of ammunition. We are required to insure vehicles, we can do the same for weapons. If the weapon is used in a mass shooting, the owner of the weapon will suffer the same consequence as the shooter. If the weapon is uninsured, the owner of the weapon's fine and sentence are doubled. Let the insurance lobby and the NRA duke it out about how this is going to work. By the time they get finished, no one will be able to afford a gun, kind of similar to how we can't afford health insurance. And, by the way health care costs increase because of injuries related to gun violence.
4. Purchase of assault weapons is restricted. We need reasonable gun reform. There is no reason for a citizen to have an assault weapon. If for some reason a private citizen thinks they need an assault weapon to kill feral hogs on their property, they must provide the evidence they indeed have a hog problem with an inspection by an officer with the State Agriculture Department. The State must issue permission in writing, noting that the owner of the weapon must secure insurance for the weapon and if it is used in a mass shooting any time in the future, they will be subject to the consequences above. It's a pay to play situation.
5. Allow the CDC to resume the study of effects of gun violence: health costs, deaths, correlation between ownership of weapons and the occurrence of shooting deaths, etc. We need numbers. Yes, the administration doesn't believe in science, but plenty of smart people with answers do. Compared to more than twenty other high-income countries, the US murder rate by guns is twenty percent higher. Although our suicide rate is about the same as these countries, suicide by gun is eight times higher. A study published in the American Journal of Medicine shows our guns are killing us instead of protecting us.
6. Anyone unhappy with the requirements to own a weapon can turn their weapons in to law enforcement. We are forced to choose between the safety of our citizens and an outdated amendment that can still be honored but protect lives.
Here's the deal. We didn't want to wear seat belts, but we do. It saves lives. We know tobacco kills, so people quit smoking and there had to be big law suits to get the tobacco industry to take responsibility. The same thing will probably have to happen to the pharmaceutical industry with opioids. The same attorney seems to be willing to take on that cause. If someone could just do this with weapons they could be the real hero. Cigarettes don't kill, people kill. Opioids don't kill, people kill. Automobiles don't kill, people kill, guns don't kill, people kill. The response that more guns in the hands of school personnel is the answer to mass shootings makes no sense. Ask anyone in the military what cross fire can do in that situation, not to mention the chance of accidents and a weapon being taken.
We need responsible, viable alternatives to deal with this issue and it looks like it's going to have to happen at the state level because our leaders at the federal level do not think this is a priority. They've made that clear. So far, Elizabeth Warren is the only one I've heard say she will not take money from the NRA in her upcoming election. It has to be about trade, or money, or flaunting our fire and fury to garner attention (this is a big part of our problem, in my opinion). I'm sure plenty of people have some good ideas. We have to start on what we can agree on and I'm sure plenty of people will not agree with the above points. What I know for sure is the common denominator in mass shootings is GUNS, and mostly assault weapons. What's your answer? That's all I've got. But I'll put it out there again until something is done
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