Tag Archives: gun control

Tone and Timing are Important in gun discussion following horrific tragedy

The acts were unthinkable, the tragedy incomprehensible and the evil unconscionable. If you were frightened and confused after Aurora, you were devastated and depressed after a monster opened fire in a kindergarten class.

Many lamented it was hard to even believe the crimes committed in Newton on Friday were perpetrated by anyone even close to human.

After texting and calling as many of my friends as I could to tell them how much I cared about them, I sat at my kitchen table, my head in my hands and cried.

I hadn’t lost any loved ones. I only know a handful of people who even live in Connecticut, but as a human being I was shaken to my very core. I was physically in pain over this.

So when person after person in my social media timelines took to snarky, “I told you so” gun law rants, I was blind with rage that they would be so insensitive.

We were just a few hours after an unspeakable tragedy and already this had become a political argument, and more than that it was a condescending, sarcastic conversation.

As Tommy Christopher points out (and if you read this blog you know Mr. Christopher and I rarely agree) you are allowed to react however you want to this tragedy and if you want to talk about gun control that’s fine.

Just a few hours later, Christopher, after watching S.E. Cupp break down on MSNBC trying to tell this story, used a more measured tone to admit that not only is it important that we talk about the issues at hand here, but how we do it.

It’s understandable for someone to jump from “What a horrible tragedy this is,” to “This could have been a lot less horrific if the shooter hadn’t been allowed to have an assault rifle.”

But saying something like, “Is this a good time to talk about gun control?” is condescending and perverse. This sort of self-adulation has no place in the moments immediately following a tragedy. Why would anyone want to play the “I told you so” game when 20 kindergartners are dead?

Furthermore, there were people screaming all over Twitter and Facebook, “Gun control.” Ok. What does that mean? What do you want to see changed? And to those wondering about the timing of the discussion, we’ve been talking about gun control for 100 years. As long as there have been guns, there have been discussions about gun control.

If you weren’t involved in the discussion, that’s on you, but no one was preventing you from being involved. There are myriad anti-gun groups you could have joined, dozens of elected representatives you could call and e-mail. Don’t blame the world because you weren’t involved and even worse, don’t be a sarcastic prick when dozens of families were devastated by a mentally unstable vehicle of pure evil.

I was glad to see so many people were ready to blame our gutless politicians for failing to stand up to the NRA on things like extended clips and assault rifles. Check out what a .223 caliber rifle looks like and tell me if you think a 20-year-old (or any civilian) should own one.

But can we wait an hour or two after we know the facts to start having that discussion? It’s incoherent to me how anyone’s first reaction was “POLITICS” when my first reaction was searing pain and despair for the families, and I’m as political a person as you’ll meet.

What I was disappointed, but not surprised to see, was how easily those who yelled about gun control were to shirk responsibility for their own actions. President Obama has been rated by gun control advocates as worse than President George W. Bush who was a gun-owner himself.

Since 2007, six of the 12 worst shootings in U.S. history have occurred. In other words, almost half of the deadliest days in U.S. history took place under the watch of Barack Obama.

Where has his leadership been on this issue? If you want to talk politics, where is the Nobel Peace Prize winner when his own city of Chicago is more dangerous than the streets of Kabul right now?

The National Journal insisted that the discussion about gun laws had to start at the top. We’ll see if this is a seminal moment in the gun law discussion. I hope, for everyone’s sake that it is.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was critical of the president for not speaking out more forcefully against guns.

As much as I hope some good can come from this tragedy, I would never say that I hoped this would create ‘political capital’ like Alex Wagner did on MSNBC.

To the left, everything can be used for political gain, as Chris Matthews reminded us when he said he was glad for Hurricane Sandy because it helped President Obama win re-election.

I don’t want to make this about left and right, Democrat and Republican because I would hope on a day like today we could all recognize the urgent need to do something about the violence in this country.

Gun laws are not the only piece to the puzzle, it’s irrefutable that there is a cultural issue at play here. Poor parenting and a culture of entitlement have lead us down this path. People believe the world owes them and when the world doesn’t deliver, they freak out.

The entitlement culture has to end and that is part political, part societal and each perpetuates the other.

Gun control is one step. Taking away all guns isn’t an answer, but we can’t be so afraid to infringe on the Second Amendment – extended clip restrictions and semi-automatic assault rifle bans for civilians wouldn’t do that – that we take no action at all.

We cannot be paralyzed by this tragedy, we must be galvanized by it. Furthermore, we cannot let it divide us along partisan lines because everyone’s goal is the same: peace. We have to find ways to achieve that as a collective, or we will surely fall further and further into the dystopian hell we are building.

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Failures of gun bans and stricter laws leave us wondering what’s next?

Lax gun laws did not cause Wade Michael Page to fly off the handle and go on a killing spree at a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, WI.

His hatred and bigotous outrage did.

The tragedy of this unspeakable act cannot be understated, but it seems reckless to throw wild claims about gun laws in its wake.

In plain terms I’ll ask, “What else can we do?”

Earlier this week, I argued about the nonsensical arguments being made by the left about gun laws.

Men like Page and James Holmes, the shooter in Aurora, bought their guns legally and never tripped any governmental wires in the process.

Short of banning hand guns and assault rifles, what more can we really do to stop violent crime like this?

Before that question is addressed, let me remind you that violent crime in the United States is actually at a 50 year low.

The Federal Assault Weapons Ban in 1994 did turn the trend of violence in America downward, but the trend has continued even after the sunset provision ended nearly 8 years ago.

In England, where handguns were banned nearly 20 years ago, violence has steeply increased. In fact, that article in the Daily Mail cited gun crimes as increasing 89% from 2008 to 2009.

You’re now actually more likely to be a victim of crime in England than you are in the U.S., and the murder rates have grown closer over the last decade and a half.

A USA Today article in 2002 cited the failures of Austalian gun bans as well saying:

Since Australia’s 1996 laws banning most guns and making it a crime to use a gun defensively, armed robberies rose by 51%, unarmed robberies by 37%, assaults by 24% and kidnappings by 43%. While murders fell by 3%, manslaughter rose by 16%.

– USA Today ‘Gun laws don’t reduce crime’

Countries with low gun ownership like Switzerland and France actually have higher rates of gun violence than the United States (See the table at the bottom of the link).

Gun violence in the United States has a sorted past. We know about Fast and Furious and we see the gang violence all over the country, particularly the kind of year Chicago has had with what seems like an a tidal wave of homicides.  It’s worth pointing out, Cook County has a restrictive gun ban that has done literally nothing to quell the rising tide of gang-related gun violence.

Just saying we have a lower rate of gun violence than other countries is clearly insufficient. Furthermore, just because gun bans haven’t worked in other countries doesn’t mean we can’t take additional steps to make our country safer.

Unfortunately, too many district attorneys are not prosecuting felons who shouldn’t have guns but do, and courts have been lenient on too many of these cases.

It should not be the goal of anyone to prevent law-abiding citizens from purchasing guns. There are untenable arguments about limiting ammunition (specious claims given that the Sikh Temple shootings were carried out with a fully legal handgun and Page reportedly was taking down people with a single shot or two).

As an important aside, how many crimes do you hear committed by the armed-to-the-teeth quazi-militia groups in the south?

What is the solution? The reality is, you can’t prevent wingnuts from going nutty. It’s an unfortunate reality. People who do own guns legally absolutely must be responsible with them because most crimes committed with guns use illegal guns.

Many of those guns were stolen from people who purchased them lawfully, but couldn’t be bothered to properly secure them.

But it seems impractical to attempt to impose a penalty on someone if their gun, having been stolen from them, is then used in a crime, and its determined that person didn’t take proper care to lock or otherwise secure that gun.

Dealing with problems like poverty and education are much more likely to bring down violence as few people turn to crime as a way to deal with their lives.

It’s easier now to hear about these senseless shootings, and national media coverage makes them seem more frequent than they truly are.

The numbers, in terms of violent crimes, speak for themselves. In reality, we are safer now than our parents were growing up and yet we have more guns in the hands of our citizens than at any time in history.

Fix the real problems, rather than trying to find nonsensical arguments aimed at creating an impossible utopia.

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