The Real Emergency
Here we go again.
Another day. Another mass shooting. Five workers killed and five police officers wounded in Aurora, Illinois. Four shot and killed in Mississippi.
Lots of “thoughts and prayers” and “condolences” offered up by disingenuous politicians..
It’s hard to believe, but these horrible episodes are becoming so frequent now that we have to differentiate between two separate “Aurora” massacres…last week’s shooting in Aurora, Illinois, and the mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado, seven years ago, when a gunman opened fire in a theatre, killing 12 people and wounding 70.
How sick is that?
In the most recent “Aurora,” the shooter was a felon who shouldn’t have had access to a gun. But anyone can get a gun in America.
There are loopholes in background checks. There are lapses in enforcement. And there are plenty of gun shows and arms dealers who consider it their sacred duty to protect “Second Amendment rights.” Somehow, it’s a constraint on individual liberties to force a buyer to submit to a background check or limit the size of his magazine.
Tell that to one of the Parkland parents.
No other advanced country in the world has this problem. Mass shootings have become so commonplace in our society that we’ve begun to accept them as almost “normal.” We’ve become numb to the carnage, now occurring on almost a daily basis, and we’ve had to accept the sad reality that gun violence is a fact of life in the U.S.A. It can happen anywhere, anytime.
We lose almost 40,000 Americans a year to murders, suicides and accidents involving guns. Contrast that, for example, with Japan, where the total is a mere 50. That’s not a typo. Just under 40,000 in the U.S., just 50 in Japan.
In fact, the total number of gun deaths in Japan, the UK, Sweden, Switzerland, Canada and Australia—six countries whose combined population approaches ours—is about 800. That’s 2% of our shameful total.
Why do we continue to allow this to happen? Why can’t we institute universal background checks, ban assault weapons, and limit the capacity of gun clips?
It’s easy to blame the NRA, which essentially bribes politicians to oppose any gun control legislation and hopes to arm teachers and church ushers, but whose members, ironically enough, overwhelmingly support common sense gun laws.
No, the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of legislators in Washington, D.C. who accept big checks from the gun lobby and shrug off schoolyard massacres.
They did nothing in the wake of Sandy Hook. Nothing in the wake of Parkland. And while a new Democratic majority in the House will pass gun control bills, the Republican-controlled Senate is unlikely to approve them.
In fact, two of the gun nuts in that august body—Utah’s Mike Lee and Texas’ Ted Cruz—just re-introduced legislation to remove all federal regulations on gun silencers.
I’d be remiss if I failed to mention our NRA-backed president, who last week declared a national emergency so he can build a wall at our southern border.
We have an emergency in America, all right, but it doesn’t have anything to do with illegal immigrants, drugs and criminals “infesting” our country from the south.
By the president’s own admission, illegal border crossings are at a 45-year low. ICE and
homeland security officials report that 90% of drugs come in through regular points of entry. And most of the folks showing up at our border aren’t criminals, but women and children seeking asylum from violence and oppression in their own country.
So instead of inventing a phony emergency at the border, perhaps we should address the real emergency inside our border.
One that claims the lives of 40,000 Americans every year. One that has made our schools, churches, theaters, shopping centers, concert venues and workplaces unsafe.
One that has become a sickening national disgrace.