Just when the reaction to two innocent lives being taken in Oregon by a man with an assault rifle was starting to lose traction in the media, an even worse tragedy occurred at an elementary school in Connecticut. There as we know – all too well – 26 innocent people, including 20 small children, were gunned down by a shooter. While it’s impossible to conceive of such a thing happening in the United States, the reality is that such senseless shootings have almost become commonplace. We may soon reach the point where the public considers a mass murder by a person with an assault rifle a “routine” occurrence. I hope that will never happen, but we may be getting pretty close to that point.
I have to wonder how many more such incidents must take place before our elected leaders wake up and realize that we badly need reasonable gun control in this country. I am sick and tired of listening to politicians who have been so afraid of the NRA – the powerful gun lobby – that they haven’t lifted a finger to even address the issue. Sadly, it took seeing the faces of the very young victims in the latest school slaughter to make most Americans realize that we have a grave problem facing our nation that must be solved. We must bring some sanity to the gun control issue, an issue that even escaped serious debate in the recent Presidential election, and we must do it now.
We need men and women in elected office who will take action on gun control both on the national and state levels. There is no logical reason to allow individuals to purchase assault rifles with magazines that hold 30 bullets. In fact, anybody can go online and purchase magazines or clips that will hold 50 and even 100 rounds. The ban on assault weapons must be reinstated by Congress at the earliest opportunity. Laws relating to gun registration must also be strengthened, and we must also make changes in how we regulate gun show sales. We have a monumental crisis in this country and we must take all necessary actions required to bring things under control. President Obama has appointed a task force, headed by Vice President Biden, to come up with specific proposals to reduce gun violence. That is good news.
But controlling guns isn’t the only problem. We have allowed ulta-violent video games, television shows and movies to become readily available to people on a daily basis. There is virtually no control over any of them, either as to content or availability, and that must change. We have also seen state governments sharply reduce spending in the area of mental health counseling. It makes sense to refocus our attention on preventative mental health care and that will require adequate funding. I also believe that bullying in schools could be a factor when a youngster who has been bullied takes bizarre and violent actions. All of these potential contributing factors must be addressed in a long-range look at the problem. But the gun aspect must be dealt with now. We can’t afford to react to the Connecticut school massacre like we have to other similar gun-related incidents in the past. We must do more than just talk. We must take action and do it without delay. The future of our nation depends on it!
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