Another day. Another school shooting. Welcome to modern day America.
Yesterday was Valentine’s Day in the U.S. The day that Christians once would have celebrated a mysterious Saint Valentine and a day that pagans celebrate as Lupercalia. Yesterday marked the 89th anniversary of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre where seven of Bugs Moran’s men were shot to death on a street in Chicago. And yesterday was the day that a disturbed young man named Nikolas Cruz snuck onto a Florida high school campus and opened fire on students and teachers killing 17 innocent people and wounding several others. Not exactly a day of wine and roses.
As of this morning, February 15th, we are 46 days into the new year and we have already witnessed 18 school shootings in the U.S. We are averaging a new school shooting every 2.5 days in this country. (see edit at end of article) When it is time to say “enough is enough”?
Republican congressman (and republicans, by extension) keep telling us that “now is not the time to talk about gun control”. They say this after every school shooting or mass murder committed with a firearm. They said it after the Las Vegas massacre. Marco Rubio is saying is now. It wasn’t the time after Sandy Hook or after any one of the 290+ school shootings that have taken place since. So, exactly when is the time to discuss common sense gun control for our country?
When I say “common sense gun control” I’m not talking about a full ban on guns. I would say that 99% of the Americans who are calling for gun control don’t mean gun bans. Common sense, not bans. After a 1996 mass killing in Tasmania, the Australian government “banned automatic and semiautomatic firearms, adopted new licensing requirements, established a national firearms registry, and instituted a 28-day waiting period for gun purchases. It also bought and destroyed more than 600,000 civilian-owned firearms, in a scheme that cost half a billion dollars and was funded by raising taxes.” (article) The entire overhaul, Friedman pointed out, took just months to implement.” Common sense. We want to see legislation passed that makes sense pertaining to weapons that were created with the sole purpose of killing.
You might argue that knives kill people, so we should ban knives, cars kill people so we should ban cars or fertilizer makes bombs we should ban that, too. Here’s the problem with that “logic”, though, none of those things were invented with the sole purpose of killing. They can. That’s not their purpose. When a person points a gun at another living creature they have one goal: kill… or maybe just maim. When a person gets in their car they may do so with the intention of killing or maiming others, but that car is, 99% of the time, not being utilized as a weapon; same with knives, same with fertilizer, same with anything else that someone might choose to turn into a weapon. See the difference? Guns are a weapon. Other items are turned into weapons.
Those of us that are calling for common sense gun control also recognize that we in the U.S. have a constitutional right to bear arms. We do not begrudge anyone this right. What we do take exception to is the idea that the second amendment should cover our right to own weapons such as the AR-15s that are so regularly used to commit the horrific mass murders like those in Las Vegas, San Bernardino, Orlando and the one in Parkland, Florida yesterday. The AR-15 and other weapons like it are not necessary for the everyday American and gun enthusiast to own and use for target practice (or hunting or self-defense and home protection). They are created and utilized to cause as much damage (and death) as possible. You want a handgun? Fine. A shotgun? Whatever. A single-action rifle? Knock yourself out. We aren’t looking to take them away from you.
Yesterday was what has become just another day in modern America. Another day. Another school shooting. It was another day that I watched in horror as they tallied the body count while they showed images of frantic children and their parents running around in search of one another and I was grateful that my daughter is home-schooled. It was another day where a human being with easy access to semi-automatic weapons killed yet another 17 people. It was another day that another politician stated that it’s “too soon to talk about” gun control in this great nation.
It’s been over five years since Sandy Hook, over two years since San Bernardino, almost two years since Orlando and four months since Las Vegas. When will it be time to talk about it?
edited to add: According to the news we have not had 18 school shootings so far this year. We have had 8 in the first 45 days. That is still an average of one every 5.5 days. Are those odds you are willing to take with your child?