Sunday, December 8, 2013

Guns on December 8th: then, now, .......and the future?
Lennon Murder scene

Mark Chapman,
Lennon's murderer

Today, December 8th, is the anniversary of several famous shootings, and the beginning of the week which marks the first anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre.

One of those famous tragic shootings was the murder of John Lennon on December 8, 1980.The other event was a spree-shooting, the Australian Queen Street massacre in 1987, one of the mass shootings that led to effective gun control in that country.  This mass shooting, combined with subsequent  Aussies decided they would do what was necessary rather than tolerate mass shootings by crazy people, angry people, armed people who wrongly think they know best.

Like the Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza, the Queen Street massacre shooter had a fascination with other mass shootings.  Like Adam Lanza, the Queen Street shooter used a legally purchased gun under the existing lax gun laws.

In the past week, lawyers for James Holmes, the alleged Aurora, Colorado shooter, who shot 70 people, killing 12, in a theater with legally purchased weapons are attempting to close court hearings on Holmes' sanity.  His lawyers are attempting to use a defense of not guilty by reason of insanity, and have sought additional psychiatric evaluation, which at least hints that the first evaluation to date did not find him insane under the law.

Congress last week passed a renewal of the law that prohibits plastic guns; unlike when the initial legislation was drafted, such guns can now be made on 3D printers and are undetectable by the metal detectors that are used to prevent people bringing guns into prohibited places.  Such guns have no other purpose than to kill people.  Such guns HAVE been made and used and continue to evolve. Gun control advocates want to revise the original legislation to reflect the current technology.  Pro-gun advocates don't want to do anything that might impede new gun manufacture and innovation, regardless of the use and purpose of such weapons.  The senate vote is scheduled for tomorrow.

These events underline that the choice.  Between the mass shooting spree in 1987 and the passage of strict gun control laws in Australia in 1996, after the Port Arthur mass shooting, there were 7 such mass shootings.  That was sufficient for Australia to take action.  There have been ZERO mass shootings since the Port Arthur tragedy.

Since the Sandy Hook tragedy last December we have had 26 additional mass shootings.

When will we do what is necessary to end gun violence?  When will we have the political will to do what it takes?  Australia is still as safe or safer than it was with lax gun laws in 1987; Australia still has hunting with guns, and gun sports, just no more mass shootings.  Gun accidents declined, gun suicides declined, gun homicides declined.  Armed robbery did not skyrocket.  Assault rates did not change because of fewer guns for self-defense.

We can make the same change for the better; but we have to decide that human life is more important than guns.  All w have to do is decide we don't want any more mass shootings, any more day in day out gun violence.

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