Thursday, June 16, 2016

Honor, Integrity and Gun-Enabled Violence

There is much to reflect upon whenever a tragedy happens.  What we should focus on is easing the pain to the extent any easing can be done.  We should try to provide some justice so that the tragedy can be avoided if that is even possible. We should for a way to bridge the divide that caused the hate to develop.
When I look at the reaction of various groups to the Orlando massacre, I see most people wanting to do nearly all of this.  A few, like Donald Trump, seek to use it for political advantage, some others seek to use it to make false claims about “gun free zones.”  A number of others, like the NRA, seek to get ahead of any outcry and so make some false claims, using misleading statistics, about crime and gun violence.
I won’t compound the rancor with more of the same.  I will simply say that the NRA and its supporters in Congress are wrong to ONLY offer up that they’ll modify the law to include people on the “No Fly” list as those who can’t buy firearms.  That misses the mark by a long way.  It’s not just access to firearms, it’s the type.
The high capacity magazine and semi-automatic “assault” rifle are really more to blame than any hole in the “No Fly” list.  The gun-show loophole is equally a part of the problem in allowing for straw purchases for reselling firearms to criminals.  The weapon type and magazine point should be what we are discussing, not the political theater of the “No Fly/No Buy” bill.  That bill is pablum and would never have stopped Omar Mateen.  It would never have stopped the shooter at Sandy Hook, or San Bernadino, or Aurora Colorado, or Virginia Tech or Gabby Gifford's shooter. 
That said, it’s not a bad thing to do, but it’s far short of enough, enough to offer the victims justice, their families solace, and the nation some meaningful improvement in safety.
Instead it’s time to admit assault weapons and high capacity magazines are not needed by civilians for home defense.  It’s past time to close the gun-show loophole nationally.  It’s time to require the national database to be universally implemented and enough time for it to be accessed prior to the completion of a sale.

These aren’t even hard measures.   

They will curtail gun sales; so the gun lobby and their mouthpiece, the NRA, will hate it.  But, in response to a tragedy, we have the obligation to the dead and their loved-ones to stop pointing fingers and do that which we’ve known for a long time needed doing. 

We have an obligation to the living, to keep them safe from further mass shootings. 

We have an obligation to our first responders to minimize the number of both mass shootings and the frequency of smaller 'every-day' shootings that put their life and limbs in harm's way.  Other countries do not have the frequency of violent death that is experienced by our law enforcement and first responders, who should be the ultimate 'good guys' of our society, deserving of our protection through regulation. Instead we put them in an on the street weapons race of firepower.

This isn’t knee-jerk legislation, it’s finally pushing aside political resistance we should never have let stop us in the first place.   Honor requires it, decency pleads for it, and the memory of the dead demands it.  Our choice is intelligent pragmatism that addresses facts and uses logic, or foolish ideology that ignores and denies a violent reality.

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