Let’s talk about guns – it is time
When are we going to have the conversation about guns? After Columbine the pro-gun folks said, “It’s not the right time.”
After Gabrielle Giffords was shot in Arizona, again, “It’s not the right time.”
Citizens attending a movie premier in Colorado were shot in their seats; Sikhs were murdered at their temple in Wisconsin. Again pro-gun folks said, “It’s not the right time.”
On Friday, 26 people in Connecticut, 20 of whom were children, were murdered with an assault weapon while at school. We cannot wait to hear again from the pro-gun lobby, gun manufacturers, and politicians keen to keep the pro-gun vote, that it is not the right time to talk about the gun problem in the U.S.
It is the right time. Why are we making this a political issue instead an issue about doing the right thing to help humans flourish? What are we waiting for – for every American school to experience a shooting, every movie theatre shot up, more co-workers killed by disgruntled colleagues, inner-city youths murdered, politicians gunned down?
When exactly is the right time for the profits of gun manufacturers to become a secondary priority to civic safety?
I challenge anyone to explain why any person outside of the military or law enforcement would possibly need an assault weapon. The fall back excuse of honoring our right to bear arms, as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the Constitution, is no longer a sufficient answer.
Automatic assault weapons were neither available nor envisioned in 1791 when that amendment was adopted.
And the conversation must – yes must – go beyond ownership. It must take on manufacture. We don’t allow chemical weapons to be produced and sold to anyone who can obtain a “permit” – those are kept for warfare. Why then shouldn’t the manufacture of assault weapons be thusly limited, when both have the same specific, and unique, capability – mass killing?
The talking head experts in the media – whichever media one listens to or views – always are quick to state that there is not a “profile” of a shooter. For each incident there may or may not have been present mental illness, anger, rage, bullying history, social ostracism, parental neglect, sexual abuse, etc. However, in almost all cases, the shooters are men, and often young men. This is not a sexist remark, it is a fact. What does this mean; how do we deal with this?
When airplanes were used as murder weapons on 9/11, we quickly changed the screening process of booking and buying airline tickets, enhanced security measures at airports and within airplanes themselves. We can change our procedures when great risk is present. Why are we, as a nation, unwilling to do this now with these very risky weapons capable of mass killing? ?Curtailment of manufacture, ownership, age accessibility, penalties for possession, and other elements must all be part of the discussion in a civil society.
I am one small person, one small voice, in one small town in America. I have little political power or financial ability to lobby for tighter rules on the selling and manufacture of guns. But, fellow citizens, if we continue to allow the financially powerful, profit-driven gun lobby to always prevail, gun usage against innocent people will not decline; this madness will persist.
Please initiate your own call to action; write your representatives, protest, destroy the assault weapon you already own as it could be stolen and used in this most violent of manners. Sell the stock you own in companies that manufacture guns. Do something. It is time.
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Anne O’Brien is a resident of Glen Ellen.