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"Enough of Blood and Tears..."

It's time to revisit gun laws

So said Yitzak Rabin in 1993 when trying to frame a peace with PLO leader Yasser Arafat.  After the horrific deaths of twenty first graders and six of the teachers who bravely defended their students, there isn’t a better principal on which to found a discussion of solutions to the gun violence that uniquely plagues our country.

I don’t have any big solutions.  I wish I did.  But President Obama was right to say we can no longer sit by and do nothing.  The place to begin is with an honest discussion, all stakeholders represented, all stakeholders heard out, and all stakeholders listening with open hearts and minds.

A lot has been said in the media about what could or should or can’t or must not be done, and I suspect I’m not the only person who, listening to all the comment, feels overwhelmed.  But we must not be discouraged, we must not do nothing.  We must think and listen and then speak, to each other and to our elected representatives.

No matter what we do as a nation, there will always be murders, and some of them will be mass murders.  But rejecting any but a perfect solution leaves us where we are now: at the mercy of an escalating madness.  There are those who say there’s no point in doing anything because the bad guys will always be able to get guns.  Perhaps.  But we, as a nation, can make it more difficult to get them, and at least prevent some deaths.

There are those who say it’s impossible to anticipate what crazy people may do, impossible to discover a crazy person before his plotting turns into action, so don’t bother to do anything.  Maybe, but we can, as a nation, do a much better job on mental health care if we have the will to make that a priority.  And we must make that a priority. That, too, might make some difference.

We already have certain gun control measures in place.  We have a law that requires dealers at sporting goods stores, Walmart, etc. to do a background check before selling a firearm to anyone.  But at gun shows or on the internet no checks are required.  Where’s the logic in that?  The technology exists to make background checks on all purchasers possible.  If we need background checks for a gun purchase at Walmart (and I think we do) then we need them for every gun purchase.  We can do that.

Why can’t the average citizen get a machine gun or a bazooka or a howitzer?  In the wrong hands, such hardware could produce terrible mayhem.  The mayhem wreaked on Newtown, Connecticut’s children was as terrible as it was because the shooter had a rifle based very closely on the Army’s M-16. It isn’t fully automatic, but it is capable of firing one round per second and comes with clips that can hold thirty bullets. It was designed to do maximum soft-tissue damage, to kill people as quickly and efficiently as possible.  That makes sense for a weapon of war, but has no place in civilian life.  Was the slaughter of twenty little boys and girls not terrible enough to inspire a resumption of the assault weapon ban?  Was the slaughter not terrible enough to inspire a ban on magazines that hold no more than six bullets?  No more than ten?

Can’t we come together, right and left, liberal and conservative, manufacturer and consumer and take action that may at least prevent some of the carnage?  Columbine, Virginia Tech, Tucson, Aurora, Sandy Hook Elementary. Haven’t we had enough of blood and tears?

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Rose Rowland December 20, 2012 at 12:20 PM
What drives me crazy - absolutely crazy - is that the tenor is this is the same as if these children were taken in a natural tragedy. They weren't. They were killed because we as a nation have allowed ourselves to be bullied by the NRA and their PR machine into allowing as many and as lethal guns on the streets as fast as they can be sold. We must promote this, we must sign petitions (mine is at wh.gov/Refn) we must make noise before the NRA starts their pushback on Thursday. We are the majority. We should not be the silent majority.
joshua tanner December 20, 2012 at 01:49 PM
I want to see the gangs stripped of their guns before I want to hear about more laws for the law abiding. 20 white kids get killed and the media has a daily orgy of voyeuristic coverage they seemed thrilled to be able produce. Meanwhile innocent kids in gang areas have been getting killed with illegal guns for years without much sturm and drang
jo December 21, 2012 at 12:55 PM
my weapon is legal.. and I attend on keeping it..
Teleman December 24, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Here all along I thought they were killed by by a mentally ill 20 year old who killed his own mother to access her firearms.
Walden Macnair December 24, 2012 at 11:05 PM
The NYPD just released a report. Between 1966 and 2012 there were 281 Active Shooter incidents in the United States. The number two country was Canada with 8. Canadians and Americans both watch video games and movies. So what's different between the two countries? Answer: Availability of guns. Now do you understand?

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