We’re tired of the endless stories of mass shootings in the United States.
We’re tired the helpless feeling that sweeps over us with the details of each new shooting.
We’re tired of politicians impotently offering thoughts and prayers to the families of victims, but lacking the courage to do something about the carnage.
We’re tired of the finger-pointing and the blame games being played.
We’re tired of making the horrid calculation of how many dead bodies there needs to be before this story warrants front-page treatment.
We’re tired of guessing where, and when, the next attack will be.
We’re tired of living in fear that the next deadly attack could be in our backyard, that the next victims could be our spouses, our parents, our children or our friends.
We’re especially tired of people dancing around the issue, looking for anything to blame but the obvious.
People in other countries play violent video games. People in other countries have mental health issues. But, only one country in the industrialized world deals with mass shootings on what feels like a weekly basis.
The one variable that sets us apart, the ready availability of high-powered weapons.
We’re also tired of the specious arguments that invariably follow such a straightforward statement. We’re not interested in a semantic arguments over what constitutes an assault weapon. We just know that a weapon capable of killing nine people in 30 seconds or less doesn’t need to be in the hands of a civilian. In the very least, it’s shouldn’t be in the hands of a civilian who should not own weapons.
We’re tired of the inevitable suggestion that automobiles should be illegal because of the number of highway deaths. Mass murderers use high powered weapons for the purpose of killing as many people as efficiently as they can. There is nothing accidental about these mass killings. The gun-to-automobile comparison is illogical on its face.
We’re tired of hearing how countries like Israel and Switzerland have high gun ownership rates, a fact that supposedly proves that guns aren’t the root cause of this epidemic. Both countries do have high rates of gun ownership, however, the guns are tightly regulated before and after purchase. It’s not a matter of going to a sporting goods store and passing a cursory background check.
We’re tired of being accused of wanting to confiscate guns. We’re not for that, and we’re not saying that.
We don’t care how large your gun case is. We don’t care about your hunting rifles, your shotguns or your handguns.
What we do care about large-caliber semi-automatic rifles outfitted with magazines holding up to 100 rounds. The killer in this week’s mass murder in Ohio legally purchased a pistol. It was modified with a longer barrel and equipped with a magazine capable of holding 100 rounds. The shooting spree lasted about 30 seconds before the shooter was killed by police.
Police counted at least 41 spent shell casings from the killer’s gun … 41 shots in 30 seconds.
“To have that level of weaponry in a civilian environment, unregulated, it is problematic,” Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl said in a news conference the next day.
Problematic? At the very least.
America can have common sense regulations that do not violate the Second Amendment. Fully automatic weapons were outlawed years ago, a restriction upheld by the Supreme Court.
A recent Gallup Poll suggests about 93 percent of Americans support universal background checks. So, why is nothing being done?
The National Rifle Association is still a powerful force. The NRA pours money into campaigns and runs ads against candidates who aren’t staunchly pro-gun.
Although as citizens, we may feel helpless in this matter, that’s not the case. Write your local legislators and tell them you are also tired of the carnage.
Remind them they can write, and/or support, legislation that will make us safer that does not violate the Second Amendment. And let us know, too. We don’t have all the answers, either. Write a Letter to the Editor. All great ideas have to start somewhere.
It is way past time all sides come together and start coming up with answers. This isn’t a party thing. This isn’t about the letter behind your name. This is about finding a way — any way — to stop the carnage of the mass shootings that are happening within our borders.
Because we’re tired of the alternative.
The Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, Sunday