Commentary: It's all about the guns
We are hearing sound bites telling us that the most recent massacre was the result of mental illness or some other deep seated psychological problem and that the fact that a gun was used was just incidental. All I can say is, "That's a bunch of crap." Guns kill and anyone who uses a gun for purposes other than warfare, police action or hunting is a potential murderer.
This country has an epidemic of killings by gunfire. The numbers are staggering and yet the political process is mired in excuses because politicians would rather protect their re-election chances than risk offending the NRA or American gun owners.
Imagine if we had an epidemic of a new organism that was killing people at the same rate that people with guns are murdering Americans. Epidemiologists would quickly mount their forces and they would try to identify the cause of disease and death.
Those scientists would also figure out how the disease is transmitted and they would develop strategies to rid us of the offending organism. In other words, there would be a logical and well developed effort to contain the disease and possibly eliminate it.
No one would say that the real problem is not the organism, but the people who spread the disease. Of course, that might happen to some degree because we still have a lot of ignorant people in this country who refuse to accept any view of reality that does not include their own prejudiced thinking.
The initial years of the AIDS epidemic taught us that people can focus on the wrong issues when it comes to the spread of disease, so we have to be prepared to deal with that kind of diversion. But the real cause of the AIDS epidemic was the result of a virus and we have come a long way in dealing with that virus.
Yet, when it comes to the epidemic of death caused by guns we do not seem willing to accept the fact that guns are the cause of death. There are a million excuses for not understanding that if this country moves to severely restrict the possession and use of firearms that we would all be better off.
I am not na ve and I know we will probably never have a society in which gun ownership is limited to hunters, soldiers and police. But they are the only people who, I believe, have earned the privilege of being able to use firearms.
We have to start somewhere and it is starting to look like politicians have no appetite for making any substantive changes to gun laws. You don't need an AK-47 or any automatic weapon to kill a deer. Having those types of weapons just because it is fun to shoot them is not a good enough reason to make them available to the general population.
The argument that more guns will make us safer does not pass the smell test. More guns would only result in a vigilante society. Do we really want to return to the Darwinian days of the American frontier?
Freedom comes with responsibilities and one of the responsibilities that those who hide behind the second amendment do not understand is that we all owe it to each other to create a safe society for all.
I doubt that many of the American mass killers would have even thought about doing what they did if they did not have access to firearms. If the only weapon available to people intent on murder is a knife they might think twice about their plan.
Guns make it easy to kill because guns have been designed to make it easy to kill. Wake up America.
Richard Davis is a registered nurse. He writes from Guilford and welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.
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