By Mary Getlein
Michael Moore (of Bowling For Columbine) told the story of a crazy man who went to a school and tried to kill some children, but it was in China and he only had a knife. No kids killed that day. The same day as the attack in Connecticut. Twenty children killed by the greed of the NRA. The NRA spent so much money for Republicans to get in office, but didn’t get them in office. The NRA, who have remained silent – in “respect of the mourning of the families”. The NRA, the most powerful gun lobby in the world. Twenty children killed who will never come back. Twenty children of America, living in a beautiful suburb, going to a school that was supposed to be safe.
Now all the other crazies are coming out of the closet. Some total idiot is saying to arm the teachers. Yeah, a horrible act of violence happens, let’s throw some more violence at it.
Michael Moore: “Isn’t eviction a violent act?” “Throwing people out of their homes, isn’t that a violent act?” “Closing down factories and jobs? And cities? Isn’t that a violent act?” “Our country creates wars and keeps them going with the young people of our country, isn’t that a violent act?” “We sell arms to our citizens and arms to other countries, who use them to kill other women’s children, isn’t that a violent act?” “The side effect of war on our soldiers, PTSD and suicide, isn’t that a violent act?”
Pundits on the radio, trying to figure out a way to have gun control – and keep their guns at the same time – propose taking assault weapons off the market, making it illegal to own an assault rifle, like the one the shooter used on those children. Even Senators who love hunting, even they are saying enough is enough.
But there are no guarantees. Three hundred million guns are already out there in gun owners’ hands. How do you make a law retroactive … can you demand people to give up their guns? What about just their assault rifles? You can get an AR15, which is equal to an M16, for $500 to $1,000. Just in time for Christmas! What better way to celebrate Peace on Earth than to buy an assault rifle?
The thing is, the best time to sell them is when they are threatening to take them off the market. The gun factories are manufacturing assault rifles right now, so there were plenty for Christmas shoppers. This guy on the radio was telling the announcer what a “cool” gun it was. She said, “Excuse me, but you are referring to the gun that the shooter used to kill 27 people, including 20 little children.” He tried to backtrack, and said that people would want the assault weapon to protect themselves from being mowed down by a similar murderer as the shooter.
Who do we blame for this? Well, first off, the shooter. Of course we need to have background checks, and change the laws that govern mentally ill people. Meanwhile, one of the first things that have been cut from state and federal budgets is money for mental health facilities. When someone turns 18, they are considered an adult and if they are mentally ill and refuse treatment, there is nothing you can do. You have to wait, in most states, for them to commit a crime before they can be apprehended. A lot of mentally ill people wind up in jail who should be in a mental hospital, getting treatment. If someone is threatening to kill someone, or blow up a school, there should be a place to get help for that person, before that act is committed. A lot of people are in prison who should be in a mental health facility.
But you can’t get away from the violent world of gun owners. The “gun culture” of the United States. No other country in the world has as many homicides as we have. There is a huge link between gun ownership and gun deaths. Every gun sale should have a background check, but they do not. New gun sales require a background check, but guns sold at gun shows, second hand guns, and guns sold at yard sales are private and are not regulated by the state or federal government.
They should make possession of assault rifles a felony, and gun trafficking a felony.
In studying other countries, they have found the same violence rates, and the same depression rates. The difference? We have more guns. If we enact stricter gun laws, we will have fewer murders.
We are living in a violent country that seems to worship violent acts. The sales of violent video games is through the roof. There are videos that kids watch to re-enact what soldiers do. The children kill people on screen and congratulate themselves. Many movies out there are violent, twisted, stories, involving mass murders. It doesn’t take that much imagination to see the link between watching violent movies and video games and actually doing it in real life. If you are depressed and suicidal and filled with rage, it might look like a good way to “go out”. Who the f knows?
All I know is this is not the kind of world I want to live in. We have let this go on for too long. I lived in Venice during the gang war and it was truly horrible. People in cars would drive by our house and would shoot into the yards. They would come by early in the morning and shoot into apartment buildings. It was absolutely terrifying. We have got to come to an agreement that this is no way to live. It is about gun control, but it’s also about how we treat each other. Right now we are not doing well on either count. Things have to to change.
By Mary Getlein