Editorial: Status quo for gun violence unacceptable
So, gun rights absolutists, what are you doing in the aftermath of our country's latest massacre?
Surely you've heard about the nine dead and more wounded at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore. So how are you handling it? Throwing up your arms like Donald "What you gonna do?" Trump and Jeb "Stuff Happens" Bush?
Don't trot out that canard about "gun-free zones" being responsible for mass shootings. UCC was not a gun-free zone. The blame for mass shootings is on the shooters.
Is this acceptable to you? Is it OK that on a regular basis, someone misguided or desperate for attention or just plain ol' mentally ill builds up a small arsenal, straps on body armor and slaughters people who are just going about their daily lives?
I am a gun owner. A responsible one. The behavior of these shooters is abhorrent to me, and it is unacceptable that our nation has not taken a single step, even a small, incremental one, to try and deal with a stain on our country that should not be there.
The data out there is strong and consistent. Gun ownership increases the likelihood of gun violence, whether it be death by homicide, suicide or accident. More significantly, the numbers show that firearms are mostly used against people already in a gun owner's life, such as a friend or family member, or against the owner.
That's bad news for those who repeat the "good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun" mantra. Sure, that happens, but it's relatively rare, especially when compared with gun deaths. Having a gun available causes arguments to escalate into shootings, woundings and fatalities.
You can stomp your feet and stick your fingers in your ears and shout, "Lalalalalalala I can't hear you!" until your face turns blue, but it doesn't change the numbers and it doesn't change the facts.
The United States has a gun violence problem, and the fact that our country is awash in firearms is a big part of it. Consider this: An analysis found that states with stricter gun laws had fewer gun-related deaths. Yes, criminals won't obey gun laws. But sensible gun control is still effective.
Now someone's going to shout "tyranny" and "confiscation" and other such nonsense. Go ahead. We've heard it all before, and it was bull spit then and it still is. No one's talking about seizing guns. There's no real way to carry that out anyway, even if someone wanted to.
Oh, but all these statistics and figures and conclusions don't apply to you, right? You're the guy who'll save the day. Just like an action hero. You're ready, and when the fight comes, you'll lay down the law and make the bad guys pay.
Really? Be honest, even if it's just with yourself. Here's me being honest: If I found myself armed in a Roseburg situation, I might be able to do some good - or, more likely, I could miss and shoot innocent bystanders before being taken out by the cops because, as far as they knew, I was a "bad guy with a gun." Or the real bad guy with a gun could shoot me first. Hey, stuff happens. Guns kill people. You and I are not immune.
This mass shooting problem is unique to the United States, and I refuse to believe there's nothing we can do. We're too smart and too good to let this continue.
At least, we should be.