Recent polls have shown that, after being mired in continuous conflicts for the past 12 years, Americans seem to have lost their appetite for war. Various polls found that more than 6 in 10 Americans were against any form of military action in Syria.
But we’re in the midst of our own war right here at home.
Monday’s shooting at the Washington, DC Navy Yard is just the latest in a long line of mass shootings in America. There has been an average of one a month since early in 2009! The victims have included theater-goers, citizens visiting with their congressional representative, elementary school children…even dozens of military and military contractors. In addition, there are many individual gun homicides – more than 11,000 per year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The reaction from the NRA and other ideologues is to fight any form of common-sense measures such as universal background checks and bans on high-capacity magazines which allow mass shooters to fire up to 100 rounds as fast as they can pull the trigger without the need to reload. In order to intimidate anyone contemplating such measures, the NRA and other gun nuts targeted two of the Colorado legislators who actually had the intestinal fortitude to help pass such legislation. That may intimidate politicians, but it shouldn’t intimidate the majority of Americans who favor universal background checks.
After all, we’re the ones who elect these people.
Of course, the NRA responds to each shooting by first saying, “This is not the time to discuss gun legislation.” Then, after the shock from each event dies down, they come out with another lame statement such as that following the Sandy Hook massacre. “The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
Obviously, that is utter nonsense.
At both the Navy Yard and Fort Hood, there were dozens, if not hundreds, of armed and trained guards in the immediate area. At Fort Hood, 13 were killed and 32 were wounded before the armed good guys could stop the shooter. At the Navy Yard, at least 12 were killed before the shooter was stopped. Those numbers are not significantly different from the mass shootings in which victims were unarmed.
By comparison there were 13 fatalities at the Columbine High School, 6 at the Tucson “Congress on Your Corner” event, 12 at the Aurora, Colorado movie theater, and 26 at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. (The number of deaths at Sandy Hook likely had more to do with the size of magazines used by the shooter and the ages of the victims.)
Moreover, the most thorough study to date on the availability and presence of firearms by Professor Michael Siegel and two coauthors at Boston University clearly shows that more guns equal more gun deaths, either by suicide or homicide.
In other words, good guys with guns do not diminish gun homicides.
As for the NRA’s fear that universal background checks will lead to a national gun registry, there is already a gun registry. Not by the government. By the NRA!
Another specious argument by the NRA and its cowboy wannabes is that gun ownership is the only deterrent for a tyrannical government. That presumes that hunting rifles, shotguns, handguns and semi-automatic assault weapons could deter a government military with tanks, fighter jets, bombers, attack helicopters and drones. Besides, if you’re so fearful of our democratically-elected government that you’re watching the skies for the black helicopters, you should just go ahead and join the Sovereign Citizens movement, renounce your US citizenship and move abroad. You’re too paranoid and too dumb to remain in the US!
It only took 17 mass shootings in Australia before the Australian government banned semi-automatic weapons and most other guns. We have nearly that many mass shootings a year and we can’t even pass universal background checks. Are we that much different than our Aussie friends?