America, NOW is Definitely the Time to Talk About Gun Control AND Take Action
America NEEDS to have an indepth discussion about guns and gun control…NOW!
When is the right time to talk about the issue of gun violence in the US? RIGHT NOW! Not tomorrow, not sometime down the road. It is NOW! After another brutal mass shooting, it is imperative that to save lives the discussion must take place IMMEDIATELY.
Of course, the NRA calls this political opportunism and says that the time to discuss it is NOT now. Or ever, for that matter.
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The BBC highlights just some of the statements made by Wayne LaPierre, head of the NRA, at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday.
“As usual, the opportunists waited not one second to exploit tragedy for political gain. They hate the NRA. They hate the second amendment. They hate individual freedom.”
He is wrong. Absolutely wrong. When is it time to discuss how to prepare a city better for an earthquake or a hurricane? IMMEDIATELY after the event! And that is NOT exploiting a tragedy. That is looking for ways to prevent the next tragedy or lessen the impact. So, when is it time to discuss the impact of guns on American society? IMMEDIATELY! Is it exploiting a tragedy? HELL NO! It is doing the exact same thing – looking for a solution! Clearly, the NRA isn’t interested in any solution if it involves discussing gun control. Well, too bad for them. It needs to be discussed.
Somehow, the NRA sees itself as the victim in all of this. It sees gun owners as the ones who are suffering. No, it isn’t! It’s the kids who go to school and aren’t sure if they are going to make it back home without getting shot. Those are the victims. The kids of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida are the most recent victims. And they are speaking up and openly discussing gun control just as they should be. So, deal with it, NRA.
America has a problem. It is so in love with it’s guns that, per capita, the US is number one on the planet for private gun ownership. Think about that. Look at all the countries out there, and the number who are currently at war. And yet, American gun owners have more guns per capita than any other country.
As Quartz reports, according to a survey done by Harvard and Northwestern University, 265 million American’s own an average of 3 guns. Of those that own guns, 14 percent, or 3 percent of the entire population of the US own between 8….and 140 GUNS! And, on a global scale, it is figured that these Americans possess 20 percent of all privately owned guns on the planet.
Those with up to 140 guns are called “super owners” and guess who was a super owner. That’s right, the man who slaughtered 58 and injured another 851 when he fired into a crowded concert from the window of a hotel. In total, it was determined that he had 47 guns, though not all at the scene of the shooting. He managed to shoot off 1,100 rounds. He was a one man army and his target was innocent Americans enjoying a music festival.
RELATED: BREAKING: Las Vegas Shooting – At least 58 Dead, 514 Wounded In Attack on Country Music Festival
All of these guns come with a price. There are those that argue that guns don’t kill people or that there is no correlation between gun ownership and acts of mass violence. But, as the Guardian reports, not only is America number one in gun ownership, it is also number one in the developed world when it comes to mass shootings with 11 times as many as anywhere else.
In the US, 30,000 people are killed each year by guns. Sadly, two-thirds of those are suicides. Guns are not only allowing Americans to kill each other in large numbers, but are making it easier for Americans with mental health issues to take their own lives.
Clearly there is a correlation between the number of guns in the country…and the amount of gun violence as a result. If more guns equal less crime, then America should be the safest country on the planet.
Marco Rubio reminds you that more guns make us safer and that’s why America has the lowest gun murder rate in the world.
— John Fugelsang (@JohnFugelsang) February 22, 2018
And then there is the actual financial cost of all this gun murder, mayhem and injury. It is estimated that each year, $2.8 billion is being spent treating people who have been shot. Then there are lost wages. Add those into the mix and you could be looking at more like a $45 billion hit to the economy. That’s massive.
And yet, there are so many Americans who are so stubbornly against any form of gun control that even bring it up is controversial. How on earth can it be controversial to discuss an issue that is linked to so much death and destruction? How can ANYONE in their right mind argue that this is not the time to talk about it and it shouldn’t even be considered?? It makes no sense.
There aren’t many people proposing a total ban on guns. But, many American’s ARE saying that they want common sense controls that make it harder for so many people to get so many guns. Is that REALLY so bad? Seriously?
Among the strongest of voices for gun control at the moment are the kids who survived the school shooting in Parkland. They are demanding change, and for good reason. These kids watched, ran or hid as another kid slaughtered their peers with a powerful weapon that seems to keep showing up at these mass shootings. Can you really blame them for wanting restrictions on this particular style of gun? They want to live!
Remember Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai who was shot in the head by the Taliban because she was a girl who went to school to get an education? American school shooters may not be targeting girls specifically to prevent them from being educated, but they are terrorizing students and using schools as a slaughter house to attack innocent victims whose only crime is wanting to get an education. Many conservatives who would celebrate Malala are being terribly rude about the kids of Parkland and their protests. What the Parkland kids deserve is a Nobel Peace Prize for wanting to make an environment where they can go to school in peace.
But, what is Trump proposing? To arm more teachers. As CNN reports, in his mind, if America arms 20 percent of teachers, these school shootings won’t happen anymore, despite the fact there is zero evidence to show that this is true, and ample evidence that more guns does not equate to less gun violence.
Expecting teachers to be armed soldiers is ridiculous on many levels. America is supposed to be the land of the free, and yet Trump and the NRA want to see schools turned into prisons with armed guards and teachers carrying guns? These teachers should be planning lessons…not planning military strategies to deal with school shootings. This is pure madness and no other developed country (and most not-so-developed countries) aren’t having to experience this.
As a teacher, I knocked myself out headbutting ceiling pretending to be a particle, star-jumping off a desk.
I’ve set my arm on fire when lit ethanol trickled down sleeve, from my hand.
I’ve burnt my ear listening if gas was coming out of a bunsen.
Please don’t give me a gun.
— Philip Clarke (@ClarkePhil) February 22, 2018
The NRA and other anti-gun control folks argue that any gun control is an affront to personal freedom. Really? There are many things regulated in America. You can’t just drive on the road in any vehicle, for example. It needs to meet certain safety standards. Isn’t that an affront to personal liberty…telling someone what they can or cannot drive and where? We accept these rules because we understand that it is for the greater good. We accept them for personal safety.
Heck, as Time reports, lawmakers in New York proposed a bill that would force Proctor and Gamble, the company that manufactures Tide Pods, to make the detergent packs come with warning labels, look less appealing and wrap them individually to make it harder for kids to get into. This is after a relatively small amount of kids took part in something called the “Tide Pod Challenge” where they took video of themselves eating the pods. The number of people who have been seriously injured or died from this weird little fad? ZERO! None. Not a single one. And, like most fads, it has pretty much died out. And yet, the state was quick to take measures to protect kids from the dangers of…laundry soap.
Recently, as Reverb Press previously reported, the Florida House of Representatives refused to discuss the issue of gun control but managed to discuss in length the issue of pornography and declared it a health concern for teenagers! What about the individual freedoms of those who wish to make, distribute and watch pornography? That doesn’t seem to matter. But, suddenly, when guns are discussed, it becomes and issue of individual freedoms.
Then, there are conservatives who scream about personal freedoms when it comes to guns who will gladly infringe on personal freedoms elsewhere, whether it be taking away the reproductive rights of women, including access to abortions and birth control, the rights of LGBTQ Americans, or the rights of immigrants and other minority groups. For that matter, Donald Trump wants to take away freedom and personal choice from those using food stamps by insisting that part of the subsidy will come in the form of food packs where the government decides what these folks have available to eat.
Heck, how many of the same people who are so against any form of gun control celebrated the County Clerk from Kentucky, Kim Davis, when she denied same-sex couples the marriage licenses they had every right to have?! One BIG supporter of Kim Davis, according to the Washington Post, is Republican Senator Ted Cruz who said, “I stand with Kim Davis. Unequivocally.” On that matter, she went against the law of the land and the constitution. And Cruz supported her. However, he also happens to be firmly against ANY form of gun control, insisting that any infringement on gun ownership is against the constitution. Face it, Ted Cruz is a raging hypocrite who likes to cherry pick the constitution as do so many other conservatives.
Screw the naysayers. American’s MUST talk guns. It MUST discuss this issue. Groups like the NRA cannot be allowed to determine whether or not the issue can be discussed. It must be discussed, period. America has a problem, and a problem that is almost UNIQUELY American. America must look at the reasons why this is happening, and do everything it can to prevent future carnage. And gun control MUST be part of the discussion. You cannot tackle this problem without discussing gun control. And, thankfully the kids of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are using their first amendment rights to doing everything they can to make sure that the conversation about the second amendment is had!
Featured image by Michael Laughlin/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images.
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Chris Hearn is an ageing freelance writer located in wintery Winnipeg. He is a stay-at-home-parent, amateur stand-up comedian, and a guy with a lot of opinions, much to everyone’s dismay.