12 Victims Killed In Shooting At Country Music Bar In Thousand Oaks, California
This headline popped up on my WBUR daily email the day after the 2018 midterms, in which several anti-NRA candidates were elected. Tomorrow the chances are we will greet news of a another shooter killing several people in one encounter. Will this surprise us? Of course not, we are becoming inured to these events. How is this even possible?
The United States has a heavily armed citizenry, unlike any other country in the world. Gun manufacturers keep cranking out their products and the National Rifle Association lobbies incessantly for their right to do so. Children are given firearms training; states have open carry laws; so-called militias, with more weapons than our military, move about the country at will; and the gun-obsessed people walk around shopping centers with their semi-automatic rifles strapped to their backs. Gun nuts say about school shootings “Sandy Hook was fake. The Vegas shooting was carried out by multiple shooters. Columbine was a result of bullying.” What kind of insanity is this?
What would it be like if, in fact, the federal government banned guns? SWAT teams would be a rarity. In fact, individual law enforcement officers would need to be authorized each time to sign out a handgun in certain cases. There would be no need for “active shooter” drills in schools. Farmers, ranchers, and other hunters would have only registered and accounted-for specific rifles. I could go on but you get the picture.
I am always drawn to police stories from the United Kingdom, I don’t know why. Maybe it has something to do with the whole question of guns. I recently watched a TV series which, fictional though it was, portrayed a fascinating example of how that would be. Bang “is the story of a brother, a sister and a gun. Loner Sam’s life is transformed when he comes into possession of a gun and starts to break the law.” This whole story was based on the premise that there were no guns in the whole community. Obviously there is at least one which ends up being used in a killing and accidentally falls into the hands of a gentle but confused young man. As I watched, I kept thinking how it would be in a country where the mere existence of one in public was the biggest issue about guns.
You say, “It’ll never happen here” and you are right, of course, but why is it so impossible to do anything? Having true background checks, keeping domestic abusers from having guns, and maybe even banning just assault rifles, would be a start. Keep supporting and electing anti-NRA candidates also could make a huge difference.
As for you and I, let me make one simple suggestion: don’t own a gun!