EDITORIAL

Thoughts and prayers ...

Posted

There are few better places to find solace these days than our homes, and for those of faith, our places of worship.

On any given Friday, Saturday or Sunday, our churches, synagogues and mosques are where we share time with our extended family and friends, spend quiet time in prayer and contemplation, and learn how to be good to one another.

In Sutherland Springs, Texas, however, all of that was destroyed for a small Baptist church when a gunman walked in, brandishing a high-powered assault rifle, killing 26 people and injuring 20 others. 

In a matter of seconds, one gunman wiped out 4 percent of a small town’s population. That came a little more than a month after another gunman with the ability to fire a rapid succession of bullets killed 58 people and injured nearly 550 others in Las Vegas.

Yet, all the gun deaths that sad Sunday didn’t occur in just that small church. Another 21 people were killed in non-suicide gun violence on Nov. 5, according to the nonprofit watch group Gun Violence Archive. That includes a 16-year-old boy who was shot and killed outside his apartment in Brooklyn.

Many from across the country and around the world flooded places like social media with a common refrain: “thoughts and prayers.” It’s a go-to line whenever tragedy strikes, and one that has become far too common of late.

While “thoughts and prayers” are likely the best thing we can offer each other, it’s the last thing we should hear from people like our elected officials. You know, members of Congress and the man living in the White House who could actually do something about this.

“May God be with the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas,” President Trump said on Twitter while continuing his trip through Asia. 

House Speaker Paul Ryan took to Twitter as well, sharing that “the people of Sutherland Springs need our prayers right now.”

What the people of Sutherland Springs and everywhere else in the country need is some commonsense gun control legislation. Especially the type of guns that can rapidly fire a mass of bullets in a matter of seconds.

Unless you’re a soldier in our military fighting a war — you don’t ever have a need for such a weapon.

But then we hear the arguments that if we’re going to ban assault weapons, then why don’t we ban trucks too, like the Halloween ramming attack in Manhattan that killed eight people and injured 11 others.

Except that’s a silly argument. A truck is something typically used to transport people and heavy objects from one point to another. Sure, it could be turned into a weapon, but it’s not designed to be a weapon.

A high-powered assault rifle has a single job: Kill as many people as possible. You don’t turn an assault rifle into a weapon — it already is a weapon.

And here’s the thing. We don’t need to wait for some divine intervention. We have the power to make a difference, here and now. 

Some of our more local leaders like U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel have tried. He supports a number of bills that have gone almost nowhere in Congress, including the Protecting Americans from Gun Violence Act of 2017.

Thoughts and prayers are a nice sentiment. But if we really want to end this, we must get up and do something to finally end this senseless violence. 

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TruthTeller

One thing often overlooked (or willfully ignored according to ones perspective) is that all of these mass shooters were on SSRI psyche meds, or had just recently been taken off of them. One of the "side effects" of these drugs is homicidal and suicidal ideation. The "conspiracy" world has been talking about this subgect since 1998, but I see that the establishment thinkers among us still ignore that very real aspect of the story. Instead they blame guns, even though it was a responsible NRA member who stopped this latest lunatic. I will only take the gun control debate seriously if people also start to realize that psyche meds deserve equal, if not more, blame. Thank god Trump actually said what has been an obvious issue for many when he said "it's a mental health issue, not a gun issue." Gun control is a non-starter for most of the country, and for good reason.....Hitler banned guns, Mao banned guns and Stalin banned guns. Not good company to keep.

Saturday, November 11
Michael Hinman

Ahhh ... the "Hitler took guns away" defense to why we don't need gun control.

Ben Carson made the same claim in his 2015 book "A More Perfect Union." Politifact rated the claim "false."

You should check out the information provided by Politifact in this ruling ... that while a ban on guns existed, it actually came after World War I, and very few Germans actually followed it. In 1928, before Hitler, Germany enacted a gun registration law — however, this was required only for new guns, and once again, it was rarely enforced.

In fact, during the Nazi regime, gun ownership laws were actually loosened, not tightened. That is, as long as you weren't Jewish.

There are many countries that do control guns, and they seem to be perfectly good company to keep. You know, Australia. The United Kingdom. Japan. And Germany of today.

The United States in 2014 recorded 33,599 gun deaths, or 1 in 9,616. Japan, according to the Japan Times? Six. Or, 1 in 21,166,666.

In Australia, since a vast majority of guns were removed, homicide rates have continued to decline in the country. From a peak of 385 in 1999 to below 300 between 2008 and 2013, according to FactCheck.org.

I don't know about you, but that sounds like great company to keep ... don't you?

Sunday, November 12
TruthTeller

Not really. Australia has one of the most surveilled and controlled populations on earth. And Chicago, which has the toughest gun laws in the US is a disaster area of homicides caused by guns. But regardless, I see you totally neglected to even address the SSRI issue I brought up. Again, it's a mental health issue, not a gun issue. Please name me an NRA member, or any law-abiding responsible gun owner who has been a perp in a mass shooting. One can't. But I can name at least one NRA member who has stopped a mass shooting from continuing using a legally purchased firearm.

And regarding everyday gun violence, the vast majority is caused by criminals who would still have access to guns if they were somehow made illegal. Just like drugs are illegal but most everybody is zonked out on them. Plus, you fail to mention gun control on the US government, who is perhaps the biggest perpetrator of violence using guns all over the world, and in one instance called "fast and furious" under Obama and Holder was actually dealing in guns with the Mexican cartels, much like the CIA has been involved in drug running since their inception. Why don't we ban guns from the US government? I for one would support that. In fact, it would be a great day if that could happen because then we wouldn't be able to fight the bankers wars anymore, and any threat of totalitarianism would be greatly diminished as well. When Hilary Clinton's, DeBlasios, Giuliani's, and Bloomberg's bodyguards stop carrying guns, I will take the leftist position much more seriously. But as long as these tyrants have their barrels pointed at us, I will continue to support the 2nd amendment. And thankfully so will tens of millions of my fellow Americans.

Sunday, November 12
Michael HInman

Ummm, OK, there "Truth." I mean, there's no major surveillance here in America ... (I'm saying that a bit sarcastically).

Guns continue to be an issue in Chicago because even though there are stricter gun control laws in the city — the areas AROUND it do NOT have those restrictions.

It's like banning fireworks. You can ban them in your county, but if you can go into another county and buy it, then you're not doing a great job banning it, don't you think?

In terms of your "How many mass shooters were NRA members," let me ask you a follow-up question. How many gun owners are NRA members?

The NRA claims to have about 5 million members. The number of gun owners in this country, according to The Washington Post, nearly 86 million people own guns.

So in order to commit gun violence, you first need to be one of the 86 million people who own guns ... but according to you, they don't count unless they are part of the 5 million who actually are in the NRA (which accounts for 6 percent of the gun-owning population — which means 94 percent of them are NOT members of the NRA).

It's actually far more likely that a shooter will NOT be a member of the NRA, than be a member. Not because of some strange "We all abide by the law mentality," but by a different law — the law of chance.

Sunday, November 12