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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Never Again, Until the Next Time

Never Again, Until the Next Time

     The tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary has prompted calls for stricter gun control, including a PSA from Hollywood celebrities who call on Americans to “Demand a Plan”. I'm so impressed because everything Holier-than-thou-wood turns out contains no gun violence at all (plant tongue firmly in cheek). Check out the list of Celebrity LTC holders!Please don't for one second say I'm taking this violent act by a madman lightly, it was a horrific heart breaking attack on innocent children, and their teachers. My thoughts and prayers go out to them. The depravity of this act set a new low in America, a “record” I hope to never see broken in my lifetime.

     I will say this, the head of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre was criticized for calling on schools to opt for armed guards. Why, when we have armed guards in banks to protect our money, armed campus security to protect our colleges, metal detectors in our high schools to prevent weapons being brought in, and bullet proof glass in gas stations.? Our politicians and the aforementioned celebrity hypocrites wouldn't dream of traveling without armed bodyguards. Don't forget, the first murder Lanza committed was to obtain the weapons he used! I understand the knee-jerk reaction, they were little kids, unable to protect themselves, but before you use this as agitprop to deny your fellow citizens a Constitutional Right, ponder the consequences. FBI stats show almost all gun crimes are committed with illegal weapons. I'm all for getting illegal weapons off the street and out of the hands of criminals, BUT I don't believe persecuting law abiding citizen who own their guns legally and responsibly is the answer. I would gladly disarm, just as soon as the last criminal does!

     Look at the proof-England has arguably the tightest gun regulations in the Western world, yet gun crime is not only present, but on the rise. Any Internet search engine can provide you with lists of spree/rampage killings, and they're not a uniquely American phenomenon. Many have occurred in Europe and Asia, under Governments with strict Gun Control Laws (harsher than most US states), in so called “Gun Free Zones”. Of the Top 15 School shootings, only 5 took place in the United States. The worst occurred in 1927 when Andrew Kehoe detonated several bombs in Bath Township, Michigan, killing 44 and injuring 58. In the other 4 US entries to this macabre list, firearms were used. We all know the names, Virginia Tech (32dead 17 wounded), Newtown (27 dead 2 wounded), Texas [Tower Shooter] (15 dead 32 wounded) and Columbine (13 dead/21 wounded). Lesser known are these other incidents;

1996 Dunblane,UK (17K-13W) Firearm

2002 Erfurt, Germany (16K-1W) Firearm

2009 Winnenden, Germany (15K-9/13W) Firearm (the shooter Kretschmer fired 112 rounds from a Beretta 9mm pistol, the wounded included several armed Police officers)

1989 Montreal, Canada (14K-14W) Firearm

2009 Baku, Azerbaijan (12K-13W) Firearm

2011 Rio de Janiero (12K-12W)Firearm

2006 China (12K-5W) Knife/Arson

1964 Volkhoven, Germany (10K-22W) Firearm

2008 Kauhajoki, Finland (10K-3W) Firearm

2010 Linchang, China (9K-11W) Cleaver

     What do all these have in common? Crazed sociopaths! People with mental health issues or victims of bullying, outsiders, loners, intent on doing harm. For those of you hell bent on banning all guns, look at the incidents from China. Someone bent on killing can and will find a way to carry it out.

     In an eerie coincidence I happened on Martin Bryant. Diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome during his childhood, this Tasmanian devil went on a shooting rampage that left 35 dead, and 21 injured. He lived in New Town a suburb of Hobart, Tasmania. He currently resides in Risdon Prison Psych Ward serving 35 life sentences plus an extra 1035 years for his crime.

     I do not argue that accessibility to firearms makes this type of crime possible, but I do also point out that even in places where legal gun ownership is prohibited, or heavily regulated, they still occur. So called “Gun Free Zones” are a joke! We have enough gun laws here, what we need is better enforcement. How many readers have made firearm arrests where the suspect has served the 18 month mandatory sentence? How many times are repeat firearm offenders bailed, or default and continue to commit armed crimes? The guns used by criminals are obtained through theft, or purchased by illegal means. Serial numbers are altered or removed, yet, it's rare when a suspect is charged federally?

      It's also a question of our treatment of individuals with mental illness. There is a stigma attached to it, and for every family that acknowledges a “problem”, there are probably three that are in denial or unable to access resources to help the situation. How many times have we read or heard AFTER the fact that a young man or woman was feared or avoided by neighbors and family members because of their psychosis? We've all been to the training, read the books, and interacted with the mentally ill during our tours. Or maybe a family member is afflicted? But no one can predict an outburst of such violence as the one at Sandy Hook Elementary. Taking guns out of the hands of law abiding citizens is NOT the answer.

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