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Australia got tough

Time passages and gun control

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It's time for all of us baby boomers as well as all Americans to take travel back to our time in high school and grammar school and visualize the classrooms in America that gave us a secure beginning and a basis for our future with loving and dedicated teachers. For the vast majority of us, this remembrance brings us warm and joyful memories. In particular, I can remember my high school journalism teacher who had quite a sense of humor and kept all of us in suspense each morning as to what his funny stunt would be to get our attention before he got down to business. I adopted some of his stunts to liven up my classroom when I followed his lead and became a teacher. He had a major positive influence on my future life!

We all have these fond memories of our schools and classrooms. Now, try to visualize the current state of American schools. Pretend that you are sitting in your joyful visualized classroom with these found memories when the fire alarm goes off and your teacher hurriedly leads you out of the classroom and down the hall and out of the building. Gun fire erupts from a rapid-fire military-grade weapon and fellow students start falling from bullets as your teacher leads you back into the classroom and is killed as he secures the classroom door to keep the shooter out and you safe! These are not the memories we want for America, and now, this is the time for us all to act in unison and call out our do-nothing legislators and leaders! It is time to stand up, as the high school student survivors of the most recent attack are doing, and let the world know that this is not the America we want. We, as a nation, do not want the National Rifle Association dictating our future or our safety laws.

Now, visualize your own children and grandchildren in the school setting. Is this what you want in terms of safety for your own family? Certainly not! But unlike the NRA argument, this is not a Second Amendment issue. It is an issue of public safety that deserves strong action. It can be solved easily.

The NRA survives to support gun manufacturers, and with their massive supply of money, they bamboozle our elected officials into introducing no significant legislation. If these legislators step out of line, they are coerced under threats of defunding them and threats of supporting another to run in their place. It is beyond time to get rid of all the weak-kneed legislators who support no action and all kinds of distractive ideas to avoid the real issue, which is the general public's access to fast-action military-grade weapons.

Many folks fall for the distractions cooked up by the NRA. Mental health issues lead the range of distractions, and we can all agree that the shooters are all mentally defective caused by a wide range of maladies. They can believe a cult of terrorism, which in itself can run the gamut of world beliefs. Or it can be a more localized mental health problem from the pressure of living in modern society. These, no doubt, add to the problems we face, but they do not cut to the chase of the mass murder problem our country faces. But one modern country has successfully dealt with mass murder!

Please, NRA, give us all a break! Military guns are not hunting rifles, because a good hunter does not need them to kill deer and birds. Nothing in normal hunting activities would cause us to need these high-powered rapid-fire military-grade weapons. I'd never have been able to enjoy the meat I've killed hunting if I'd ruined the carcasses with a fast-action military rifle. We must note that America has a gun addiction problem. We have twice as many guns as any other nation with 88.8 per 100 citizens. But this should not stop us from finding a solution!

Just as Australia did in 1996, we need to follow their lead as the country has had "zero" mass shootings since. The solution is an easy one, it is time to ban the sale of these types of weapons to the general public and to set a deadline for all the ones already out there to be turned over to authorities. Failure to return these before the deadline and having one in your possession needs to come with jail time as a penalty and deterrent! Also it might be prudent to pay the gun owner for returning their guns, just as Australia did! Δ

Ken McCalip is a Northern Santa Barbara County native who can be reached at kennethmccalip@yahoo.com. Get involved in the discussion by emailing your thoughts to letters@newtimesslo.com.

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