Last week’s tragedy at Newtown, Conn., is yet another wakeup call to Americans that gun violence is out of control and needs to be controlled with any and all means necessary. As someone who spent almost 30 years in municipal and federal law enforcement, I’ve seen more shootings and gun-caused murders than I had ever anticipated. On average, guns are used in more than 8,000 murders each year, and in more than 17,000 gun-related deaths in total. This is domestic terrorism by any description, but we continue to do nothing more than pay lip service to this epidemic. Yet, on 9/11, almost 3,000 people died in the United States at the hands of international terrorists—and look at the restrictive laws that were quickly promulgated, and even the war that was launched, as a result. Do our children deserve any less attention?
The NRA and other illogical and misguided gun advocates claim that people kill people, not guns. How wrong they are! Doing away with such unrestricted, easy access to guns and ammunition severely restricts and, in many cases, removes the tool so commonly used to commit these crimes, including the killing of our law enforcement officers. The NRA is an anachronistic toothless tiger whose self-professed “power” at the ballot box is so overstated, it’s laughable.
Cannot our legislators set aside their fear of not being re-elected if they support reasonable gun control? Cannot our elected representatives do what is right to help save the lives of our children and other innocent Americans regardless of whatever political price they might pay? And, even worse, why do we as a people tolerate such weak leadership and fear-based inaction?
How many more of these mass killings must we suffer before having the courage to stand up and shout, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” It’s the people who have the real power at the ballot box.