It’s the question we ask ourselves and each other when a shooter kills people who never did him harm. We ask how someone who is so mentally unstable and violent is out on the street and hey, how come he has a gun? A big, very expensive gun. The guns used by these shooters are not cheap handguns. They weren’t bought for a few bucks on the street corner of a bad neighborhood.
These are guns purchased at great expense, often instead of other things the family needs — like a decent home and diet. The people who buy these guns often have little else of any value. They have big, military-style weapons worth a lot of money, so they need guns to protect their guns.
We have had gun control laws in the relatively recent past.They expired and were not renewed. No one is suggesting we get rid of all guns or eliminate private gun ownership, only that we make sensible laws to control guns the same way we have laws to control cars. You know. A test, a license, insurance, registration? I haven’t notice these laws stopping anyone from buying a car. I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t stop anyone from buying a gun either, assuming they meet firearm ownership criteria.
So. The question is:
I’d like to think at some point we’ll develop a hint commonsense vis-a-vis guns, but after waiting a lifetime to see some progress on this issue, I’m not optimistic. There are a large number of people who get hysterical when anyone mentions gun control. Weirdly, many of the people who go nuts over guns don’t actually own any. This is one bizarre country.
How ironic is it that Tombstone had stricter gun control the U.S. has now? In fact, the American West’s most infamous gun battle erupted when the marshal (Virgil Earp, Wyatt’s older brother) tried to enforce a local ordinance which barred carrying firearms in public. A judge had fined one of the victims $25 earlier that day for packing a pistol.
“You could wear your gun into town, but you had to check it at the sheriff’s office or the Grand Hotel, and you couldn’t pick it up again until you were leaving town,” said Bob Boze Bell, executive editor of True West Magazine, which celebrates the Old West. “It was an effort to control the violence.”
Rather than making progress with guns, we’ve marched steadily backward for at least the past twenty years. We had a brief flare-up of sensitivity to guns immediately following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, but it has been all downhill since. Considering the crazy people in Congress and the rapaciousness of the companies which manufacture and sell guns — and those company’s willingness to do just about anything to keep selling guns — it’s hard to expect anything to come out of any American congress.
Every time one of these “gun violence events” occurs, it’s the same sad story. Everyone sends prayers and wishes, and blames it on politicians and the NRA. The NRA is just a tool of the companies who manufacture firearms. It’s not merely politics. It’s guns, money and greed, the most lethal combination imaginable.
As long as our our politicians are for sale and the NRA is ready to buy, we won’t do anything about guns and violence. When politicians take up unconscionable positions, it’s always because they are sucking up to those who contribute large amounts to their campaigns. It’s never about right or wrong, or the constitution or what’s best for us. It never will be until we get the big money out of politics. If we ever manage to do that, we might begin to see a hint of conscience in politics.
In the endless race to be elected and re-elected, money has a very loud voice and the rest of us speak in whispers or not at all.
What is your life worth? What is your child’s life worth? If you think your town or city to too peaceful or obscure for gun violence to break out? Don’t be so sure. The crazy people with guns live everywhere. Maybe they live next door to you.