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Can we end mass gun shootings?

August 11, 2019
Chuck Hunt - Register Editor (chunt@faribaultcountyregister.com) , Faribault County Register

Someone once said "I love mankind; it's people I can't stand."

I think it might have been Charlie Brown in the Peanuts comic strip. But maybe not.

My question today is, "What's wrong with mankind in general and individual people specifically?"

I'm sure you know what brought on this question.

I was trying to hide in the woods the other day, and get away from civilization and all the news on TV for a while. But there were visitors who came and went from our camp, and they talked about what was going on in the world.

One told about a shooting in El Paso, Texas. Another visitor came and asked me if I had heard about the shooting. I said, "yeah, it was in El Paso, Texas, right?"

No, they said, there is another one in Dayton, Ohio.

"What?" I said in a bit of confusion. "There has been two in one day?"

As you know, there had been just that. Or at least there was two in one 24 hour period, I learned.

I'm old enough to remember when there were no mass shootings. Or at least, there were very few. Then there was one every few years. Then one a year, it seemed. Then several a year. It was reported recently that between 1966 and 2012 there were 90 so-named mass shootings.

Eventually, it seemed there was becoming one per week that the TV news people would talk about for a few days.

Have we really come to the point of having more than one in a day?

I guess we have. One news agency reports there have been 255 mass shootings in the first 217 days of 2019. That is more than one per day. Not all them were high-profile or widely reported. I think they must list any shooting where the shooter wounds or kills more than one victim.

It is frustrating, scary, sad and truly downright awful. And, the worst part is people are starting to accept it as the new norm.

I wish I had an answer as to how to stop it. I don't. I wish someone, somewhere did. But I doubt they do.

Sure, there can be tougher background checks. Sure, there can be more help for mentally disturbed people. Sure, you can ban assault type guns.

Maybe all that will help. We could only hope so. But with an estimated 270 million to 360 million guns in America, it is pretty easy to get one somewhere and shoot a bunch of people because you are full of hate.

People like to blame many things for all this violence. They blame the easy availability of guns. They blame violent video games and strange web sites on the internet that promote violence.

They even blame the President's rhetoric and speeches. Some say it is the fault of the media, for reporting all the shootings in detail and giving notoriety to the perpetrators.

Some say it is the fault of society itself. And they might be on to something there. The lack of a moral code, or family values or loss of a basic respect for human life itself probably is the big reason. And, maybe we all can take a bit of responsibility for that.

And just to be clear, mass shootings are just a small percentage of the number of people killed by guns in the U.S. each year. Thousands of Americans are killed by guns each year in suicides, murders, hunting accidents, family disputes and bar brawls, etc.

You can call this the rant of an old guy who remembers a more peaceful life when he was a kid. And you would be right. It was a time of Ozzie and Harriet and Father Knows Best and Leave it to Beaver. There has been a lot of progress in so many ways since that time, from human rights to more comfortable living for many of us.

But, back in those good old days we kids didn't live in fear of getting shot at school, or at a concert, or in the streets of our hometown, like our grandchildren do.

No, you can't just blame guns for all this. But something for sure has to change. I can't say I am anti-gun and I believe in the rights given in the Bill of Rights to the Constitution (especially that Freedom of the Press part). However, I also think it has become a shame that everyone thinks they need to be carrying one in order to protect themselves.

It seems we have gone back to the days of the wild, wild West.

While I already admitted I don't have any answers to this terrible, deadly gun violence that seems to be going on every day, perhaps this next generation will be smart enough to come up with some answers.

I sure hope so. Because this is one new normal that needs to go away.

 
 

 

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