The Richmond Register

Viewpoints

January 17, 2013

Silence can be deadly

The gun lobby has weathered this before. It has faced public outrage over gun massacres many times. And it has its playbook ready.

First, attack those who want to end gun violence by saying they “exploit” the grief of those who lost children at the Newtown massacre.

You are “standing on the graves of the children in Newtown,” one gun proponent told Piers Morgan on CNN recently.

But this is a lie. Those who want sensible gun laws are not standing on graves, they are standing beside graves, heads bowed and grieving. And wondering.

They are wondering how anyone could defend a system that enables the shooting of 20 little children? Who could love guns that much?

Do you fear your neighbors that much? Do you think guns will protect you? The mother of the shooter in Newtown had a small arsenal in her home, even though she knew one of her children had psychological problems.

Did her arsenal protect her?

No. Her guns were the agent of her death. That is a shame.

But that shame became a catastrophe when her son then used those guns to kill 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

So who really exploits the death of these innocents?

Those who want to end the killing or those who want to make millions by manufacturing and selling more and more guns to more and more people?

Ah, but it was the shooter’s twisted mind that killed those children, the gun lobby says.

Don’t do anything about assault rifles or large ammo clips. Just cure the mentally ill.

But other countries have people with psychological problems, and they don’t have anywhere near our rate of gun violence.

Well, it’s the video games, the gun lobby says. The video games twist the minds of our children and turns them into demons. So ban all the evil video games, and we will have no evil children.

But kids in other countries play video games. Yet other countries have much lower murder rates.

Why?

Could it be the easy availability of guns in this country? Could it be the easy availability of ammunition that you can order by Internet?

In the gun massacre in Aurora, Colo., last year (12 dead, 58 wounded), the alleged shooter purchased 6,000 rounds of ammunition online. Anonymously.

Does that strike you as just a little loony?

“It’s one thing to buy a pair of shoes online, but it should take more than a click of the mouse to amass thousands of rounds of ammunition,” Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J., said after the murders.

Does anyone need 6,000 rounds to shoot a deer? Does anyone need 6,000 rounds to shoot a target?

Arm the good people so they can shoot the bad people, the gun lobby says. That will stop gun violence in America.

But here is an observation that has been making the rounds on Twitter recently.

“Columbine had an armed guard.”

“Virginia Tech had a police department.”

“Fort Hood was a military base.”

Draw your own conclusions.

“I grew up in this hunting culture, but this is nuts,” said Bill Clinton last week.

One of Clinton’s major achievements, in my opinion, was making gun control a mainstream political issue in America during his presidency. He worked hard (with the aid of Rahm Emanuel, now mayor of Chicago) to ban assault rifles.

Part of Clinton’s success was his personal image as an Arkansas good ol’ boy who understood the gun culture and persuaded people he did not want to disarm hunters, only potential killers.

But part of his success was also his political astuteness. At each gun event (and I must have attended a dozen of them if not more), Clinton would surround himself onstage with the most serious gun control advocates in America: cops.

Cops know that nobody is buying 30-round ammo clips and 6,000 rounds of ammunition to hunt a deer. And no civilian is buying body armor because he is afraid the deer might shoot back.

The assault weapons ban expired in 2004. We need it back.

Year after year, the body count goes up. Year after year, outrage is expressed. And year after year, the gun lobby spreads around the hard cash it needs to get the votes it wants.

Will this year be any different? Barack Obama and Joe Biden say yes. They will help stop the killing, they say. But they need votes in Congress to do it.

You can help them get those votes.

Silence cannot only be deafening, but deadly. Speak up. Speak out.

Whoever saves just one life, it is said, saves the world.

Save a life. Save the world. End the madness.

© 2013 CREATORS.COM

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