Again ... another mass shooting. Again ... the shooter is killed. We will never know exactly why he did this awful thing. Apparently he was mentally ill, but that alone is not an explanation.
The only thing we know for sure is that he had a gun, and now 13 people are dead. There will be more cries for gun control, and more assertions from the gun lobby that gun control won’t keep us safe. On the contrary. They will say what we need is more guns — in schools, guns in churches, in theaters and on the streets.
I fear the whole country is mentally ill. Why does anyone think killing solves anything? Won’t someone stand up to the National Rife Association and the American gun lobby?
There! I said it, and now I will become a target so let me defend myself here and now.
I live in a rural area where fathers teach their sons (and sometimes daughters) to hunt. A rifle, well made and lovingly cared for, can be a beautiful thing, and hunting is often a time-honored family tradition. Target practice can be a personal challenge somewhat akin to golf, and a varmint gun is pretty handy if you live close to the land.
Personal history: I was the best shot on my high school rifle team. I honed the skill in our basement with my father’s air pistol. A sharp eye and a steady hand are useful assets for any young person.
No, I don’t want to see the government confiscate people’s guns, not as long as the gun is designed for sport or pleasure. But today the country is awash with guns that are designed with only one thing in mind: to kill.
Don’t lecture me about self-defense. There are better ways to protect your home and loved ones than sleeping with a .45 under your pillow, and there are very, very few people who have an excuse to carry a concealed weapon.
Nevertheless, every time there’s a mass shooting, the public rushes out to buy another gun and more ammunition. Guns are big business, and the gun lobby is well-funded and highly organized.
The Navy Yard shooter had anger management problems. Lots of people do. Some kick their dogs. Some beat their wives. People take out their frustrations in all sorts of inappropriate ways. They smash cars. They even burn down buildings, and people can die when that happens.
But a gun can end a human life faster than a knife, faster than a blunt instrument or a pair of human hands, and it can do so in greater number.
Right now it appears that the American public has anger problems. Just turn on talk radio or its TV equivalentd. Listen to almost any political speech. No matter what happens, it’s the other guy’s fault. And into this toxic mix flow more and more guns.
Watch the gun lobby jump all over the security issue:
• Background checks at the Washington Navy Yard were inadequate.
• The Defense Security Service granted Aaron Alexis “secret” clearance.
• The military gave Alexis an honorable discharge despite “... bouts of insubordination and disorderly conduct ...”
It’s got to be their fault, not the fact that the man had a gun — which by the way, he purchased legally. So much for piecemeal gun control.
There is no point in going over the statistics: Countries with the most guns also have the highest rates of firearm deaths, and the U.S. tops the list.
But no. No one blames the gun. “Guns don’t kill people. People do.”
Sorry, I don’t buy it.
Somehow the gun lobby has convinced the American public that the only defense against a gun in someone else’s hand is a gun in his or her hand. Facts be damned, and we all pay the price.
Who’s next? As the number of guns grow, so will the number of shooting deaths.
Joan King lives in Sautee. Her column appears biweekly on Tuesdays and at gainesvilletimes.com/viewpoint.