The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

December 19, 2012

We must exploreways to endgun violence

The Daily Star

---- — “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

What part of “well regulated” in the Second Amendment don’t we understand in this country that has 5 percent of the world’s population and 50 percent of our planet’s guns?

It would be too simplistic to only blame the guns that a madman used Friday in Newtown, Conn., to shoot 26 innocent people — including 20 children between the ages of 6 and 7 — in a massacre that has sickened a nation.

Our problems go far beyond that, extending to mental health issues, a breakdown in traditional family values, and glorification of violence in television, movies and video games. Are we spending enough time and money on those important things?

So many questions. Canada has almost as many guns (albeit mostly hunting rifles) per capita as the United States, yet averages about 200 deaths by firearms per year. Aren’t there mentally ill people in Canada, too?

In 2006, Japan, with no shortage of violent video games, reported a total of two people killed by guns all that year.

In 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control, guns killed 31,347 Americans.

To put that figure into perspective: In the last 11 years, about 6,650 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It is long past time for our leaders to free themselves from the political stranglehold the National Rifle Association has had on them for so long.

It is long past time to reinstate and improve upon the Assault Weapons Ban and to institute reasonable gun licensing and selling laws.

Do you know how we know that it is long past time?

Because conservative Republicans are just as nauseated as liberal Democrats by what happened to those children in Connecticut.

Because a Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., who has an “A” rating from the NRA, says so. “I don’t know anyone in the sporting or hunting arena that goes out with an assault rifle,” Manchin said. “I don’t know anyone that needs 30 rounds to go hunting. I mean these are things that need to be talked about.” 

Because a conservative TV host Joe Scarborough, who proudly supported the NRA when he was a congressman, says so. “I knew (Friday) that the ideologies of my past career were no longer relevant to the future that I want, that I demand for my children. Friday changed everything. It must change everything.”

Yes, it must, and that’s what we must tell our lawmakers so they don’t forget those 26 innocent victims in Connecticut.