During a major cholera epidemic in 1854 London, Dr. John Snow mapped the locations of victims killed by the disease. The deadly bacteria wasn’t widely identified at the time, but he sourced the contagion to a water pump on Broad Street. This is how the disease was discovered to be water-borne. The common sense solution was to shut down the pump and stop the spread at the source. So they did.
“Shut down the pump” was the pro-life, logical, practical and effective solution that saved lives. Let’s remember this line of reasoning.
Despite the covid pandemic, the US has been suffering an unabated mass shooting epidemic, with a growing number of Americans killed by AR style weapons. Armalite (AR) designed a weapon of war for the foot soldier to kill as many people fast as possible. The M-16 was the military model that became a standard automatic/semi-automatic select fire rifle for the US military in Vietnam. AR-15 was the Colt Manufacturing Company’s designation for their civilian version of the weapon after the auto-semi option was removed. Since aimed semi-auto fire is more deadly than sweeping automatic fire, the AR-15 would prove to be as lethal as an M-16. With a bump stock, an AR-15 was equal to machine gun fire on the concert crowd at the Las Vegas massacre.
A partial list of the mass shootings involving AR style/compatible weapons leaves a disturbing body count.
DC Sniper Attacks: 17
Las Vegas: 60
Aurora, CO: 12
Sandy Hook: 26
El Paso: 22
Wilkes-Barre shootings: 13
Waffle House: 4
San Bernardino: 16
Poway synagogue: 1
Sutherland Springs: 26
Geneva County shootings: 10
Tree of Life Synagogue: 11
And we know for certain there WILL be more, for as long as the tyranny of the minority prevails.
We have a choice in the matter. Do something, or do nothing. In fact, most gun owners, myself included, favor more regulation and background checks for purchases.
The “Do Nothing” crowd is louder, and better financed by the weapons industry than the “Do Something” people that make up the vast majority of Americans.
“The Post-ABC poll finds 86 percent of Americans support implementing “red flag” provisions allowing guns to be taken from people judged to be a danger to themselves or others. And 89 percent support expanding federal background checks to cover private sales and gun-show transactions. Both measures are supported by at least 8 in 10 Republicans, white evangelical Christians, members of gun-owning households and other traditionally conservative groups.”
Sadly majority rule is the exception rather than the rule in US government and politics. Those who most oppose gun control also want to control who votes. Democracy and the public’s wishes are not welcome in the debate. The minority over-represented by half the Senate will obstruct any and all gun regulations.
The loud minority opposes expanded background checks and banning large capacity weapons like the AR-15. They equate ownership of these deadly weapons to freedom itself. Never mind most of us who don’t have one are just as free as those who do. We were all just as free before the mass marketing of these weapons as we are today.
In fact the thousands of American who have been killed, wounded or lost family members from the muzzles of these weapons are NOT as free as they used to be. Their blood, lives, grief and loss are the price society pays so gun nuts, militia nuts, racists, and the mentally ill can carry on with their idea of “freedom”, “revenge”, and lately “Second Amendment remedies” to elections they lost. The “Do Nothing” crew accept all of these deaths, and all future deaths, as the price others must pay for their so-called “freedom”.
Imagine the militias and other civilian combatants in war-torn countries with their Rocket Propelled Grenade launchers. Are they “more free” than Americans? Only by a gun nut’s definition.
Some will claim the weapons are for “sport”, but it would only be sporting if there was a right to arm bears. If sport, and not outright slaughter, was their game, they’d be happy to hunt with muzzle loading, lever-action, or bolt action rifles. The more trigger happy hunters have hunted with 10 round semi-automatic rifles. Before the mass marketing of AR style weapons, hunters never demanded 30 round magazines to satisfy their sporting desires.
If the first shot misses, chances are the next 30 rounds won’t bring down the fleeing game. In 2009, the term "modern sporting rifle" was coined by the The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), a national trade association for the firearms industry. It is based in Newtown, Connecticut, home to families and children of the Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Then there’s the “home protection” and “self-defense” argument. Never mind guns are more likely to kill family members than violent criminals or intruders. And again, nobody has ever needed 30 rounds to deter a burglar. If anyone runs across an incident of self-defense that required that 30th round, please let me know. I’ll wait.
We'll hear their argument that handguns kill more Americans than AR style weapons. Yes, and they kill more Americans than Jihadist terrorism too. But we did something about that, didn't we? Now what do we do about radical Right domestic terrorism?
In 1994 Bill Clinton signed a temporary assault weapons ban that prohibited commercial sales of most AK-47 and AR style rifles. So, what happened next? Did freedom die?
No. Fewer Americans died. The ban expired in 2004. Then more Americans expired.
In January 2019 the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery reported, “Mass-shooting related homicides in the United States were reduced during the years of the federal assault weapons ban of 1994 to 2004.”
A Stanford study concluded, “The Assault Weapon Ban Saved Lives”
Australia, New Zealand and Canada did what the US cannot. They had enough, and did something about it. They “shut down the pump”, and banned those weapons of mass destruction.
Americans have also had enough. But the “Do Nothing” powers within our corrupted and failed democracy will not listen to we the people.
Freedom and humans both die when democracy is strangled. And the “Do Nothing” radical Right Americans are OK with that.