Yesterday saw another deadly school shooting that took ten (10) lives and left another dozen physically injured and many, many more left emotionally and psychologically harmed. How could it happen again so soon after the Parkland massacre? Simple, the United States is the sole advanced nation that has ridiculous and insane gun laws which, combined with a perverse gun mania among too much of the citizenry, nearly guarantees endless pools of blood. No other country has the level of gun violence and, contrary to the talking points of the National Rifle Association, study after study have documented that more guns makes people less safe. Indeed, later in the day after a high school graduation near Atlanta, Georgia, a shooting claimed a life when a dispute broke out and an armed individual used a gun at a venue where no gun ever should have been present. When will the insanity stop and when will the Supreme Court clamp down and interpret some sanity into the 2nd Amendment. An editorial in the New York Times looks at the unique irresponsibility of America's gun laws and continued failure of Congress to act as the blood continues to flow. It's time to make change happen. Enough with the bullshit of "thoughts and prayers" which do absolutely nothing constructive. Here are editorial highlights:
Inevitably, predictably, fatefully, another mass shooting breaks our hearts. This time, it is a school shooting in Texas.But what is perhaps most heartbreaking of all is that they shouldn’t be shocking. People all over the world become furious and try to harm others, but only in the United States do we suffer such mass shootings so regularly; only in the United States do we lose one person every 15 minutes to gun violence.
So let’s not just mourn the dead, let’s not just lower flags and make somber speeches. Let’s also learn lessons from these tragedies, so that there can be fewer of them. In particular, I suggest that we try a new approach to reducing gun violence — a public health strategy.
The first step is to understand the scale of the challenge America faces: The U.S. has more than 300 million guns – roughly one for every citizen – and stands out as well for its gun death rates. At the other extreme, Japan has less than one gun per 100 people, and typically fewer than 10 gun deaths a year in the entire country.
Gun enthusiasts often protest: Cars kill about as many people as guns, and we don’t ban them! No, but automobiles are actually a model for the public health approach I’m suggesting.
We don’t ban cars, but we work hard to regulate them – and limit access to them – so as to reduce the death toll they cause. This has been spectacularly successful, reducing the death rate per 100 million miles driven by 95 percent since 1921.
The left sometimes focuses on “gun control,” which scares off gun owners and leads to more gun sales. A better framing is “gun safety” or “reducing gun violence,” and using auto safety as a model—constant efforts to make the products safer and to limit access by people who are most likely to misuse them.
What would a public health approach look like for guns if it were modeled after cars? It would include:
Background Checks: 22 percent of guns are obtained without one.
Protection Orders: Keep men who are subject to domestic violence protection orders from having guns.
Ban Under-21s: A ban on people under 21 purchasing firearms (this is already the case in many states).
Safe Storage: These include trigger locks as well as guns and ammunition stored separately, especially when children are in the house.
Straw Purchases: Tighter enforcement of laws on straw purchases of weapons, and some limits on how many guns can be purchased in a month.
Ammunition Checks: Experimentation with a one-time background check for anybody buying ammunition.
End Immunity: End immunity for firearm companies. That’s a subsidy to a particular industry.
Ban Bump Stocks: A ban on bump stocks of the kind used in Las Vegas to mimic automatic weapon fire.
Research ‘Smart Guns’: “Smart guns” fire only after a fingerprint or PIN is entered, or if used near a particular bracelet.If someone steals my iPhone, it’s useless, and the same should be true of guns. Gun manufacturers made child-proof guns back in the 19th century (before dropping them), and it’s time to advance that technology today. Some combination of smart guns and safe storage would also reduce the number of firearms stolen in the U.S. each year, now about 200,000, and available to criminals.
It is true that guns are occasionally used to stop violence. But contrary to what the National Rifle Association suggests, this is rare. One study by the Violence Policy Center found that in 2012 there were 259 justifiable homicides by a private citizen using a firearm. . . . . The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence finds that states where guns are more regulated tend to have lower gun death rates.
The evidence is overwhelming that overall more guns and more relaxed gun laws lead to more violent deaths and injuries. One study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that a gun in the house was associated with an increased risk of a gun death, particularly by suicide but also apparently by homicide.
[R]emember that although it is mass shootings that get our attention, they are not the main cause of loss of life. Much more typical is a friend who shoots another, a husband who kills his wife – or, most common of all, a man who kills himself. Skeptics will say that if people want to kill themselves, there’s nothing we can do. In fact, it turns out that if you make suicide a bit more difficult, suicide rates drop.
For skeptics who think that gun laws don’t make a difference, consider what happened in two states, Missouri and Connecticut. In 1995, Connecticut tightened licensing laws, while in 2007 Missouri eased gun laws. The upshot? After tightening gun laws, firearm homicide rates dropped 40 percent in Connecticut. And after Missouri eased gun laws, gun homicide rates rose 25 percent.
In many places, there is more rigorous screening of people who want to adopt dogs than of people who want to purchase firearms.
There’s simply a scandalous lack of research on gun violence, largely because the N.R.A. is extremely hostile to such research and Congress rolls over. When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did try to research gun violence, Congress responded by cutting its funding.
[T]he blunt, damning truth: Friday’s school shooting was 100 percent predictable. After each such incident, we mourn the deaths and sympathize with the victims, but we do nothing fundamental to reduce our vulnerability. . . . more Americans have died from gun violence, including suicides, since 1970 (about 1.4 million) than in all the wars in American history going back to the Revolutionary War (about 1.3 million). And it’s not just gang-members: In a typical year, more pre-schoolers are shot dead in America (about 75) than police officers are.
So let’s not just shed tears for the dead, give somber speeches and lower flags. Let’s get started and save lives.