Donald Trump fires shots at gun control critics

29 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Addressing gun violence.

In a nation where more than 30,000 people are killed by guns every year and mass shootings are practically daily occurrences, it is harder and harder to get Americans to take note of the latest incident of gun violence.As a Virginia town recovers from the on-air shooting of two television journalists by a former station employee earlier this week, and as tributes to the two journalists flow in from around the country, politicians are weighing in on new calls for gun control reforms.

Terry McAuliffe (D), who used the opportunity of yet another high-profile shooting to point out that the nation’s gun laws, and those in his state, are deeply irrational.” Mr. Alison Parker and Adam Ward – a reporter and photographer, respectively, at Roanoke, Va., station WDBJ7 – were killed while reporting a story on Wednesday morning. McAuliffe’s statement was exactly the Gun Control Anthem, sung by many after every high-profile shooting, and perhaps the statement qualifies as productive because the editorial board agrees with it. The murder of two young journalists on live TV is horrible enough; that the assailant made a video of the shootings — and posted it on social media – suggests we’ve entered some new, ghastly frontier in America’s sick gun culture.

His motivations were a mix of the personal and political – Flanagan was a sad individual, who wallowed in imagined victimhood and wanted to start a race war on behalf of black people. In his statement, the governor mentions ”common sense” as if what is dictated by it is the best solution to some problem and the best explanation. Yet the response from gun control advocates was depressingly familiar: revulsion at the act itself, frustration that the steady drumbeat of gun violence continues and, above all, resignation that nothing can be done about it. The Republican-led legislature has rejected his gun control efforts since he took office last year. “There are too many guns in America, and there is clearly too many guns in the wrong hands. But on the same day of the Virginia shooting, Wal-mart, the largest seller of guns and ammunition in the country, announced it would stop selling semiautomatic assault rifles, including the AR-15, the gun used in the Sandy Hook and Aurora massacres.

He discussed his support for universal background checks, calling background checks “common sense,” but conceded that the gunman, Vester Flanagan, had passed a background check. The common-sense mentality when applied to addressing violence could be working to prevent finding solutions because that mentality crowds out, if you will, thinking outside the box. These are among the most popular firearms sold in the United States, making Wal-Mart’s claim that the move is driven solely by consumer demand highly dubious. Throughout our history, we have come together to tackle unsanitary living conditions and unsafe water, eliminated diseases that killed or crippled and reduced deaths from smoking and drunken driving. According to Ted Alcorn, research director at Everytown for Gun Safety, “There has been meaningful and significant progress in states across the country.” In November 2014, Washington voters supported a ballot measure requiring background checks for gun buyers.

To shrug our shoulders and say, as some do, that tackling gun deaths in this country is impractical or impossible and that some criminals will slip through the cracks anyway is not only unacceptable but also not the American way. Since 2013, 18 states, including red states like Alabama and South Carolina, have passed laws making it more difficult for domestic abusers to keep their guns. Gun advocates’ reaction to the tragedy in Virginia was predictable: There is no need for gun control; what is needed is more aggressive treatment of the mentally ill. We have violence issues in Europe too: just last week a man tried to shoot up a train, using a gun that he presumably bought on Europe’s sizeable arms black market.

Even the best-funded mental health program would not have been able to prevent the Virginia shootings because the perpetrator apparently had no known history of mental illness. To protect the population by identifying and treating every disgruntled employee turned potential violent killer would require such a massive invasion of personal privacy, including monitoring of e-mails, Facebook posts, tweets, telephone calls, etc., that it would dwarf the Patriot Act and make Stalinist Russia look like a bastion of liberty. Moreover, it is hard to imagine that the gun advocates would be any more willing to fund those efforts than they are to fund mental health programs already in existence. Virginia legislators are lining up to offer the usual and useless “prayers and thoughts” after yet another gun rampage, yet they are incapable of passing sensible laws aimed at preventing future carnage.

It took a quarter century for same-sex marriage to become the law of the land; national health care had been a progressive goal for decades and, tragically, it might take as long for the national debate on gun violence to turn. But change is already afoot, and the fact that Hillary Clinton used the shooting as an opportunity to talk about gun control suggests that the politics on this issue are slowly being transformed. It indicates that a) they aren’t being diagnosed until they have their first psychotic episode and b) prisons have replaced proper facilities and community support when it comes to managing tough cases. If the ill are not properly monitored and the paper trail is thin, they are next to useless, other than in instances where people have previously been locked up.

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