Twenty-six plus nine, plus how many more? Gun violence must be addressed

Tom Watkins

Three years ago, I wrote a column for Dome magazine decrying an act of domestic terror – the mass murder of 26 children and staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. I asked then, “When is enough enough?” The answer came this week from Charleston, S.C., where nine people were gunned down in their own church. Evidently we haven’t had enough yet.

If this mass murder of people of God in a church is not a wake up call and shakes our moral sensibilities to our core, I don’t know what will. I wrote that three years ago, too. What does that say about us?

I hope, again, that doing nothing will no longer be tolerated.

Once again, politicians are debating who is at fault. Let me make it easy for them – we all are at fault.

Once again, we need to call upon our nation’s leaders to take decisive action, on multiple fronts, to address this horror in our midst. If we do not come together now to address this madness, we are giving up on the very soul from which this great nation sprang.

A call to action

Our response needs to be more than another shrug. We need to declaw the National Rifle Association and their nonsense response that people are the problem, not guns.

Guns do kill. David Hemenway, a Harvard University public health specialist, has done significant research, indeed research of the research, on whether guns make us safer or not. He writes, “Of course it’s possible to find researchers who side with the NRA in believing that guns make our society safer, rather than more dangerous. As I’ve shown, however, they’re in the minority.”

We must find a sensible policy, law or regulation to keep these weapons off our streets and out of the hands of deranged people. To do so is not a violation of the Second Amendment and does not interfere with the rights of any legitimate gun owner.

Gun ownership for sport, self-protection or collection purposes is not at issue. Sensible people can develop laws that can help reduce if not prevent these mass killings while protecting Second Amendment rights.

We need to challenge and eliminate the culture of violence we tolerate in movies and video games that is corrosive to a healthy and stable society.

When Is enough enough?

When are we willing to recognize that senseless slaughter can be minimized and prevented if we mesh quality mental health services with sensible, enforceable, strong gun ownership laws and a demand that violence is not sold as entertainment?

Our national response must address easy access to guns and appropriate treatment for people with mental illness, at a minimum.

More deaths, more talk. Where is the outrage? The action?

The children at Sandy Hook Elementary School were just 6 or 7 years old when they were murdered. Our leaders promised to act then, and did not. Their failure is killing us.

Congress, Mr. President, stop allowing people to die in vain. As a nation, we are literally dying here. At Sandy Hook we had 20 little reasons to act. Now we can add 9 children of God to the death list.

For God’s sake, do something.

Source: Twenty-six plus nine, plus how many more? Gun violence must be addressed | Bridge Magazine