Editor’s note: This commentary is by Walt Amses, a writer and former educator who lives in North Calais.
It worked out precisely as the National Rifle Association would have it: The only thing that stopped a bad guy with a gun were good guys with guns. Unfortunately, the bad guy shot and killed 12 people before the good guys shot him, just as other mass shooters have been able to do with increasing regularity while the National Rifle Association paralyzes any rational effort to control the firepower available to just about anyone.
What happened in Washington though, is contradictory to their particular mantra. When Aaron Alexis walked into the Washington Navy Yard, apparently the only weapon he had was a shotgun. Which means that he acquired the semi-automatic, which reportedly did most of the damage, from a specially trained, armed guard. This flies in the face of NRA gospel that simply possessing a weapon is a deterrent. This fantasy has proven false time and again, usually with tragic results, as weapons purchased for self defense are more apt to injure or kill the owner or their family rather than provide the touted protection.
In the wake of the mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School last December that took the lives of 26 people including 20 first graders, The NRA’s response was that that there are too few guns rather than too many, essentially advocating that if everyone had a gun, we’d all be a lot safer. However preposterous that sounds don’t look for the gun fetishists to change their tune any time soon. They’ve already lamented that the Navy facility was a gun-free-zone.
Hundreds of shots are fired in the time it takes to dial 911. First responders are as likely to have PTSD as soldiers returning from a war zone. Almost 25,000 Americans have died in gun violence since Newtown. Mass murder is routine.
The madness knows no bounds: Iowa grants gun permits to the blind. In Texas, congressional Republican Louie Gohmert believes limiting magazine capacity could lead to group marriage and bestiality. Oklahoma GOP Sen. Jim Inhofe suggested that Newtown parents had no business entering the debate over gun control. This August, tone deaf gun advocates staged a “Starbucks Appreciation Day” in Newtown to thank the coffee shop for allowing them to openly “carry” on the premises. (The coffee giant had the sense to close that afternoon.)
Wayne LaPierre — head of the NRA’s political goon squad — believes the real victims of mass shootings are gun owners, whose “liberty” is threatened every time someone decides to visit carnage at the mall, cinema or elementary school. The Second Amendment — behind which LaPierre and paranoid minions consistently hide was ratified in 1791, when the arms Americans had a right to own consisted of single-shot muskets.
The problem is not with guns or gun owners — most of whom, including NRA members, are not against additional sensible regulations including more comprehensive background checks. The firepower routinely available enables anyone, anywhere to instantaneously mow down dozens in a matter of seconds.
Hundreds of shots are fired in the time it takes to dial 911. First responders are as likely to have PTSD as soldiers returning from a war zone. Almost 25,000 Americans have died in gun violence since Newtown. Mass murder is routine. And there is absolutely no reason to believe there isn’t someone out there right now thinking: “Twelve? I can do better than that.”
The means to such revolting ends should be more difficult to acquire.