Yesterday, a man named Devin Patrick Kelley entered a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and opened fire on the people inside the church, killing at least 26 and injuring many more. He performed this atrocity with a gun. The gun was a Luger assault rifle, a German weapon designed for warfare, not self-protection..
There are those who will say that it is too soon to discuss the relevant fact that this crime, this mass murder, was committed with a gun. They would say that it is disrespectful of the victims to use this atrocity to launch a discussion of gun regulations, or lack thereof. NO, it is not too soon and it is not disrespectful. It is exactly the right time, when perhaps a few people get angry enough to make some changes around here! What is disrespectful is to fail to heed what is happening in this nation, to allow people to continue to bring guns into public places and shoot people. All the recent gun atrocities should be a wake up call, but instead there are those who want to keep saying, “hush, hush now, don’t upset anyone”. What is disrespectful is Donald Trump’s comment …
“We have a lot of mental health problems in our country, as do other countries, but this isn’t a guns situation [emphasis added] … we could go into it but it’s a little bit soon to go into it. Fortunately, somebody else had a gun that was shooting in the opposite direction, otherwise it wouldn’t have been as bad as it was, it would have been much worse.”
This is, indeed, a “guns situation”. Granted, Mr. Kelley had a history of violence, having been court-martialed in 2012 on charges of assaulting his wife and child. He was sentenced to 12 months’ confinement and received a “bad conduct” discharge in 2014. So yes, he was obviously mentally unstable, so why was he allowed to own a gun? And an assault rifle, one that was banned for ten years until 2004 when the NRA convinced Congress to allow the ban on assault weapons to lapse.
Yes, Donald Trump, this is precisely a “guns situation”, for without the gun, Mr. Kelley would have been unable to kill 26 people. Had he entered that building with a knife or even a machete, he would not have been able to murder 26 people. Just as Dylan Roof, Charles Whitman, and Stephen Paddock, to name just a few, would not have killed anybody, but for their guns.
This nation is indeed under attack, but the threat does not come from Middle-Eastern refugees … the threat comes from our own backyard. The threat comes from those who go about uttering the same tired old phrase “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. Yes, people kill people … mostly with guns! Typically white, male U.S. citizens with a grudge against somebody or something, real or imagined, and with a gun!
To add insult to Trump’s inane statement, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton made equally inane remarks, calling for more armed security guards in church or “at least arming some of the parishioners so they can respond to something like this.” The same ol’ spiel we hear from the NRA … if some guns are causing mass shootings and deaths, then more guns must be the solution. Paxton also used that other tired old NRA adage: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Well guess what, folks? That one has been disproven time and time again, but the NRA and its proponents always manage to put a different spin on it. Not to mention that they manage to put enough greenbacks in the pockets of Congress to sway their votes. Let me ask you a question: You own a gunshop. A man walks into your shop, wants to buy a gun. Is he a “good guy” or a “bad guy”? You don’t know, you cannot know. And frankly, even if he is a good guy today, there is nothing that says he won’t turn into a bad guy under a given set of circumstances. All you know is that he is a human, subject to the foibles that have plagued mankind since the beginning of time.
Gun laws in this nation are a joke, for truly, there are few laws and they are not uniformly enforced. It is obvious that We The People do not matter, for some 80% of people in this nation are in favour of tougher restrictions on gun ownership, including re-establishing the ban on assault weapons and denying gun ownership to the mentally ill and to those with a history of violence. Those are bare-bones minimum requirements, and yet even though the vast majority support those regulations, Congress is unwilling to pass such laws, for the NRA is buying their vote. If you are satisfied with this situation, if you are sitting back saying how terrible this tragedy was, but believing it cannot happen to you or your family … then you are part of the problem.
As for me, I am not going to wait for “the right time” to shine a very bright spotlight on this issue, for there will never be a “right time” in the minds of those who don’t wish to hear what I have to say. I can only say that at this point, I am thoroughly disgusted with the so-called president, with Congress, and with those who sit back and allow the status quo, who support unlimited gun ownership. I am very seriously considering taking my family to another country, one where it is understood that, human nature being what it is, guns do not belong in the hands of every Tom, Dick and Harry.