By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog.
Wanna get fired up?
Check out the Chat Room and its four disparate views on the gun control debate. I most closely agree with Tom Mauser, who came by his credentials the hardest way imaginable—he lost a son at the Columbine slaughter 10 years ago. He writes about America's inconceivable numbness to mass gun slayings.
What he says is all too true: If 25 people are slaughtered all at once by a lone gunman, the event may stay in the news cycle for a couple of days—maybe longer if the victims are children. But if a gunman slays one or two adults at a holdup in an inner-city neighborhood, it merits minimal coverage in local news outlets these days. How have we become so inured to gun violence that it takes a mass killing to grab our attention? He writes:
Gun violence has become our domestic terrorism. We lose nearly 11,000 to gun homicide each year, and three times that number are injured. But that's not enough to stir most Americans into action.
Too many Americans are influenced by the excuses and slick clichés of the gun lobby. You've heard them all—"Guns don't kill people, people kill people"; "One more gun law won't make a difference." But excuses and clichés don't solve problems. Meanwhile, the gun lobby just keeps offering up the same, tired old solutions: more guns, no new gun laws, fewer gun restrictions, and more punishment. We've been there and done that, yet still have a shameful gun violence problem.
Bravo, Tom Mauser. I was in England in 1998 when two U.S. Capitol policemen were slaughtered by a gunman who snuck inside the Capitol building with a weapon and opened fire. A British TV correspondent reporting from the scene said that not even this unthinkable crime would prompt Americans to increase gun control laws (implying that in England, where gun ownership is much more restricted, such a crime would lead to even tougher regulations). We sit idly by while the gun lobby lulls Americans into ignoring the rising cacophony of gunfire ricocheting through cities and towns, across school yards, to the hilltops and beyond. Other countries watch us and think we're crazy, because, guess what, we are!
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