Maybe we need more Marsupials??

The Year 2015 has been a horrendous year for deaths due to gun violence and mass shootings. There have been one mass shooting every day in Yr-2015 and the statistics are saddening – 2015 Mass Shooting Deaths

We have been having this debate for a while now and the talking points for the gun ownership side is really getting stale. Same talking points same reactions but the number of Mass Shootings continues unabated.

After this most recent horrific shooting if we would like to revisit the gun control issue, the overwhelming answer from gun advocates is:
a) This is NOT the time to talk about gun control this is the time to grieve (as stated by Louisiana Governor Jindal when questioned after the Lafayette shooting)
b) We should not politicize the issue as it it is the time to mourn

So let’s unpack that:
– “When”? is it the right time to talk about gun control? At 372 shootings in YR-2015 is our  leadership saying that we literally don’t have any time to have a conversation since we are in “constant” grief and mourning mode? That is ridiculous beyond any realms of rationality.
– How come the horrific Bengazi killings CAN be politicized with not one, not two but NINE hearings and counting but we cannot have a meaningful conversation in the Congress about gun control?

President Obama in utter frustration actually called for the politicization of this issue. I guess this was his way of telling people that he cannot do it all alone, the public must exert their influence in the voting booth. (LINK)

I have covered the whole issue of how the NRA influences this issue Link to Blog Post . But the broader issue is how do we do what Australia and Great Britain have been able to do with sensible gun control (granted they did not have a “Second Amendment” to deal with). The statistic below is very sobering and should really put the gun debate in perspective:

 

NBC News summarized the data this way:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 153,144 people were killed by homicide in which firearms were used between 2001 and 2013, the last year that data are available (that number excludes deaths by “legal intervention”).
The Global Terrorism Database – which uses a criteria to determine terrorist attacks but also includes acts of violence that are more ambiguous in goal – estimates that 3,046 people in the U.S. died in terrorist or possible terrorist attacks between 2001 and 2014.
The top number doesn’t even include suicides and legal police killings (which boost the number to 394,912). Still, just counting homicides alone, 11,780 Americans were killed by guns a year on average, in that time period, while 219 on average were per year killed by terrorism – although of course the 9/11 attacks are the bulk of the deaths.

Obama in his address – ““We spend over a trillion dollars, and pass countless laws, and devote entire agencies to preventing terrorist attacks on our soil, and rightfully so. And yet, we have a Congress that explicitly blocks us from even collecting data on how we could potentially reduce gun deaths.  How can that be?”

So why can’t we do what Australia did after the mass shooting in Tasmania. How was a conservative President in Australia able to mobilize a national cause and address this issue in one fell sweep?

We need a social movement on gun control. The second Amendment gives us the right to bear arms. But we also have the right to NOT bear arms.

In this article here the author references a colleague who states – This is not about the government saying you cannot own a handgun. This is about society saying you should not have a gun, especially in a home with children.”

Source:http://otherwords.org/automatic-congressional-allegiance/

The bottom line is we need to do something fast as trusting our elected officials to mobilize a solution has been a bleak proposition for quite sometime.

(bad pun intended) – we need a call to arms!

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The Right to Arm Bears

Jon Stewart had a segment on his show this detailing why the Republicans were blocking the confirmation of Dr. Vivek Murthy for the post of Surgeon General.- Daily Show – America Stands it’s Ground. The source of the issue came from the NRA and Senator Rand Paul who started a campaign against the confirmation of Dr. Murthy.

The crux of this is NRA’s apprehension that Dr. Murthy’s outspoken views on “sensible” gun control which in fact are not that radical and in line with what most Americans want, from a reform perspective. So then why IS the NRA worried about this specific nomination to the point that their campaigning has caused the White House to put a halt on the nomination till the elections are completed?

The answer as “control”. The NRA has been very successful in advancing the “fear” propaganda. Guns are safe,  there are a myriad of unseen terrors lurking that can get us and being armed is the best recourse for our personal safety. In addition they have been very successful suppressing data on gun violence.

The Second Amendment provides the right to bear arms and this has been debated ad nauseum regarding the historical relevance of the Amendment. If our forefathers had the “fore”sight that a person, 225 years later would be able to go on the web and buy an AR-15 maybe they would have done a double take on the “right to bear arms” amendment. I get that you need guns to hunt but c’mon semi automatic and sophisticated handguns? These are the same nut jobs that need to buy a Hummer – since the terrain from the gated community to the super market is like Fallujah.

Almost every other advanced country have either no gun ownership or some form of restricted gun ownership and that has had obvious positive impacts on gun related violence. So why is this hard for our country to grasp? What is the fetish with gun ownership that lets our brains go through a cognitive dissonance every time we see a mass shooting in the news? It is always the same three points:

a) It is protected by the constitution – Fine. No argument there.

b) Guns don’t kill, People do – really? that is a viable argument? So if the gunman in the Newtown, CT killings had a bunch of knives (and killer ninja stars) he would be able to kill those poor innocent children at the speed, that he did?

c) I am a law abiding gun owner and I should have the freedom to own the guns I want – That is circular logic. If it has been proven via data and polling that there are certain types of guns (if regulated) will greatly reduce the number of violent gun crimes, isn’t a little bit of sensible regulation good?

Source: http://ksmleadership.com/gun-control/

So what is the solution. It is not attacking the NRA as the boogieman. The NRA is a non profit organization and lobbyist. It is protected by the First Amendment and should be commended for their effectiveness in driving the gun ownership agenda in this country with a maniacal focus.

The obvious answer then becomes our elected representatives doesn’t it?. Here is Obama’s proposed Gun Control measures that were put together post the Connecticut Mass Shootings.Universal Background checks and Assault Weapon Bans are really items that the Congress can do to positively influence gun crime. But that is not happening anytime soon.

And that brings us back to our circle jerk. As Jon Stewart states in his segment, Dr. Murthy is standing for the nomination of Surgeon General – best he can do is put warning labels on bullets!

Lobbyists will lobby that is what they do. There must be a greater conviction amongst our elected officials to be pragmatic, rational and logical. Else we are doomed. We can’t let the rhetoric crackpots influence elected officials.

You know the folks that traverse this arc on a minute by minute basis – Freedom->Guns->Greatest Country->Liberty->God (I know I am missing a few more from the Fringe Bingo Card).

Would taking the “obvious” baseball bat and hitting our elected officials on the head, result in them:

– Appointing or Not Appointing Dr. Murthy based on his experience and qualifications for the position – not because of his views on gun control?
– Passing sensible gun control regulations like background checks and assault weapon ban?

I don’t know…time will tell. Common sense is not so common these days!