Editorial: Deadly Decisions

Newspapers across this country and many from around the world have this week been clamoring to express their opinions about the shooting in Aurora, Colorado last Friday. The latest citizen massacre has even prompted Mayor Mike Bloomberg to pen his thoughts on the issue in Wednesday’s Daily News.

The aggressive debate arena of gun control has once again been sparked. It will rev up to a veritable frenzy in the media, as this nation has become accustomed to, and then with as much suddenness as its appearance, it will vanish into a sea of other news fronts, slipping away, the crisis reported, the problem unchanged.

A massacre over last weekend at a movie theater in the suburbs of Denver is now part of a pool of statistics that includes the 4,685 people who died in 965 mass-murders in the twenty-eight
year span from 1980 to 2008. And in the same time period starting in the ‘80’s, single-victim gun killings have dropped more than 40 percent but the total number of people dying in attacks that claimed four or more victims climbed from an average of 161 a year in the 1980s to 163 between 2006 and 2008 according to FBI statistics.

Opinions on both sides of the gun control issue are not alone in this arena. They are accompanied by the same questions and the declamations. “How could God let this happen?” and “What will it take to end this?” “This can never happen again.”

As for God, he has made his stance on gun control very clear—thou shalt not kill—and really, do you really want to hang this one on God? This incident and all of its predecessors are the result of one thing alone, the gun laws in the U.S.

Obviously the answer to the second question is the most disturbing. What will it take to end this? We can answer that one with what it does not take. Not another attack like this one.Otherwise it would have ended after a shooter killed 13 people and wounded 26 in Columbine or after 12 more people were killed and 24 more wounded in Texas at Fort Hood, and how about after the 32 victims killed at Virginia Tech.

And what about the 20 mass shoot- ings occurring on average in the Unit- ed States every year? In most of them the wounded total far outnumbers the one or two deaths that occur and they go unreported nationally. A case in point was a shooting in a bar in Ala- bama, where a gunman opened fire and shot 17 people, thankfully no one was killed. However, The same gun laws armed that shooter as did James Holmes in Colorado.

We’re not going to preach to you about the need for stiffer gun control laws. That need has been spelled out in the blood of innocent victims who went to school for class, or who were excited to attend the opening of a movie. But what we are asking you to do is carry your request to the elected officials and policy makers who hold the power of our voice.

The recurrence of these massacres makes evident the fact that gun laws must be changed and wind up in a place where the freedom of Americans is not protected to the point where it is the very thing that puts our lives in danger.

It appears that guns and the right to own them are so enmeshed in the fabric of our society that we are willing to pay the price as a nation. What a deadly decision that has proven to be.


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