Enough is enough; let's try peace for a changeBy: Carol Feineman, Editor
This summer, I outlined a column about random violence after a stranger shot and murdered 12 moviegoers and injured 59 others July 20 at an Aurora, Colo. movie theater.
That night, Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said the suspect legally bought and possessed four guns in Colorado shops and more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition through the Internet, according to ABC News.
I was overwhelmed that anyone would create such a horrendous crime on unsuspecting movie-goers in an area Forbes magazine in 2011 said was the ninth safest city in this country.
Since I didn’t know where to begin or how to tie the column’s relevancy to quiet Lincoln, I put the column aside.
But I thought about the Colorado victims on Aug. 13 when I heard that a gunman killed a Texas constable and two others, and injured four others near Texas A&M University. The gunman’s Facebook page was said to include profile photos of rifles.
CNN quoted the Texas gunman’s mother saying her son was “ill” and the family was “shocked and devastated by the tragedy.” Before the shooting, the gunman had received an eviction notice.
I flashed again on my disbanded column and wondered whether I should write it, no matter how disturbing and painful the topic. But it was still easier to forget about the column.
Unfortunately, several other violent acts have since occurred, including a 22-year-old killing two adults and seriously injuring a teen at a Portland, Ore. mall on Dec. 12. AP said the suspect stole a rifle, according to police.
Closer to home, a Galt man in the process of a house eviction allegedly killed an animal control officer Nov. 28, according to TV Station KCRA. After a 17-hour standoff, police arrested him.
Sixteen days later, on Dec. 14, a 20-year-old gunman for unknown reasons killed his mother at home in Newtown, Conn. and then murdered 20 young students and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Images of confused and saddened children attending their classmates’ funerals were heart-wrenching.
I could no longer put off writing about gun violence, even if it’s the holiday season.
President Barack Obama rightfully led discussions last week on tightening gun control laws.
Obama’s plans include convincing Congress to ban the sale of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips and to prevent criminals from buying guns.
He also appointed Vice President Joe Biden to lead a task force “to come up with a set of concrete proposals no later than January” on ending this country’s epidemic gun violence.
“I will do everything in my power as president to advance these efforts because if there’s even one thing we can do as a country to protect our children, we have a responsibility to try,” Obama said in a video response Friday to gun control advocates. He said “hundreds of thousands” have called for action to fight gun violence on the administration’s “We the People” petition website.
While many Americans are saying to stop making guns so available, the National Rifle Association wants more guns visible as executive vice president Wayne LaPierre expressed in a press conference Friday.
LaPierre’s press conference statement included, “I call on Congress today to act immediately, to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every school — and to do it now, to make sure that blanket of safety is in place when our children return to school in January. Before Congress reconvenes, before we engage in any lengthy debate over legislation, regulation or anything else, as soon as our kids return to school after the holiday break, we need to have every single school in America immediately deploy a protection program proven to work — and by that I mean armed security.”
California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris immediately responded last Friday, opposing the National Rifle Association’s statements.
The California attorney general’s statement was, “It has been a painful week since the horrifying tragedy in Newtown. Instead of reckless calls to saturate our schools with guns, we should remove guns from the hands of dangerous people. California is the only state with a strong program that identifies and disarms prohibited persons, which should serve as a national model. I will strengthen this program and support stricter state and federal legislation, including Senator Feinstein’s effort to pass a federal assault weapons ban.”
Finishing this column, I imagined the scores of angry readers who will cite the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment as justification to banning stronger gun-control laws. But, if our forefathers could have envisioned the violence now seen daily, I’m sure they would have placed limitations on the automatic right to bear arms.
Reducing violence. I don’t know of a more perfect Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Eid Al-Fitr gift.
Sadly, for the 27 victims in Connecticut, it’s too late for that kind of gift.
But let’s take the appropriate steps so this type of tragedy never happens again.