by Tom Buglio
Yesterday’s mass shooting at the Navy Yard by yet another mentally disturbed young man is becoming depressingly ordinary. Twelve people were shot to death by a young man with an AK-47 semi-automatic rifle and a pistol for no reason.
Since Sandy Hook last December, America has suffered over 20,000 gun deaths, including 6 by the Santa Monica shooting in May, and 3 by the evicted man in Saylorsville PA at a government meeting. In fact, more people have died by gun violence in this country since 1968 than in all of the wars in American history!
Yet, there is no sense of urgency to do anything about it, other than 7 states who have enacted tougher laws. Colorado was one of them, and what was the result? The gun rights advocates, funded by the NRA, engineered a recall election that ousted two brave legislators whose only ‘crime’ was passing universal background checks and 15 bullet magazines. With only 11% of voters weighing in, this was truly the will of the rabid minority over the will of the people.
Meanwhile, in Washington, Congress has far more important things to attend to, like voting to repeal ‘Obamacare’ for the 41st time, or deciding whether or not to keep the doors of government open.
The Naval shipyard, where the recent shooting occurred, is in Congress’s backyard. Will this wake them up to deal seriously with the life and death problem of gun violence in America? Not likely, when even the shooting of a colleague, Gabby Giffords, did little to create the urgency needed to make meaningful change in the gun violence that runs amok in our nation.
The next time you hear a politician say that ‘new laws won’t do any good, just enforce the ones on the books,’ remind them of what happened in Australia. In 1996, after a particularly horrific mass gun violence incident, Australia’s government enacted sweeping laws on common sense gun safety within 3 months. The result? No mass shootings in Australia since! This can only happen here when our politicians stop fearing the backlash of the NRA, and stand up to do the right thing: protect American lives, instead of their own careers.