Guns Don’t Kill People—People With Guns Do!
By Mildred Robertson
You’re kidding, right? Just when I thought an intelligent conversation could be had regarding gun violence in America, we see the National Rifle Association (NRA) cock its pistol and send politicians fleeing for cover. After coming out earlier this week as an advocate for a sane conversation about gun control, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin repeatedly praised and defended the NRA, saying on Wednesday that he’s “not supporting a ban on anything.”
It is apparent that Manchin was taken to the woodshed for promoting the idea that a discussion of gun laws was imperative following the horrific slaughter of the innocents at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton, Connecticut. Falling back on the age-old adage that “guns don’t kill people; people kill people,” Manchin tried to defend the interpretation of the 2nd Amendment as the unfettered right to gun possession. In his turn-about, he actually pointed to video games as the culprit spawning gun violence, citing the game “Grand Theft Auto” as an example.
Manchin and his gun-toting friends are partially right. While guns don’t kill people, people with guns do. It is unfathomable to me that the NRA or anyone else, for that matter, would fight for the right of the average individual to own a gun that can kill 20 people in a matter of seconds? While I am not a hunter, I am fairly certain you don’t need 20 rounds per second to take down Bambi.
But the truth is that an inordinate number of people are slain each year in America, many in senseless bloodbaths such as the one witnessed in Newton Connecticut. According to the Washington Post, Mother Jones has tracked and mapped every shooting spree over the last three decades. “Since 1982, there have been at least 61 mass murders carried out with firearms across the country, with the killings unfolding in 30 states from Massachusetts to Hawaii,” they found. The Post reports that in most cases, the killers had obtained their weapons legally.
It is obvious that the NRA has flexed it sizable political muscle to cow those who might be prepared to enter into serious discussion about reforming gun laws. But our politicians need to be bigger than that. The reform of gun legislation is far past due in this country.
At some point, our political leaders must muster the courage to stand up for what they believe. Just like Vicki Soto in that elementary classroom in Sandy Hooks, they must be willing to step into harms way to protect those over whom they have charge.