So, it’s happened again. We awoke Friday morning to the news that yet another mass shooting has occurred. The stories themselves seem to come out like rapid fire. Not long ago I wrote an article about the imagery of guns used by politicians to draw the support of the gun lobby. That time it was Kentucky’s own senator, Rand Paul, who appeared in an ad with a photo of a rifle pointed at the President’s head. And on Thursday this past week, someone had shared an image of a page on Facebook that has as its cover photo the American flag, an eagle and an assault rifle, as if a rifle has any valid association with the other two images. Almost 40,000 people like their page, so it makes me wonder: Will the next shooter come from one of their fans since they proclaim ‘by bullet or ballot the republic is coming’?
Where is the next shooter with a mental health illness that somehow all the people around them failed to notice? When will it get so bad that malls, theaters and college universities become ghost towns due to the fear of the next James Holmes? Many people don’t let their fear hold them back, but at what point does enough become enough?
Many people ignorantly profess that if only someone else carrying a gun were in the theater, they could have taken the shooter out. Unless you’re a sharp shooter trained in guarding someone like the President and you were using body armor piercing ammunition and can see through smoke, even your best efforts would have failed. Aside from jumping the guy, nothing else would have stopped him.
When Ronald Reagan was shot, the issue of stronger gun control was a no-brainer, although it took another twelve years before the Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act was signed into law, requiring federal background checks on firearm purchases. But even that legislation has been somewhat shredded by the NRA lobby.
Many states have various waiting periods for certain things and every time you purchase Sudafed or something containing the main ingredient, you must present photo i.d. and your purchase is logged into a database where you are essentially cut off if you attempt to purchase too much of the drug in a certain amount of time for fear you are using it to make methamphetamine. We have so many controls over drugs and abortions, but not so much over guns, specifically assault rifles.
I’m not opposed to private, law abiding citizens owning handguns for personal protection and hunting, but where do we draw the line in the sand and say enough. Are all gun and ammunition purchases being tracked and analyzed so that people like James Holmes can’t fall through the cracks? Would that even be enough? Once again we call on an honest debate about how firearms can have a place in a civilized society, but who is willing to make the first move and possibly take on staunch opponents of any kind of restrictions? Maybe we could start by banning the use of firearms in any kind of ad where politicians use their name and face. I wonder if that is something Rand Paul could get behind.