Dec 2012 17

by Sandor Stern

Dear Republican Friends,

Regarding your stance on gun control…

On December 14th, 20 schoolchildren and 6 adults were massacred by gunfire at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. The following day, the Los Angeles Times front page headline read: “Evil Visited This Community.” Really? Evil? Have we come so far in the 21st Century that our response to a horrendous act by a mentally unbalanced man is couched in the terms of the 17th Century? Are we still responding to human initiated barbarity with labels like “evil” or perhaps “witch”? Does the impulsive action of one demented soul approach the level of planned and organized mass killings that rightly bear the description of evil. To label the actions of this man as evil is to suggest a fateful biblical connotation allowing us to throw up our hands in despair and defeat.

Lets be real. This act was not biblical. It was not evil. Even though human perpetrated, it was a natural disaster like any other natural disaster –– hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunami’s, tornados –– the list is small but the results are devastating. Until we approach mass killings as natural disasters we will continue to do nothing about them but bury our dead and chew up paper and airtime in a repetitive gnashing of teeth and rending of cloth. We cannot prevent natural disasters but we can reduce their fatality rate. Earthquakes kill less people in communities that institute proper building codes. That’s the reason less people die and fewer buildings are destroyed in Los Angeles as compared to Mexico or China. New Orleans would have suffered quantitatively less damage from flooding had there been the foresight and the will to strengthen their levees. Hurricane Sandy is a prime example of foresight and will. The City of Long Beach, NY suffered enormous property damage while the beach cities on either side faired much better. Why? Because in 2006 all beach cities were offered the opportunity to have the Army Corp Of Engineers build protective sand dune barriers at the cost to each city of 10%, while the government paid the additional 90%. Beach cities on either side of Long Beach said yes. The Long Beach City Council voted 5-0 against it.

As for the catastrophe of mass killings, though we will never prevent them, we can through foresight and will reduce the number of victims. In the Los Angeles Times on the same day as the headline quoted above, another article appeared. At an elementary school in China, a man attacked and slashed 22 children. Slashed –– he had no gun. Of the children attacked, four were hospitalized with serious wounds. None were killed. This was the first such attack in a year. This is a country with four times our population. Newtown was the seventh mass killing in the USA this year. Since 1982 there have been 61 mass killings in this country. The weapons used totaled 139 firearms. And this is only the tally for mass killings. Every year more than thirty thousand people die in the US from gunshot wounds. Eight thousand are homicide deaths. Sixteen thousand are suicides and another thousand are accidental deaths. The remainder of deaths are police related. If we have the foresight and will to reduce our death toll it is obvious that firearms are the key.

This is not about illegal weapons. Of the weapons used in mass killings since 1982, more than three quarters were legally purchased. This is not about the interpretation or misinterpretation of the 2nd Amendment –- even though it begins with the words “a well regulated militia” and makes one muse on the militia status of the vast majority of gun owners. This is about the type of weapon allowed in the hands of any citizen. The victims in Newtown were shot multiple times. The killer used a Bushmaster .223-caliber rifle that can hold up to thirty rounds. So what hunter needs a rifle that fires thirty rounds? What homeowner needs thirty rounds of rapid fire to protect his property from a robber? This is madness, folks, and it is a madness on an organized level. The NRA and its lobbying and bullying must bear the brunt of this lack of foresight and planning. I say to any of you who will not support gun control laws that you are enablers of mass murder. Think about that when you cry over those innocent lives lost last Friday. Perhaps it’s not too late to find your conscience.

Your friend,


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