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It's the Guns, Stupid!

Patch blogger Robert Herbst gives his opinion on the American gun control debate.

It's the Guns, Stupid!


On December 14, 2012, a day that would end the gun control debate among a sensible, rational citizenry, two horrific incidents occurred on opposite sides of the world. 

In Newtown, CT, Adam Lanza attacked 21 children between the ages of 5 and 10 years old in an elementary school, killing 20 people, then killing himself.  In Chengping, in Henan Province, China, Min Yingjun attacked 22 children between the ages of 6 and 11 years in an elementary school, killing none, before being subdued.

Both men were obviously mentally deranged (who else would do this?), but the American kids died while the Chinese kids survived. While Lanza blazed away with guns, Min wielded only a knife. 

I am so sick of hearing the National Rifle Association and their gun-toting allies say “guns don’t kill people”; only people do.  Yesterday’s carnage should put that lie to rest forever. 

The Glock handgun and Bushmaster rifle, both capable of accommodating large magazines and firing off multiple rounds in seconds, permitted Lanza to cut down those poor little kids in minutes and to stop anyone who approached with thoughts of subduing him. 

That unstoppable killing power came solely from the assault weaponry that our freedom-loving and gun-loving American society freely provided him.  Shame on us!   

I am also so tired of hearing the NRA apologists say that we have to concentrate our efforts on keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.  We all know there is no way to do that, even if we Americans really gave a damn about mental health treatment, which we don’t pay for and don’t support. 

The guns Lanza used did not even belong to him, but to his mother, who was not mentally-disturbed and able to purchase them legally.  Why she wanted to do that, I don’t know, and now, of course, we cannot ask her, killed by her own gun in the hands of her son. What a nightmare.

I saw the President’s four-minute emotional statement Sunday, speaking again (as he has before) “as a parent, not as a President.”  I have no problem with his tears; he cares.  But I and others did not elect him to be First Parent.  We elected him to be President, and to do something about the policies that need changing. 

His spokespeople were plain wrong to say that the days following the shooting 'was not the time to talk about gun control,' or to “politicize” the tragedy. 

That’s what they said the last time, and the last time before that, and before that. 

The day never came for the President to talk about what to do about it. 

This tragedy, and the ones before that, are political, because they arise from flawed policies, which arise from our flawed, dysfunctional politics. 

I know that President Obama is in critical negotiations with the Republicans on trying to avoid the Fiscal Cliff, and this particular tragedy comes at a bad time, but there are 20 little bodies still lying in the Sandy Park Elementary School, crying out for action now.

Because there is no one to prosecute, the crime-scene photos in this case will probably never be seen.  The only people to be traumatized by the sight of the dead are likely to be the first responders who were required to endure it.  That is too bad.  We all should have to look upon what we have wrought, to let it sink in, to never forget what it is like in real life when guns mow down our little ones.  Maybe then we will get motivated, once and for all, to get rid of them.  

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