Editorial: Time to take action about gun violence

  • MIKE WATSON IMAGES

Published: 6/11/2019 10:45:14 AM

News reports state DeWayne Craddock emailed his supervisor that he was leaving his job as an engineer with the city of Virginia Beach. He wrote: “It has been a pleasure to serve the City,” but he was leaving for personal reasons.

Near the end of the day, Craddock used two semiautomatic handguns he purchased legally to kill 12 co-workers and injure four others. He was killed in a shootout with police.

It is unknown why this man did what he did.

What we do know is this is yet another act of gun violence in our nation. And we note this likely won’t be the last.

Since Jan. 1, the U.S. has had over 182 mass shootings — that is, where four or more people are shot, according to the https://www.massshootingtracker.org/.

Several have been high-profile cases such as the ones in Virginia Beach, the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and at the Poway Synagogue in California.

Most mass shootings, however, didn’t get that kind of attention.

In those cases, the victims ranged from people the shooters knew personally to people they didn’t but who happened to be in the way. There were incidents of gang violence.

The mass shootings happened in public spots, work places and parties.

Of course, these incidents don’t account for people who are killed by guns under the so-called mass shootings definition.

Such violence touched someone beloved in our Franklin County community — Meaghan Burns of Deerfield — when she and a fellow Navy corpsman were killed in a parking lot in Virginia by a shooter police say later took his own life.

Of course, talk about guns inevitably brings up the discussion about the Second Amendment, which states: “a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

But think back to the time when this amendment was passed. Do the terms ‘well regulated militia’ and ‘security of a free State’ have anything to do with the violence our nation is experiencing?

Certainly, the type of weaponry was not available then. And gun sales weren’t the big business it is today — with money to spare for lobbying politicians to get whatever manufacturers and sellers want.

(Kudos to those major sporting goods chains that have stopped making assault-style rifles available to their customers.)

Besides, we hear lots of talk about the rights of gun owners. What about those people who have been killed and injured by guns? What about their families?

We don’t oppose gun ownership. Certainly, there are those who use guns for hunting and other forms of sport. And we note those who take the responsibility of gun ownership seriously.

But this culture of guns and the violence it promotes has gotten way out of hand.

Is there anything we can do?

As parents and grandparents, we can be mindful of what the children in our lives watch on TV and in the movies, what they access on the internet, and the video games they play. These are opportunities for discussion.

But we also believe it is up to the leadership in this country to reach across the aisle and make the reduction of gun violence a priority. We don’t want to hear them say the victims are in their thoughts and prayers. We’d like to see them take some definitive action.




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