My Turn: Stop just sitting back as gun problem escalates in our country


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

I don’t know about you, but I am really tired! 189 more deaths from guns since Las Vegas. There have been 31 school shootings since Columbine and no changes to the regulation of guns. In the last 477 days as of this writing, there have been 521 mass shooting in America with zero action from Congress. We are all complicit in this complete breakdown of our society.

The second amendment of the Constitution of the United States ratified Dec. 15, 1791, states clearly, “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Now remember, this was originated and ratified before women and most folks living in the 13 states had the right to vote, except for white men. The 13 states were founded between 1787 and 1790, whereas the newly formed United States of America had a limited Federal militia. The right to bear arms in 1791 to defend oneself had a whole lot different meaning than the right to bear weapons of mass destruction in 2017. Today, our Federal militias — including the Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and National Guard — bear enough arms to destroy the world a million times over.

The United States has the most firearms per capita in the world. Americans are seven times more likely to die from violence and six times more likely to be accidentally killed with a gun. Even though the United States has 50 percent of the top 22 richest nation’s population, Americans account for 82 percent of all gun deaths.

I understand and support the right to bear arms, however, the right to bear automatic and semi-automatic weapons is insane. Our current federal government’s elected officials, supported and paid off by the NRA, have recently supported the right for the mentally challenged and Congress is currently considering the Hearing Protection Act of 2017 which will allow gun buyers and owners to purchase silencers. Can you imagine if the nutcase in the mass murder of civilians in Las Vegas had his weapons silenced?

The militarization of the United States is directly responsible for the political climate which prevails today regarding gun control. The National Priorities Project states, “In fiscal year 2015, military spending is projected to account for 54 percent of all federal discretionary spending, a total of $598.5 billion. Military spending includes: All regular activities of the Department of Defense; war spending; nuclear weapons spending; international military assistance; and other Pentagon-related spending.”

It would truly make America great if we spent our tax-dollars prioritizing sane gun control, alternative energy, building a modern mass transit system, supporting sustainable food and making education and health care affordable. It’s every American’s responsibility to get involved in order to change this country from falling into the abyss.

Don Simms lives in Northfield.