Letter to the Editor: March 1, 2023
Letter to the Editor published in the March 1, 2023 issue of the Tomahawk Leader.
We can change this gun death spiral
We have never been here before.
Currently, more than 70 mass shootings have occurred in the US in the first two months of this year. That number will increase. There are more than 400 million guns in a nation of 330 million people. Without intervention, more guns will find their way into the general population. These statistics do not exist in any other country on this planet.
There are young people who survived a mass shooting earlier in their public education only to relive that horrific experience at the university level. What are the chances of that happening in a normal society?
There was a time when churches, synagogues and temples were considered places of peace and refuge. That is no longer the case.
Ordinary people could make a quick run to their big box store or their local convenience store to pick up some last-minute items without having to worry about being shot in the process.
Movie theaters were places of quiet, family entertainment where it was not necessary to study the building’s layout and escape routes before sitting down to watch a movie.
People would gather for public events and holiday celebrations and look forward to the festivities without experiencing mass murders and injuries.
Workers could finish off the work week anticipating the weekend without running and hiding from armed, disgruntled co-workers.
What has happened to this country?
The US never lacked firearms from its inception, but now there is a societal shift in the use and purpose of guns. The NRA originally was an educational organization teaching the safe handling of firearms until it became a lobby for the arms industry. Violence has always been a part of our history, but never so broadly spread among the general population as it is now.
How is it possible that a six-year-old child can arrive at his school with a fully loaded firearm and intentionally shoot his teacher?
You would be wrong to think that all of this exists elsewhere and not here. Domestic violence exists in the homes of our neighbors and relatives, right here in Lincoln County.
In 2022, there were 31 gun-related incidents locally, which involved direct or implied threats of gun violence. We cannot ignore this when so many women are slaughtered each year nationally. There is no rational explanation for a court giving known, domestic violence abusers unfettered access to guns.
Many of us remember a time when most of this gun violence did not exist. We can bring about real change because we have done it before. Car crashes were far more fatal than they are now. Regulations requiring safety measures brought about real change despite more cars and higher speeds.
I personally recall the horrific history of a grade school fire that took the lives of over 100 children. That tragedy brought about sprinkler systems and many other safety measures to prevent that from happening again.
We must not become accepting of all these pointless fatalities. We can change this gun death spiral.
Diana C. Smith