Tuesday, August 7, 2012


On Sunday morning, as peaceful worshipers gathered together in a Sikh house of worship near Milwaukee, another mass shooting happened in the United States. For the second time in two weeks, there was another act of domestic terrorism - and for fourth time in the last four months, mothers, fathers, siblings and friends had to mourn the death of loved ones, while others recovered.

Anyone who thinks the attack in Oak Creek, Wisconsin or the mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado or the cafe shooting in Seattle, or the other 58 mass murders carried out by firearms in the United States since 1982 could not have had their body counts reduced or eliminated is either a fool or an idiot.

"All of us recognize that these kinds of terrible, tragic events are happening with too much regularity for us not to do some soul searching to examine additional ways that we can reduce violence," President Obama said on Monday. So that is what we are doing today - starting with the terminally stupid defense that the Second Amendment always and forever allows Americans unrestricted rights to guns.

Every right, from those explicitly written in the U.S. Constitution, to the unwritten "Laws of Nature" referred to in the Declaration of Independence, has a corresponding responsibility in our world. Basic logic says that if a person or a society cannot handle any one of those responsibilities, they should also not be allowed to exercise those rights.

Yet even in the face of basic logic, one of the largest lobbying organizations in the world, the National Rifle Association, continues to pour millions into its twisted idea that all Americans should have the right to carry virtually any type of gun, anywhere, at any time, with virtually no legal responsibility.

Gun regulation groups, and those aligned with the NRA, can site statistics from their respective positions until both sides are nearly breathless. Arguing with those who have become so fused to their ideology as the core members of either group is like arguing with flat-Earth fanatics. They are adamant that their Earth is flat, that there be monsters out there beyond the horizon, and it is hopeless to argue anything different with them.

Hopeless, that is, unless the statistics and proof comes from their own people. For gun-loving Americans, for example, that means statistics from a pollster from their own side, like well-known conservative pollster Frank Luntz.

Which is why we find it intersting that in a recent poll by Luntz, American gun owners overwhelmingly agreed with those on the other side of the traditional pro/anti gun regulation line.

Which means there ARE things that can be done to lessen the body count of episodes like those we've continue to witness, through what Luntz termed as common-sense gun control.

These proposed controls include everything from requiring criminal background checks on ALL gun owners and gun shop employees, to mandating that gun-owners tell the police when their weapon is stolen, to restricting permits (or in some cases, ownership) to those Americans who have not committed violent misdemeanors, domestic violence, or who have a history of mental illness. Many gun owners would even be fine with restoring major portions of the Assault Weapons Ban.

Such common sense laws would have likely prevented the Oak Creek shooter from easily obtaining a gun. Such laws would have made things more difficult - if not impossible - for the shooter in Colorado too. Yet our lawmakers still offer words, with no actions every time another mass shooting happens. That is no longer acceptable.

If owning a gun in our nation is to continue be a right, then it must logically correspond to both an individual and a national responsibility. If we cannot handle the responsibility - by passing common sense laws and regulating ourselves - then we should not be allowed to wield that right.

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