Wednesday, October 14, 2015

"what morons and crazy people..."

On October 3rd Nicholas Kristof wrote,

-------------- When I tweeted about the need to address gun violence after the college shooting in Roseburg, Ore., a man named Bob pushed back.  "Check out car accident deaths," he tweeted sarcastically.  "Guess we should ban cars."

Actually, cars exemplify the public health approach we need to apply to guns.  We don't ban cars, but we do require driver's licenses, seatbelts, airbags, padded dashboards, safety glass and collapsible steering columns.  And we've reduced the auto fatality rate by 95 percent.

One problem is that the gun lobby has largely blocked research on making guns safer. 

 Between 1973 and 2012, the National Institutes of Health awarded 89 grants for the study of rabies and 212 for cholera -- and only three for firearms injuries.

Daniel Webster, a public health expert at Johns Hopkins University, notes that in 1999, the government listed the gun stores that had sold the most weapons later linked to crimes.  The gun store at the top of the list was so embarrassed that it voluntarily took measures to reduce its use by criminals -- and the rate at which new guns from the store were diverted to crime dropped 77 percent.

But in 2003, Congress barred the government from publishing such information.

Why is Congress enabling pipelines of guns to criminals?

Public health experts cite many ways we could live more safely with guns, and many of them have broad popular support. ...----------------- [end excerpt, "A New Way to Tackle Gun Deaths" - the New York Times]

Five weeks before that article, Mr. Kristof wrote an article -- column -- after the shooting of news reporters in Roanoke, Virginia -- Reader Comments included these:

Los Angeles
Call me a cynic.  Absolutely nothing will be done to stop gun violence in this country.  When President Kennedy was murdered by a gun.  That was a national tragedy and we all mourned. 

Less than five years later, civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was murdered by a gun.  I saw vast areas of Chicago burned down in anger. 

A few months later Robert Kennedy, running for President, was murdered in Los Angeles by a gun.  At the time, I thought, "Finally, something will be done to stop this madness." 

Nothing happened. 

In the last 47 years, we've witnessed an epidemic of murder by gunfire.  Mass killing in a theater by gunfire.  Children mowed down at school by gunfire.  Too bad, lawmakers take no action.  The latest incident?  Again, NOTHING WILL CHANGE.  Call me a cynic, but nothing will change.

Billsett.  Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Aside from the obsession with guns, we need to recognize that this endless gun violence represents a sick state of mind in this country -- not just the individuals who commit these murders, but a pervasive feeling of anger and a desire to strike out at others to express our own rage and unhappiness. 

Just look at the tenor of American politics.  Everyone is angry and aggrieved and looking for someone else to blame....We as a nation need to take responsibility for this problem and do something constructive to change direction.

A. Stanton.  Dallas, Texas
Television is a big part of the problem.  What morons and crazy people can't watch on the news and in movies 24/7, they don't imitate.

Nikkei.  Montreal.
Unfortunately the NRA will never do what you suggest because that would reduce the sale of guns, which means less money for the gun manufacturers.

Just as the right to smoke had a great deal to do with the cigarette manufacturers' "right" to make a lot of money on the corpses of dead consumers, and very little to do with individual freedom of choice,

gun rights has a great deal to do with the gun manufacturers' "right" to make a pile of money while putting millions of Americans at risk of being killed, and very little to do with constitutional freedoms.

Nathaniel Brown.  Edmonds, Washington.
We have come to a point where we all somehow "accept" that nothing will happen to curb the proliferation of guns and gun violence.  This is very sad and deeply discouraging.

Equally sad is the fact that no politician will have the courage to speak up, for two very real reasons:  fear of the enormous and disproportionate power of the NRA and its membership to shout the rest of us down; and fear that some "We The People" open-carry "patriot" might shoot any politician who genuinely tried to do something.

We are no longer a nation of We The People -- we are a nation of We Who Command the Money and We Who Own Guns.  The rest of us are watching the accelerating slide of America into anarchy and oligarchy.  NOT what the Founding Fathers intended.

George F.  Mission Hills, Kansas.
There are a lot of defeatists, understandably, posting here.  But it is important to remember that our country has not always been as apathetic or immovable as we are today. 

The NRA is the main culprit for the situation we find ourselves in today, aided and abetted by craven politicians of all persuasions. 

The NRA has worked long and hard to change the hearts and minds of Americans, and over the past 35 years, has managed to shift our understanding of the 2nd Amendment. 

Let's not underestimate the amount of energy and determination it took them and their allies to take control of the statehouses... and even Federal research dollars... to secure incremental victories in their quest to assure a continuous, liberal marketplace for the munitions manufactured by the armaments companies.

It is through the tireless efforts of all of us who care enough (well beyond penning heartfelt notes to columns) to change state and federal laws -- from Sandy Hook Promise to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence to Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and many more.  Now let's go change some hearts, minds, and laws.



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