Denial and Insanity

by Joan Peterson

Well, as we could have predicted, on the heels of a mass/spree shooting in Kalamazoo, Michigan that shook that community, yet another community, now in Kansas, has now suffered the effects of a gunman mowing innocent people down because…….:

A gunman armed with what police called an “assault-style” weapon killed three people and injured 14 others in Kansas Thursday before he was killed by a police officer.

All three victims and 12 of the injured were shot at Excel Industries, a plant in Hesston that makes lawn mower products, Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton said. Of those hurt, 10 were critically wounded, he said.

Authorities have not officially identified the deceased suspect, but multiple co-workers identified the shooter to local media as Cedric Ford. Walton would not discuss a motive, but told reporters there were “some things that triggered this individual.”

“….some things that triggered this individual.” So in America, the land of the free and milk and honey, when something “triggers” someone, they can just get out their assault style rifle and handguns and take out their anger or their beef with someone and open fire on innocent citizens. 4 are dead, including the gunman, and many are critically wounded because….. America.

Are we insane? One does have to wonder why these things happen. Or maybe not. With the American gun culture as it is, with enough guns for every American citizen and laws that allow just about anyone to access a gun, it is inevitable that the shootings continue unabated.

And when the gun lobby gets its’ way with elected leaders, yet more insanity occurs. In Iowa, as just one crazy example, the legislature thought it would be a good idea to let children 14 and under become gun handlers. I mean, why not, right? An army of children who will, of course, know exactly how to handle handguns because…… Well, it’s pretty inexplicable actually. Toddlers shot more people in 2015 than did terrorists. And both can easily access guns.

With children who access their parents’ guns shooting themselves or their parents or siblings or friends on a regular basis, it sure does seem like a great idea to let more children use guns doesn’t it?

Here’s another article about the Iowa law:

State representative Jake Highfill told the Washington Post that the new law “gives the power back to parents”.

“Allowing people to learn at a young age the respect that a gun commands is one of the most important things you can do,” Highfill said.

The alternative, he added, is “turning 18 with no experience”.

What? No words.

Yesterday I participated in an event in Minneapolis with Americans for Responsible Solutions. I was honored to stand behind former Representative Gabby Giffords and her husband Captain Mark Kelly as they spoke about the facts. And I was also honored to be asked to be a member of this coalition of law enforcement officers, domestic violence organizations, community activists, educators, gun owners and people on both sides of the aisle. The round table discussion centered on the easy access to guns and what we can do about it. And the group, of course, understood that saving lives was the common goal.

We know one undeniable fact. Gabby Giffords’ life was almost lost when an angry young man with a gun he should not have been able to have shot and killed 6 people and injured Giffords and others. This is the 3rd time I have been with Gabby Giffords and I find her courage remarkable. She is determined to do something about the denial exhibited by her former colleagues in Congress. She spoke about the need for courage.

Why should it take courage to do something about the senseless shootings in our country? What is it about the gun lobby that makes our leaders put their heads in the sand and pretend that if they pass common sense laws the rights of law abiding citizens will be affected? This denial is costing lives at an alarming rate. There is no more time for this heads in the sand response to the shootings like the ones in Michigan, Kansas and …….

We know the routine. In the article about the Gabby Giffords event, this is the response from the gun lobby folks interviewed by the media:

But Bryan Strawser and the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus believe the focus should be on dealing with violent criminals, particularly looking at prosecution and sentencing, and providing additional access to mental health services – not on laws such as Giffords’s group supports that primarily impact law-abiding citizens.

“We have hundreds of thousand of permit holders, and, by in large, those gun owners are extremely safe and law-abiding citizens in the community,” Strawser said.

Strawser agrees certain people shouldn’t have guns, but he says some goals of the coalition go too far.

“We believe that is where the focus should be, not on the kind of laws that this organization has pushed that will really impact law-abiding citizens,” Strawser said.

Denial. Fallacy.

Does anyone challenge this lunacy? In what way will laws that expand background checks to all gun sales to stop felons, domestic abusers, those who are dangerously mentally ill and others who should not be able to buy guns affect law abiding citizens? They don’t say. They just say this stuff and then pretend it’s true and enough of our leaders buy it that we fail the majority of Americans and Minnesotans who agree with common sense solutions.

This is simply not OK. This is lunacy and denial. This is the influence of money over lives that has kept our country from addressing the public health epidemic staring us in the face.

We’ve had #enough. Are our leaders going to take their heads out of the sand and do something? Are they going to listen to the nonsensical rhetoric that is not based on evidence and fact brought to them by a small group of citizens who believe that passing reasonable laws will affect them in some way?

It’s time for courage. Thank you Gabby Giffords for having the courage to stand up, even after your heinous injuries and life long disabilities to challenge the status quo and demand that we do something and do it now. We just can’t wait any longer. Saving even one life will be worth the fight.

UPDATE:

Well, I didn’t think I would be adding to this post. But there has been another mass shooting in the state of Washington leaving 5 dead. If one of the gun rights folks who read my blog want to share with me an explanation or what could be done better or differently than trying to keep guns away from people who shouldn’t have them and educate the public and gun owners about the awesome responsibility of owning guns. The risks of owning guns are great and can lead to death and injury. More guns are not making us safer.

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