Letter to the editor 1, June 17, 2021
Massacre of the Innocents
Another mass shooting in the United States and the Democrats, once again, cry out for common sense gun control as Republicans close their eyes, bow their heads and offer thoughts and prayers to the families of those injured and killed.
American gun activists ironically continue to quote the antiquated 1791 Bill of Rights second amendment to the 1787 American Constitution as their 2021 argument for the protection of their fundamental right to keep and bear arms.
It could be argued they have a fundamental right to picnic in the middle of a freeway but considering the speed, power and number of modern day vehicles that irrational decision would cost them their lives.
It seems gun lobbyists don’t care how times have changed over the last 230 years. Back in 1791 the only guns available on the open market were muskets and flintlock pistols capable of firing one shot at a time and effective up to 100 yards.
To put this into perspective, a deranged killer going into a country store back in 1791 might be able to fire one fast shot at a hopefully stationary target no more than 100 yards away before asking the other 10 customers in the overcrowded shop to stand perfectly still while he poured loose black powder down his musket barrel, rammed a patched round lead ball down into that barrel, cocked the hammer to half cock, poured fine priming powder into the pan of the musket, closed the frizzen on the pan, pulled the hammer to full cock, aimed the rifle carefully and then pulled the trigger. By the time it took to shoot at a second victim the other customers would have enough time to run from the store after stopping quickly to pay for their purchases at the checkout counter on their way out.
Today’s assault rifles have magazines that hold up to 100 rounds and can rapid fire up to 600 rounds per minute. Telescopic rifle scopes are available over the internet that are accurate up to 1000 yards and deadly Dum Dum and Jacketed Hollow Point bullets are ready and available for purchase. Today a 9mm bullet can travel down a clear path for well over a mile.
As time moves on more advanced firearms are being designed with a greater capacity to kill quickly and efficiently.
According to non-profit Gun Violence Archive (GVA) there were 417 mass shootings in the USA by the end of 2019, 600 in 2020 and 247 so far this year. When you add in the criminal, domestic abuse, accidental and suicide shootings those numbers climb into the tens of thousands
News headlines tell of three men shooting indiscriminately into a crowd at a concert in Miami, Florida, and killing two people and injuring at least 20 all within a 10 second time frame and there’s the story of the Las Vegas shooting where a man fired 1000 rounds at the crowd attending a music festival approximately 490 yards away and killed 60 people and wounded 411. All this happened within a 10 minute time frame of sporadic shooting.
Today in some states you have men and women walking the streets better armed than a Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard at a Kentucky white supremacist BBQ and you have 12 and 14-year-old children firing assault weapons at police officers.
Times have changed so laws must be changed to reflect the changing times. Back in 1791 rapid firing assault weapons existed only in the minds of science fiction writers. Today they are real and capable of incredible damage.
A 20-year-old man used a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle at the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting where 20 innocent children ages 6 to 7 and six adults were shot down in cold blood.
If 20 murdered kindergarten children can’t move American politicians on action for gun control what can? Like Faust, many have made a pact with the Devil and sacrificed their souls in return for years of wealth, privilege and power.
The greatest irony of this dilemma is the fact the religious far right is the greatest force pushing and supporting the second amendment agenda.
If Jesus Christ came down to Earth today they would nail him to a burning cross with a sign above his head labelling him a communist because of his condemnation of the wealthy, un-American because of his good Samaritan stand on immigration, and unpatriotic for his rejection of weapons designed for mass murder.
Many years ago I wrote this poem and since then nothing has changed in the great USA.
École Polytechnique, Columbine, Sandy Hook
To name but a few
Mindless acts of man-made monsters
Victims too soon lost and forgotten
Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandparents forever damaged
As nobodies try to become somebodies
And generations cry out
“Don’t let this barbaric act be part of our family’s legacy.”
Catastrophic events creating instant celebrities
Mental illness, heartless indifference and selfishness
Filling airtime, selling newspapers, increasing circulations and ratings