Mass Shootings: Are you mad enough to send an email…or make a phone call? – Part III

In State Houses across the country legislators are making it easier, not more difficult for people to arm themselves with ever-more deadly weaponry. Meanwhile, on the national level member of Congress, both in the Senate and the House of Representatives, their pockets lined with bribes in the form of campaign contributions from the National Rifle Association, have proven themselves too cowardly to reinstate the Federal Assault Weapons Ban that expired in 2004.

As a result, an increasingly terrified populace seems to be convincing itself that more guns will keep us all safer. And behind the scenes is the NRA (think of the Wizard of Oz cranking all his machinery while declaring “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”), stirring the pot, greasing the wheels, pouring fuel on the fire. The NRA urges gun owners to accumulate ever more powerful arsenals and puts forth the ludicrous argument that “a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun” (tell that to the family of Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus, who courageously entered the Borderline Bar & Grill to face down shooter Ian David Long.)

The NRA would have gun owners believe that citizens asking for better gun control laws want to take away their weapons. Not true! I don’t know anyone who thinks American ever would or could become a gun-free society. In fact, nobody I know objects to hunters owning rifles or hobbyists collecting guns, or gun enthusiasts going to gun clubs shooting ranges where they can participate in target practice ‘til the cows come home.

Most of us understand that some people simply feel safer keeping handguns in their homes for self-protection. And certainly, there are those who feel they must carry guns around for self-defense. But a semi-automatic weapon? Really? There is absolutely no practical use for a weapon that fires a bullet every second unless you’re planning to turn another human being into hamburger.

As for concealed weapons? Let me say this: If someone I see walking down the street, shopping in a store, or eating in a restaurant, is carrying a gun, I’d like to know it. So that I will have the option of walking (or running) in the opposite direction, or leaving the store, or skipping dessert and rushing out of the restaurant as fast I can. What’s the point of a concealed weapon? I don’t get it. If you have a gun hidden somewhere on your person, that might make you feel safer. But what about me?

There are more guns (393 million) than people (326 million) in the United States—“enough for every man, woman, and child in this country to own one and still have 67 million guns left over.” (Washington Post, June 19, 2018)

So let me ask: Do you own a gun? Hmmm. For every one of us that doesn’t own a gun, there’s somebody out there that owns several. Let me ask you another question: Does knowing this make you feel safer? Me neither.

Okay, what are we going to do about this sorry state of affairs? Wring our hands? Feel helpless? Attend candle-light vigils.

At one point I was cutting out newspaper stories every time there was a shooting and mailing it to the White House with a note demanding that something be done. I gave up on that (after all postage gets expensive, and I never even received a reply). So I’ve taken to emailing or calling the powers that be.

If you’re sick of reading or hearing about mass shootings on nearly a daily basis, why not start your own lobbying campaign? It’s easy. For an email link or a phone number, just Google the White House, your Senators, and your Congressman (or Congresswoman). Say that you want to put the Gun Violence Archive out of business. Why not start with a ban on the sale of semi-automatic weapons? If enough of us take a few minutes to do this, maybe we can offset the power of the NRA.

Susan Orfanos, whose son survived Las Vegas only to be gunned down in Thousand Oaks, has had it with thoughts and prayers. I’m with her! Aren’t we all?