Sunday was an ordinary evening. The Seahawks beat the Colts on Sunday Night Football.
It was 10:30 PM. Could I squeeze in my recorded episode of Blue Bloods before the 11 o’clock news and bed?
I turned the television back to a breaking news story: A mass shooting at a concert in Las Vegas.
By the time I went to bed at 1:45 AM, the Clark County Sheriff had given the first casualty report: 2 dead and 50 some odd injured.
When I woke at 7:30 AM the numbers had changed as the gun smoke cleared: 59 dead and 527 (plus) injured.
The massacre at the Highway 91 Concert is the worst mass shooting in American history.
Perhaps country star Blake Shelton expressed it best – ending an early Monday morning tweet with one word: Why?
There’s nothing more uniquely American than country music. Music descendent directly from the folk traditions of Appalachia –family stories and legends set to a tune and sung so that they could be remembered and passed down generation upon generation.
People from all walks of life were in Las Vegas because they love their families, they love country music, and they enjoy the party atmosphere of a music festival.
And then gun fire broke out. In less than 10 minutes 59 innocent Americans were dead – killed by an enigma hiding in a hotel suite nearly a third of mile away from his victims.
It happened because there is, also, nothing as unique as America’s fascination with guns.
More specifically: Semi-automatic guns.
Begging the questions:
Why Do Americans need Semi-Automatic Weapons?
- Why do sportsmen (hunters) need or want guns (semi-automatic assault rifles) manufactured for the sole purpose of killing human beings?
- Why didn’t Congress renew the Assault Rifle Ban in 2004 – when it expired?
- Why didn’t Congress act after the shooting at Fort Hood in 2009 when 13 service members and law enforcement personnel were killed?
Between 2009 and 2014 9 more mass casualty events caused by semi-automatic rifle fire took innocent 209 lives including 20 children under the age of 7 at Sandy Hook (Connecticut). http://www.marketwatch.com/story/these-are-the-10-deadliest-mass-shootings-in-us-history-2017-10-02
In 2011 Congresswoman Gabby Gifford was shot and nearly killed by a semi-automatic rifle at a constituent meeting in Arizona.
Or what about Congressman Steve Scalise who was shot and nearly killed on a baseball practice field in Arlington, Virginia early this summer?
Why isn’t it alarming enough – horrific enough — that 93 people die by gunfire in this country every day?
The answer is simple: Money.
Here’s Why Money Wins Over Mass Murder
The National Rifle Association (NRA) has made millions for its officers, executives, and lobbyists over the years by claiming that any limits on gun rights would inevitably lead to the revocation of the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution – the right to bear arms.
The NRA collects $350 million in member dues by promoting the idea if citizens cannot buy semi-automatic assault weapons, the government is going to come into their homes and take their guns or worse.
The NRA uses their member’s contributions to bribe (campaign contributions), scare, and cajole members of Congress into supporting their nonsensical argument – even when the bullets are whizzing over the heads of Congress members!
But lobbying and campaign contributions are not limited only to the NRA, there are, also, the manufacturers of assault rifles and ammunition. Those weapons start at $1000 – they can be really expensive.
All that money is drowning out the 90 percent of Americans who support both stronger background checks and limits on the sale of semi-automatic rifles and armor piercing bullets — including a majority of members of the NRA.
Time for Voters to Mobilize
Based on precedent, the deaths of 59 innocent people in Las Vegas and the injury of some 500 more will not move Congress very far.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has said it is likely that Congress will not now bring up legislation to allow “silencing” of automatic weapons but that is little comfort to the families of the dead and wounded.
What is needed a national mobilization of voters. It is time that the voices of innocent Americans are heard more loudly on Capitol Hill than the voices of lobbyists.
It is time to call or write – or do both – your Congress member and your Senators and demand a debate on and passage of legislation to ban the sale and manufacturing of semi-automatic assault rifles, armor piercing bullets, and the kits that convert semi to fully automatic rifles – banned since 1934.
It must be made clear to every member that a failure to vote for reasonable gun safety legislation means that you will not vote to re-elect that member in November 2018 – it’s a matter of your life and safety.
Bump stock image courtesy of CNBC