It is time to demand reality

Two weeks have passed since the brutal 2018 Valentine’s Day massacre of 17 innocent people at a school in Parkland, Florida. It is yet another addition to our sickening carnage within the United States.

 

The weapons of choice of mass murderers have been semiautomatic paramilitary assault rifles and pistols with large capacity magazines. These weapons are not made for hunting, they are not made for target shooting and they are not good for self-defense. They are weapons nearly identical to those specifically designed for military combat and to attack and to kill large numbers of people easily. They fire high-velocity bullets as rapidly as anyone can possibly pull a trigger. Congress intentionally did not renew a law that limited their magazine capacity in 2004, so they now can hold 30 or more rounds of ammunition. A multitude of deaths have resulted from that irresponsible decision.

Recurring refusals to restrict the weapons that enable the mass slaughter of our children and others is a revealing and vile stain upon the character of so-called “leaders.” The growing number of the dead and maimed in schools, churches, theaters, concerts, ball games, night clubs and even among armed police officers shows only a part of the vast scope of our vulnerability … and the cold indifference of self-righteous politicians that are bought by “lobbies.”

Rhetoric sanctifying the Second Amendment is planned to be misleading. That document was written when “high tech” was a single shot, muzzle loaded rifle. Armed civilian militias were needed for our early defense, but it was then beyond anyone’s imagination that one person could commit a mass shooting. Politicians today confuse the issue by chanting “gun rights” and by obscuring the huge differences between semiautomatic paramilitary assault weapons and the manually operated guns with small magazines that are used for hunting and target shooting.

An honest dialogue about minimizing the chance of future mass shootings and crises in which criminals have firepower that can equal or exceed that of members of law enforcement is desperately needed. Responsible individual gun owners should be willingly proactive in a strong consideration of a ban and buyback of all semiautomatic paramilitary assault weapons and gun magazines with more than a 6-shot capacity. We cannot allow ourselves to be manipulated and divided by political demigods of any party and by those people behind the scenes who profit from the sale of weapons designed for mass killing.

“We the People” deserve a policy that will realistically and rapidly reduce our national disgrace of violence. We must not allow corrupting campaign contributions and carefully crafted paranoia to supersede public safety and to contribute to the death of one more child. It is time to carefully listen and to learn from the young adult survivors from Parkland. It is time to say ENOUGH!

Allan Schlicht,

Juneau

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