Despite initial outcries after every mass shooting, nothing has been changed.
A few weeks ago, just after the shooting in Parkland and just before the student-led marches for gun control, I wrote an editorial giving my opinioned suggestions on dealing with our national crisis of mass shootings. In the article, I mentioned how complicated the issue is going to be to solve. I still believe it will take some time, great leadership, courage and determination to effect the necessary changes that must be made to assure gun owning citizens that the Second Amendment is not under attack, rather it is the out of control NRA, gun manufacturers and lobbyists that must be confronted. It is the disparity in state gun laws and regulations that must be changed and enforced.
However, there is one step that is really quite simple – ban the sale of all assault weapons and high capacity magazines. There is no reasonable argument for selling these to the public. They are weapons of war designed for amassing the greatest number of casualties.
The U.S. does not have the market cornered on mental health problems. All nations of the world have citizens suffering from mental illness. The difference is that the U.S. is the only country that allows easy access to assault weapons.
Here in Massachusetts we may have the strictest gun laws and regulations in the country. Ownership has age restrictions and requires a safety course, applications with fees, waiting periods, requirements for references, finger printing, state and federal background checks including a mental health history. Local police chiefs have final sign off of approval or rejection. Yet, even here, more can be done to protect our citizens.
It is interesting to note that our hunting laws, and those in many other states, protect wildlife with limits on types of guns and number of bullets. Sadly, when hunting humans, there are no restrictions or limitations.
Our nation’s school students do not feel safe, nor should they. Despite initial outcries after every mass shooting, nothing has been changed. Many had hoped that after the recent Parkland shootings, and the turnout of support for those youthful leaders, their moving speeches, their marches, their protests, their media spotlights – change would surely and swiftly take place – but their voices (our voices) have, for the most part, fallen on the deaf ears of our politicians, our lawmakers, even, despite his sympathetic smiles of assurance - our president. The chokehold of NRA and gun manufactures’ money and political power has once again driven conscience into the shadows and left us all even more vulnerable.
I can only hope and pray that I am wrong, seriously mistaken, about what I perceive to once again be – a deafening silence.
Bill Alberti, Kingston