Recently a patient of mine, a chronic heavy smoker, quit smoking. He says “Doc in the after visit summary it said, “Please quit smoking” and no one had ever asked me “Please” before.”
I am going to try this charm and see if I can get lucky again realizing that this one is a rather stiff ask.
I find myself somewhere between gloomy and more gloomy since the Vegas raining bullets massacre. Gloomy because I know the next one is going to happen and then another and more for we the people are unable to stop these. The next place in America this will happen and the number of casualties is as if playing a game of darts, blindfolded, or pulling out a lottery slip from a bucket full of all our names and towns in it.
Here are some statistics on mass shootings defined as 4 or more victims, excluding the shooter. America leads the rest of the World hands down and averages almost one mass shooting a day. Yes, nine out ten days on average. Semi-automatic firearms with high capacity magazines are the weapons of choice. More than half of the shooters are white males. Terrorists have killed only a small fraction of the total but make the most hoopla in the news.
You think this will never happen to you. Well, check with the survivors of Vegas and Orlando. Each time something like this happens everyone hopes that the perpetrator is not one of them. Terrorist is the buzzword if a Muslim does it. Evil is the word used if it is someone else.
The numbers keep going up, the idea of killing as many in as little time possible, as in a weird and ugly competition. Typically the hunting rifles and shotguns shoot up to four shells. That is all one needs for fair game. Revolvers hold six rounds. Those were the good old days.
Enter semi-automatic weapons with large capacity magazines. A bolt action hunting rifle needs to be actioned after firing each round. A semi-automatic weapon, in contrast, can keep shooting one at a time till there are bullets in the magazine which may be dozens. A fully automatic rifle fires in continuous rapid bursts, the kind of sounds heard in Vegas.
It turns out that a semi-automatic rifle can be turned into a fully automatic one rather easily and illegally with the addition of a bump stock. Even the NRA now wants these bump stocks regulated. Try regulating the semi-automatic weapons themselves, and you are out of luck. That ain’t happening, and there is nothing we can do about it except keep dying and keep on trying.
Three countries have successfully regulated against these mass killings. The United Kingdom after the tragedy of Dunblane, Australia after that of Port Arthur and Germany after the incident in Winnenden. Stricter gun laws, ban of rapid-fire weapons and Government buyback were some of the things that were done.
The argument to be armed to the teeth to protect against bad elements can mean that if tomorrow crooks show up with rocket launchers, we may also start selling them at Cabela’s. The argument that the bad actors are going to get them anyways can mean that we can make freely available crack cocaine, heroin, and other drugs. The argument that an armed vigilante is the best remedy to prevent such attack means that we would have to arm a lot more people for all places at all times.
Think it over for a second. These tactical, combat, large magazine guns are doing precisely what they are meant to do and are the weapons of choice for mass murderers for they are readily and freely available. Walmart made the call and stopped selling the semi-automatic weapons as an example of American corporate conscience. What about others?
The serial killers of the past had to work for their killings. Today it is far too easy for a or any mad person. There are only so many people who can be killed with a knife, a bolt action rifle or a revolver. It is these rapid-fire weapons with magazines holding dozens of bullets which have changed the landscape. The more the eggs, the bigger the omelet, the more the rounds that can be fired rapidly the bigger the carnage. How many more need to die before we can influence change?
The technology would only keep getting better with more sophisticated weaponry with more mass killing capability. We went to a full war in Iraq for protecting its people and neighbors from weapons of mass destruction and indiscriminate killing. Does raining bullets, 59 dead, over 500 injured qualify for mass destruction? Does a mass shooting almost every day in America feel like a war zone? This has to be a curse for seemingly there is not much we can do about this problem.
I am a hunter. I own strings and arrows and guns myself. I have friends who are the same, and we are all very passionate about our rights and the second amendment. So I am going to say it some different.
My dear gun loving American, this is in our hands, if we can come together as one and at the very least do away with the semi-automatic weapon.
If nothing else for the sake of our children.