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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Column: Recent shootings highlight need for gun control

When will our nation’s leaders begin to act?

Grace Hase

Jan. 28, 2014

The opinions expressed by The Maneater columnists do not represent the opinions of The Maneater editorial board.

Last year, I wrote a column for The Maneater on gun control and a lobbyist organization, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, that was formed after the tragedy in Newtown, Conn. At the time, I thought it would be the only story I would write on gun control. However, after the nation was shattered over the last few weeks with a shooting occurring practically every single day, I decided that maybe it was time to revisit the issue.

Since Jan. 9, there have been at least seven shootings at schools around the country. Possibly, the most tragic of all occurred on Jan. 14 at Berrendo Middle School in Roswell, N.M., where a 12-year-old gunman open fired and seriously wounded two young students. Besides the school tragedies, there was a number of shootings that occurred at other locations, including a movie theater, a supermarket and, most recently, a mall in Columbia, Md. From these 10 shootings, 13 people were wounded, with a majority still in critical condition, and eight people were killed, one of which was a suicide by the gunman.

While I was reading through news articles detailing each of the shootings, the one that came off as the most shocking to me occurred on Jan. 13 in a Florida movie theater. The 43-year-old victim was texting his daughter during the movie’s previews when a 71-year-old man started an argument with him about putting his phone away. The argument escalated, and the elderly man shot and killed the victim.

What kind of world are we living in when texting our daughters, sons, parents or friends could end in brutality? What does that say about us as Americans, or even as humans? And since when are seven school shootings in a period of two weeks an acceptable number? Shouldn’t we be ashamed as a nation that we are subjecting young children to such disturbing violence?

Essance Sosa, a 12-year-old student at Berrendo Middle School, witnessed the shooting of two fellow classmates by a peer. When describing the incident she said, “I just saw blood everywhere. Everyone started screaming and running.” A picture as grotesque as this is something that no one, no matter what the age, should have to witness.

As all of these events unfold disturbingly, there is one question we must ask ourselves: When will our nation’s leaders begin to act? 2013 saw a rally to fight for stricter gun control, yet nothing seems to have changed. In fact, just after looking at the events of the past few weeks, more people are being affected by gun violence now than ever before.

How many more people must be killed in order for President Obama and Congress to take initiative? Does knowing that young children’s blood is being shed in such a violent manner not mean anything to them? Now, more than ever, is the time we must call on our leaders to take action. We must raise our voices like never before to let them know that we, as United States citizens, will not stand for one more person being wounded or killed at the mercy of a gun.

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Article comments

Jan. 29, 2014 at 11:46 a.m.

Tim Lewis: The Supreme Court Ruled in 2010 that the Bill of Rights (ie, the 2nd Amendment and right to bear arms) applied to the states as well as federal jurisdictions.* Thus, the 2nd Amendment gained the protection granted from the 14th Amendment's Privilege and Immunities Clause and was fully incorporated. With the 2nd Amendment now applicable to states, any restriction on firearms would be deemed unconstitutional or would face costly litigation in federal forum to decide if the landmark case would be overturned. With this being said, it is going to be extremely unlikely that widespread regulation is going to be passed to remedy this problem. Instead of calling for the banning or regulation of firearms, maybe safety courses should be instituted? Nothing unconstitutional about education. Unfortunately, while it is tragic with the events that have occurred, it would be even more tragic to suppress a right the Framers of the Constitution granted and the long progress we, as a nation, have achieved from incorporating the Bill of Rights to the states and not just to federal forum? *McDonald v. Chicago 561 U.S. 3025

Jan. 29, 2014 at 3:24 p.m.

Greg: Did you do any research into the use of firearms beside pointing out the misuse of them? Prof Lott pointed to around 2.5 million uses of guns for self-defense per year. The CDC had lower numbers but even they show a much higher use for good than evil in their reports. So by your standard those that abuse the tool should mean that all of us are punished for the misdeed. If you are not going to look at both sides of the issue before forming an opinion maybe you should do more thinking before writing.

Jan. 29, 2014 at 6:43 p.m.

Liz Coffman : Research all you want! It is tragic plain and simple that shootings continue to go on. These peoples are using their right to bear arms but are misusing the privilege our constitution allows us. Killing is UNCONSTITUTIONAL! Will there ever be a solution? Not until we start respecting each other, stop the greed and selfishness. Now it is unfortunate that the gunmen are perhaps suffering and no one knew, with mental illness....that is a painful existence. What about checking a person's mental status before granting permission to carry, but then the guns gotten are probably illegally obtained or found in the house by a child. This is an extremely serious situation. Just because it is constitutional, you just can't hand out permits as I am concerned about MY RIGHT TO LIFE!!!! granted me in Constitution. Will there ever be a fair answer???????

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