A Turning Point in American Gun Violence?
I visited here right after Christmas, my third time since the tragic shooting at the school which is just out of sight behind, and to the left, of this photo. Twenty six fatalities, including 20 children.
My young companions did not recognize the place names, and we had a wonderful “pig out breakfast” at the Sandy Hook Diner. I wrote this after my first visit. Newtown, Ct.: I Wonder What’s Gone Wrong?
They didn’t know of my quiet prayer that this town, and my breakfast companions, never again have to face the violence and cruelty that visited here just over three years ago.
Today, January 5, 2016, I was privileged to listen to the entirety of President Obama’s speech declaring his actions to start the work that virtually all Republican legislators and a few democrats have refused to address. These tiny steps are supported, in principle, by most of the people in America, but even these were demonized by Paul Ryan and Mike Huckabee before I made it up my driveway. It was one of the best speeches I ever heard. And it is a day of disgrace for the Republican Party. I’ve never been happier to have declared my “independence” from my former party.
The militants standing in the way of gun violence reform, especially cowards in congress who vote against it because of fear of losing an election, not principle, already have, and will have, blood on their hands.
My many prayers after the Sandy Hook shooting by this “militant moderate”, gun owning, second amendment supporter was that the leaders of one of our parties would move forward with significant, rational, changes. Now one has, and I commend the President and his supporters for commencing the journey.
I wiped tears from my eyes several times during this morning’s drive, as the President did, speaking the words in front of so many victims of gun violence. A few cogent points:
- Over 30,000 Americans die of gun violence each year, 2/3 by suicide. That’s an important fact since WV is the leader in this statistic.
- In my law practice I have seen @ a dozen deaths, suicides, and homicides, most by gun.
- Licensing of gun dealers, universal background checks, even at gun shows and on the Internet, improvement of the national database including indicators from mental health sources, and increased funding for mental health treatment, are not first steps to “take away our guns”. The panderer Donald Trump cannot make it so. They are baby steps in a revolution that must end with America being a safe country and at least equivalent to other developed countries.
- Each Republican candidate who promises to reverse Obama’s executive decisions has my promise never to vote for him. Shame on each of you.
- I agree with the President, a constitutional scholar. The right to own a gun is no different than the right to drive a car. Such rights must be balanced with the rights of others, to assemble peacefully (in schools, malls, and churches), to freedom of speech, to freedom of religion (Christians, Jews, and Moslems have been targeted.), and to have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness! Sounds pretty American to me!
- I urge my readers to put aside your partisan reflexes and find and listen to the whole speech. It’s a good one.
This post was written by Burton Hunter