When is the right time to talk about guns?


nikolas cruz floridaThere have been multiple school shootings in the United States in just the first 45 days of 2018. Of course, there are multiple mass shootings not at schools that have occurred too.
After every mass shooting, politicians hide behind the phrase “it is too soon” to discuss what needs to be done to address this epidemic of mass shootings. “Too soon” buys them time so they don't have to address the problem and risk their A rating from the National Rifle Association.
Oh, and by the way, “our thoughts and prayers are with the victims” does absolutely nothing to address the ongoing threat to every family nor does it do anything to comfort the families of the shooting victims.
In the aftermath of the most recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., at which 17 individuals lost their lives, the question is no longer whether it is “too soon” to discuss actions that must be taken; the question is whether “it is too late.”

Certainly it is too late for the 17 victims of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School just as it is too late to save the lives of Christina Taylor Green, victim of the Tucson mass shooting, or little Emily Parker and Noah Pozner and Dylan Hockley and Grace McDonnell of Sandy Hook, or the victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting or the Sutherland Springs mass shooting or any of the other too many mass shootings to list here.
As they say, “Only in America.” No other country on this planet experiences the constant barrage of mass shootings experienced by the self-described “greatest country on earth” – not third world countries, not war-torn countries, not any countries.
At a recent Rose Garden event at the White House during which the current president introduced the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, I didn't hesitate to call out my question to the president: “Is it still too soon to discuss non-immigrant mass shootings?”
I received, not surprisingly, no response.
At a White House Press Briefing with Sarah Huckabee Sanders less than two weeks ago, I again shouted out my question: “Is it still too soon to discuss gun safety?”
Still no response. It is about time that anyone and everyone who has had enough on non-action on gun safety raise their voices. The safety of their children is at stake.
The current president suggests that the mass shooting in Parkland is a mental health issue not a gun issue and that people need to speak up when they see questionable behavior. Well, Mr. President, people did speak up and recognized threatening behavior by the gunman prior to the shooting and nothing was done because gun laws are so lacking that it apparently takes more than concerns to prevent someone from buying a lethal weapon, especially in a pro-gun state like Florida.
Add to that, Mr. President, the fact that you rolled back Obama-administration actions to make it more difficult, not less difficult, for someone exhibiting mental health issues from acquiring lethal firearms.
The Las Vegas mass shooting, which resulted in 58 deaths and more than 500 wounded, occurred in October of this past year, and the Sutherland Springs, Texas mass shooting in which 26 individuals lost their lives while attending church services occurred Nov. 5 of this past year.
Still too soon to discuss solutions?
As previously reported, on Dec. 6 the Senate Judiciary Committee conducted a hearing to discuss the merits of two gun safety bills. One bill was introduced by California Democrat Senator Diane Feinstein regarding the Las Vegas tragedy and includes banning bump stocks, a device that, as was done in the Las Vegas massacre, turns a semi-automatic weapon into an illegal machine gun and in so doing drastically increases the rapid fire of the now automatic weapon.
The other bill introduced came from Texas Republican Senator Jon Cornyn and is intended to address the Sutherland Springs mass shooting and is designed to strengthen the federal background check database, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS. The Fix NICS Act attempts to ensure that federal and state authorities accurately report relevant information, including any criminal history, into this national database which is the key tool for conducting background checks prior to the sale of guns.
Current status of these bills? No action!
The real question that needs to be answered by our politicians is whether “pro-life” should be limited to just the unborn fetus and the profits of gun manufacturers or whether it should be expanded to include our children, our neighbors and ourselves while attending school or a movie theater or a concert or a nightclub or house of worship or any other venue?
Certainly there is no foolproof solution to gun violence but doing nothing is not an answer. The goal has to be to simply make it a bit more difficult for those among us who clearly present a threat to our safety to acquire weapons that impose the most devastation.
When the assault rifle ban was in place from 1994 to 2004, guess what? There were significantly fewer casualties resulting from assault weapons.
The current Congress does not even make the connection that if someone is such a threat as to be placed on a no-fly list the prudent thing to do is to also place him in the NICS database to make it illegal for that individual to acquire a gun.
One last thing. It is also essential that we learn from past experiences regarding mass shootings. In the recent mass shooting in Parkland, Fla., the shooter pulled the fire alarm to lure students and teachers out into the hallways to cause greater destruction. Back in March of 1998 in Jonesboro, Ark., two students, Mitchell Johnson, 13, and Andrew Golden, 11, pulled the fire alarm, then sat on a hill facing the main entrance of their middle school and fired on students and teachers as they exited the school, killing four girls and a teacher and wounding 11 others.
Lesson here: the school official responsible for pulling the fire alarm during fire drills at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School should have recognized that the fire alarm was unauthorized and immediately announce over the loudspeaker that the school was in a code red situation and all should follow code red procedures. It may have saved lives, which is what our goal should always be.



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