For Shame, America!

For Shame, America!

© David Burton 2019

Gun Control in America?

     Another year has passed since the mass shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. In the intervening 12 months, what have we here in America done in response to that tragedy? What have we accomplished in the struggle to end gun violence in America? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! For shame, America!

     “On Feb. 14, 2018, a former student slaughtered 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
     “The next day, David Hogg, a student who survived the attack, expressed his frustration at the pattern of political inaction that seems to follow mass shootings in the United States. He was not surprised that there had been another school shooting, he said, and that fact alone ‘says so much about the current state that our country is in, and how much has to be done.’ “ (Ref. 1)

     Over the course of the following year, much has been said about gun violence and mass shootings in America, but, essentially nothing of real values has been done to stop the senseless killings! There have been mass pronouncements of sympathy for the ever-increasing number of victims, their families and their friends. There has been much pontification in high places about the need to do something, but no significant action has ensued. Instead, the number of mass shootings and deaths by guns continues to grow.

     Just a day after the one year anniversary of the Parkland, Florida shooting, we read that, “A 15-year employee being fired from a manufacturing company opened fire in its suburban Chicago plant Friday, killing five co-workers and wounding five police officers before he was fatally shot . . .” As usual, “The White House said U.S. President Donald Trump was briefed on the shooting and monitoring the situation as he prepared to depart for a weekend trip to his home in Palm Beach, Fla. Trump tweeted his thanks to law enforcement officers in Aurora and offered his condolences to the victims and their families. ‘America is with you,’ he said.”(Ref. 2) Just one more example of the all-too-familiar meaningless blather and no meaningful action!

     In the year since the shooting, Stoneman Douglas students have taken their case to the Florida capital, to Washington and throughout the United States. With a rallying cry of “Never Again,” they gathered support from other young people and activists, and their March for Our Lives campaign spurred rallies and hundreds of protests, including a nationwide school walkout. The students’ pleas reached the White House, imploring President Trump to better protect schools and limit access to guns. Politicians and others expressed their sympathy to the students and claimed they would take action to end the gun carnage. At the end of the year, the result has been - A stream of of meaningless words, accompanied by endless photo-ops, but no meaningful action!

     Just Three months after the massacre in Parkland, Florida, 10 people were killed in yet another school shooting, this one in Santa Fe, Texas, compounding the Stoneman Douglas students’ outrage and resolve, and placing them in a new role: consoling those who were suffering as they were. “Something about Parkland has been different,” said Melissa Strassner, a survivor of the Columbine school shooting in 1999. “They truly have inspired a nation.” Still, our politicians did nothing to correct the problem. Instead, there were more meaningless words of sympathy, condolence, and support, but once again, no meaningful action!

     Since Parkland, our politicians have spouted words, in some cases, taken token, but meaningless, actions, while steadfastly refusing to make the hard decisions and take the necessary actions to end the gun slaughters that continue to plague America. In the one year since Parkland, more than 1,000 young people have died in gun violence [3] and still no meaningful action!

     So just how bad is gun violence in America? “In 2017, the U.S. had approximately 15,549 murders by firearms. Most involved inner-city street gangs fighting over drug territory.” (Ref. 4) Nearly 16,000 murders with guns. And this doesn’t count accidental gun deaths, suicides, or gun injuries, and still no meaningful action!

     For the most recent year, 2018, the reports on gun incidents are as follows: 14,711 deaths; 28,169 injuries; 667 children (age 0-11) killed or injured; 2,834 teens (age 12-17) killed or Injured; 340 mass shootings. [5] The number of suicides with guns are not included in these numbers.

     Among the meaningless 76 feel-good “gun control laws” enacted by state legislatures last year were bans on bump stocks and caps on magazine sizes to new minimum-age requirements and expanded background checks. None had any noticeable impact on the ongoing gun violence in the United States. But, after the shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people, the National Rifle Association (N.R.A.) used its political clout and a powerful public relations campaign to fight gun control efforts. In addition, at the federal level, any momentum for change was quickly stymied by partisan gridlock. Republican leaders in Congress remained silent as their Democratic colleagues called, once again, for changes in the wake of a mass shooting. The White House flip-flopped on promises to raise the minimum age to purchase rifles and to enforce universal background checks. And the N.R.A. pressed lawmakers, including the president, to give priority to the interests of gun owners. In the end, the only minor and insignificant national change was a ban on bump stocks — which members of both parties had been calling for since the Las Vegas shooting in October 2017.[1]

     In the days, weeks and months following the Parkland shootings, “The president voiced support . . . for arming teachers with guns as a way to prevent further massacres. It was an early indicator of the tack that he and congressional Republicans would take in addressing the shooting. In March, Mr. Trump announced the creation of a federal commission to examine school safety proposals, including raising the minimum age for buying certain firearms. But two months later, {the} Education Secretary informed a Senate committee that the commission would not look at the role guns play in school violence. Its final report played down the role of guns, and advised schools to improve mental health services and train school personnel to use firearms.” (Ref. 1) So much for gun control – according to administration, guns are not important in school gun violence! – UNBELIEVABLE!

     Eight months after Parkland, “On Saturday morning, 27 October 2018, a man shouting anti-Semitic slurs and armed with an AR-15-style assault rifle and at least three handguns opened fire inside the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing at least 11 congregants and wounding four police officers and two others. [6]

     To no one's surprise and as usual, following the synagogue shooting, there was an outpouring of sympathy and platitudes from politicians, accompanied by phony tears and breast-beating. But, as usual, no politician had the intestinal fortitude or the desire to identify the only practical solution and to initiate the process of implementing that solution.

     And what is that solution? THE ONLY REALISTIC WAY TO END GUN VIOLENCE IN AMERICA IS TO GET RID OF THE GUNS! The solution consists of three steps: 1) Repeal the second amendment to the Constitution, 2) Ban the possession of all guns except by law enforcement, the military and those who need guns to protect the public, i.e., security guards and similar individuals and, 3) Severely punish anyone who illegally possesses or traffics guns. Increased background checks and refusing to issue gun permits to the mentally unstable is nothing but a sick joke, designed to give politicians the appearance of taking action while actually doing nothing! [6]

     “It’s tragic . . . but this is the clear pattern . . . A horrific tragedy happens. There are calls for action. Maybe something gets introduced in Congress. The debate goes back and forth for a bit. Then people move on — usually after a week or two. And so there’s eventually another shooting.
     “. . {Reporters} do the same thing every single time {they} get news of a mass shooting: verify reports, write a ‘what we know’ article, and then begin to update {their} old pieces on guns. {They} do this almost instinctively at this point — . . . No one should get used to this.
      - - -
     “ ‘Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have ever been done to prevent this, we call BS,’ . . . a student survivor {of a mass school shooting} said in a speech at a gun control rally that went viral. ‘They say that tougher gun laws do not decrease gun violence. We call BS. They say a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. We call BS. They say guns are just tools like knives and are as dangerous as cars. We call BS. … They say that no laws could have been able to prevent the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred. We call BS.’
      - - -
     “The US is unique in two key — and related — ways when it comes to guns: It has way more gun deaths than other developed nations, and it has far more guns than any other country in the world. [Emphasis mine]
      - - -
     “The problem . . . is guns — and America’s abundance of them.” [Emphasis mine] (Ref. 7) And The major obstacle to solving the gun problem is the Second Amendment!

     “Where do we start to end gun violence and mass shootings in America? We start by repealing the second amendment to the Constitution! Every time there is an attempt to institute meaningful gun control legislation and to end or, at least, to reduce the number of gun deaths, injuries and mass shootings, the gun owners, the gun lobby, and the plain gun nuts invoke the 2nd amendment, as if it was some law engraved on tablets of stone that was handed down from God and which is immutable, sacred and unchangeable. It’s time to refute such argument! The 2nd amendment is no such thing! It is simply an amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. . . . Also, let’s not lose sight of the fact that the Constitution was designed to be amended, i.e., changed, and that amendments to the Constitution can and have been repealed. The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is not sacred and it is not sacrosanct – it can be changed and it can be repealed! The time has now arrived when it must be repealed!
     “The number of shootings, gun deaths, and gun injuries in America has reached epidemic proportions. All attempts to get this epidemic under control have been stymied by the gun owners and their lobbies – primarily the National Rifle Association (NRA) – and the politicians who pander to them and garner financial support from them or are gun advocates themselves. These gun advocates trot out the now tiresome canard that the 2nd amendment gives all Americans the God-given right to own and use guns, no matter the consequences. Enough!(Ref. 8)

     Next, we get rid of the guns. We collect and destroy most of the guns out there and we severely restrict the number of guns legally available to those needed to protect and defend the citizenry, valuables and resources of our nation. There simply has to be an urgent need to possess a gun. Target practice, hunting, and the thrill of owning a deadly weapon should no longer justify the possession of this deadly weapon.

     It’s now more than 17 years since the Columbine school shootings and 5-plus years since the Sandy Hook school shootings. The Florida school shooting {last} year was America’s 18th school shooting in the 1st month-and-a-half of 2018. “By the reckoning of the Gun Violence Archive, the killing in Florida was the country’s 1,607th mass shooting since Sandy Hook. In other words, America has had more than one mass shooting every day since then, costing 1,846 lives. On top of these school shootings, there have been numerous mass shootings over the years - the Las Vegas shooting . . . being the worst. {Then we had} the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre. And all the while, the politicians, the NRA and the gun nuts tell us not to rush to judgement, to study the problem to death and to obediently follow the Divine Word of the Second Amendment to U.S.Constitution! [9]

     "Following the Las Vegas mas shooting, there was a frenzy to enact legislation outlawing bump stocks on semi-automatic weapons. So, exactly how many school shootings have involved guns with bump stocks? Answer: ZERO! How many mass shootings have involved guns with bump stocks? Answer: ONE! The bump stock controversy is simply another red herring being thrown out to confuse and distract from the real issue – that of reducing the number of guns in the hands of would-be mass killers! The real questions needing answers are: how many school shootings have involved guns? Answer: ALL OF THEM! And, how many mass shootings have involved guns? Answer: ALL OF THEM!(Ref. 10)

     After a mass shooting, politicians who should be leading the fight against gun violence, instead, offer condolences and prayers, observe moments of silence and order flags flown at half-staff. But afterward, legislative efforts are deferred and ultimately derailed. Invariably, the refrain is: "not now, later; There will be a time and place for a political debate, but not now. Now is the time for us to mourn and unite as a country." But, the time for political debate and meaningful action never comes. It’s always the same old story – "now is not the time, later." When it comes to guns, it’s invariably business as usual! [11]

     Repealing the Second Amendment and enacting laws to get rid of the weapons on the streets of America are the first two necessary steps to ending the senseless slaughtering of Americans with firearms. The remaining step is the passage of laws to severely punish all illegal activity associated with the use, possession or trafficking of guns.[12]

     Unless and until America decides that getting guns off its street and out of the hands of those who would do us harm supersedes gunowners’ perceived “right to own a gun” and unless and until America simply outlaws their possession, the spate of gun deaths in America will continue to grow. Until the gun fanatics realize that sometimes citizens must give up certain perceived rights in order to benefit society as a whole, the epidemic of mass shootings will continue. Unless and until our politicians stop spouting their blather and rhetoric and get serious about ending gun violence, the death toll from shootings will continue to spiral upward. Unless and until America:

  1. repeals the second amendment to the Constitution,
  2. bans the possession of all guns except by law enforcement, the military and those who need guns to protect the public, and
  3. enacts laws to severely punish anyone who illegally possesses or traffics guns,
the number of people shot to death in America will continue to grow.

     America, we have a choice – get rid of guns, or live our lives in constant fear of being gunned down by some criminal or madman. Gun owners, you have a choice – give up your lethal toys and support the elimination of all unnecessary firearms, or be a contributor to the continuing slaughter of your fellow Americans with these increasingly deadly weapons. [12]

     America, for Shame! We are long on words and short on actions. We sympathize, we mourn, we remember and we make unfulfilled promises – but still, we do nothing! For shame, America!

     Are you fed up with nothing being done to end gun violence in America? Will you do something to end the madness or will stay with those who talk a lot, but do nothing? If you are willing to take action, contact your representatives and senators and tell them you won’t support them, nor vote for them if they won’t push to:
  1. repeal the second amendment to the Constitution,
  2. ban the possession of all guns except by law enforcement, the military and those who need guns to protect the public, and
  3. enact laws to severely punish anyone who illegally possesses or traffics guns.
     If there is a national emergency in America today, it is an emergency created by gun violence. In America, people use guns to kill over 15,000 people a year, of which, some 3,500 are young people. Guns injure another 28,000 each year. This is the real national emergency that cries out for immediate and decisive action on the part of our national leadders.

     Americans, it's time to take action! Find, support and vote candidates into office who will actually do what needs to be done!
  1. Parkland Shooting: Where Gun Control and School Safety Stand Today, Margaret Kramer and Jennifer Harlan,
    The New York Times, 13 February 2019.
  2. Gunman who killed 5 at Illinois workplace 'was being terminated,' police say, CBC News, 15 February 2019.
  3. Parkland, 1 Year Later: Gun Violence Continues To Plague Young U.S. Population, Meghan Chakrabarti, wbur,
    14 February 2019.
  4. Steve Hansen: The facts of gun control, Steve Hanson,, 12 February 2019.
  5. Gun Violence Archive 2018, Gun Violence Archive, 16 February 2019.
  6. Shooting at Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Sarah Blake,, 29 October 2018.
  7. I’ve covered gun violence for years. The solutions aren’t a big mystery., German Lopez, Vox,
    21 February 2018.
  8. When it Comes to Mass Shootings, There are Doers and Then There are Politicians, David Burton,
    Son of Eliyahu; Article 318, 8 March 2018.
  9. America seems unable to solve a scourge that exists nowhere else, The Economist, 17 February 2018.
  10. Here’s A List Of All The Gun Control Laws Congress Has Passed Since Newtown, Nick Wing,
    Huffingtonpost,14 December 2015.
  11. Letter: Meaningful action needed on gun control, Chris Howell, Shannon Walko, David J Young,, 23 February 2018.
  12. The ONLY Way to End Gun Violence in America, David Burton, Son of Eliyahu: Article 339, 1 November 2018.

  21 February 2019 {Article 350; Suggestions?_19}    
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