Las Vegas shooting should be a call to limit firearms

But Terrace writer says the U.S. is moving in the opposite direction

Another week in America ruined by some nut who couldn’t be satisfied killing himself; he had to “off” as many innocent strangers as he could before he went.

Once again Congress has no intention of clamping down on the availability of guns. President Trump says now is not the time to talk about clamping down on assault rifles. Unbelievably, this week the House of Representatives will vote on a bill to legalize the sale of gun silencers. Wouldn’t want a shooter to disturb an entire neighbourhood!

The National Rifle Association generously funds Republican party election campaigns ($54 million in the 2016 presidential election) and no Republican wants to offend an NRA member or pass up all that financial backing.

In June last year the NRA fought to allow people on the no-fly list to buy a gun. They can’t get on a plane (unless security fails in their pre-boarding search) but they should own high power guns.

In February Trump signed a bill that made it easier for people with severe mental illness to buy guns.

Since Sandy Hook, Connecticut’s school massacre of December 2012 that killed 20 elementary school students plus six staff, the U.S. has experienced over 200 more school shootings. Slow learners, eh what?

Why do sensible citizens not gang up at election time and tell the NRA where to go and how quickly they should get there? The prospect may seem futile but if the U.S. could bring in racial equality, over many years it’s true, what’s stopping them from overpowering the NRA at the ballot box in November 2018 mid-terms or in the 2020 presidential election?

If now is not the time for the president and Congress to debate gun violence and ways to limit possession of guns suited only to war, then citizens will have to modify their own movements to minimize their risk of being shot and killed.

They could begin by augmenting their wardrobe with kevlar vests such as SWAT teams wear to deflect bullets.

Wear running shoes to all events, whether a wedding, a picnic, or a funeral, and train for months in advance like Olympic sprinters in case they need to make a quick getaway.

Practise wall climbing to be adept at going over the top if hemmed in as Las Vegas concert goers were. This skill could come in handy if bullets began whizzing about at a Blue Jays game, for instance.

When possible, download favourite musicians from Youtube instead of showing up at a major venue where you might be a sitting duck for some deranged gun collector.

Even these measures combined might fail to protect you.

The Las Vegas killer was 64, twice the average age of a mass murderer according to an FBI profiler. He has no criminal record, wasn’t on any watch list. At the store where he purchased some of the rifles, he passed the government-mandated background check.

He didn’t seem to have been a religious or political extremist. Even his brother hadn’t noticed anything unusual about his behaviour before Sunday night.

Shooting can happen without warning, as in 2014 when a drug disagreement led to one of my neighbours shot dead, another woman shot in the leg and cops with no notion of where the shooter was. Our street was under lockdown for hours. I live within yards of a rifle range where police and conservation officers target practice. More than eight shots in a volley is uncommon. I can’t imagine 11 minutes of rapid firing.

Once again U.S. lawmakers will offer prayers and condolences but little else.

Democrats oppose the widespread ownership of guns, particularly assault rifles. Yet if they propose bills to limit their availability, the bills will be watered down, the NRA will smother them in dollars, and the bills will be defeated. Just as they were under Obama’s presidency. Soon the slaughter at an open air concert will be forgotten, snowed under by fresh disasters.

Trump and his Republicans will offer prayers and condolences but little else to families who have lost loved ones.

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