Or, in the horrific wake of the Las Vegas mass shooting, or in the stunning wake of U.S. House Majority Whip (R-La.) Steve Scalise’s recount of the harrowing moments within a minute from death after he was shot at a 7 o’clock in the morning congressional baseball game recently back in June 2017 in northern Virginia.
America’s hard choices in the wakes of these emotional tragedies are not merely to support or oppose gun control, but to make the hard choices in the ongoing debate on who can own which guns under what conditions to protect ourselves, our families, our schools, our churches, our businesses, and our government (comprised of and representing us).
Historically speaking, total numbers of firearm-related incidents have actually fallen through the decades. Before 1993, the number of people killed or wounded by firearms skyrocketed. Thereafter, America has seen a precipitous drop in deaths due to firearms, including fatal firearms accidents reduced to approximately 40 percent in the last decade, and nowadays reduced to as high as 49 percent, according to the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) conservative think-tank, with such fatal firearms accidents statistics resting now at their lowest levels ever chronicled.
Of the 31,224 people who died from gun violence, according to recent data reports on TIME.com, 12,632 people died from murderous gun violence, and the difference of 18,592 people died from self-inflicted suicide by gun fire, mostly by white men statistically.
I’m at Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas, where this small, very conservative community still holds onto its constitutional second amendment rights and liberties.
“The right to bear arms” was bestowed to the American citizenry by the framers of the constitution, who guarded against an over-reaching government. And, the framers included that right in the constitution before many other bills of rights, such as “the right to trial by jury, and the prohibitions against illegal search and arrest.”
Source: Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, “Why Own a Gun? Protection Is Now Top Reason,” www.people-press.org, Mar. 12, 2013
Be that as it may, the issue of gun ownership has remained one of the most contentious debates in this country. Given there are over 250 million guns across the American social fabric today, there are currently over 35,000 gun-control laws on the books in this nation, which attempt to control a right that the constitution says “shall not be infringed,” and many of these laws include total gun bans in many American cities (not inclusive to several states as Texas).
Source: FactCheck.org (2013), Top 10 States with lowest gun-related death rates (in blue); Top 10 States with highest gun-related death rates (in orange)
The FBI had a clear tip on January 5, 2018 of the intent and clear capabilities of a former student, who entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and opened fire, mass killing seventeen innocent people.
As reported on February 16, 2018 in the Washington Examiner: “Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday ordered an “immediate review” of the Department of Justice and FBI after officials failed to follow up on a tip that Nikolas Cruz, who shot up his former Florida high school on Wednesday, could be a threat.
The FBI admitted that “protocols were not followed” in this case, and Sessions said a full inquiry would be made.
“It is now clear that the warning signs were there and tips to the FBI were missed. We see the tragic consequences of those failures,” Sessions said in a statement.
Sessions said he has ordered Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to conduct an “immediate review of our process” at the Justice Department and FBI “to ensure that we reach the highest level of prompt and effective response to indications of potential violence that come to us.”
“This includes more than just an error review but also a review of how we respond. This will include possible consultation with family members, mental health officials, school officials, and local law enforcement,” the attorney general said.
Sessions called the review a “top priority.” “
Remarkably, the FBI finds the top weapon of choice of criminals involved in violent crimes they’ve investigated ironically is “a baseball bat” (categorized below as #9 non-firearm homicides just above #10 firearm homicides in a December 9, 2012 bar-charted statistical data comparison of Top 10 “Killers” of citizens in the U.S.).
“Why is there NO outcry to RESPECT baseball bat ownership?” asks second amendment advocates, “maybe because so many law-abiding citizens enjoy (baseball bats) safely, for sport.”
And so, the debate continues with the central questions being exactly what rights do Americans have with their ability to protect themselves and their property? And how far can the government go to either violate or protect these rights?
Source: Business Insider (2016), “Where Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump stand on gun control”
Our ongoing and continuing gun ownership debate is a longstanding part of the sociopolitical process in this nation. And, it will continue to surface in public reaction to future extreme disaster events and recovery, like the history-making Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay 32nd floor and Parkland, Florida high school shooting massacres, or the nightly gun killings on the harsh streets of several American cities, like Baltimore, Detroit, Chicago, or Los Angeles.