When will we stop it?

Dear Editor,

One of the definitions of insanity is when you keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. That has been us. We keep doing nothing, time after time.

Our society has become so desensitized to this carnage that it is starting to seem normal to us. We must act. We need to fix this. Wring your hands and offer all the prayers you want, it isn’t going to stop until we do something. It has to start at the top, but, we must let them know that we want action. NO! We must demand action!

There are many things contributing to this problem, there is no one single thing that will solve it. Warren Police Chief Deppen, very nicely put things in perspective, for us, in his article in Saturday’s paper, two weeks ago. The mental health issue, although a significant factor, is not the sole cause. This is not just an issue of gun violence in our schools; it is an issue of gun violence in our everyday lives. The measures being discussed and debated, now, are a starting point. They will have an impact on the violence in our schools. They will have no impact on the blood being shed across the rest of our country. Remember the bored, rich, gambler in Las Vegas? Remember the husband/wife Jihad team in Los Angeles? Remember the nightclub shooting in Florida? More stringent mental health screening or a purchase age of twenty-one would have no effect on adults who aren’t on anyone’s radar. Through this latest round of public forum, I have not heard one person mention our brave boys in blue being gunned down with these rifles as they answer Domestic disturbance calls across our country. It almost hit close to home for us, here in our little town of Warren, last summer, at our very own Dairy Delight. But for the skill and/or luck of one of Warren’s officers, we could have had our own rampage, there.

It is becoming apparent, the weapon of choice, of these mentally imbalanced cowards, bent on inflicting the highest number of casualties, is the AR style semi-automatic rifle. As far as I am concerned they do not belong in our hunting or shooting sports, or for that matter in the general public. Our military and our law enforcement agencies are the only ones that have a legitimate need for them. Their purpose of invention was to kill people. A lot of people. That is why we call them assault rifles, they are for assaulting people. You cannot use one to hunt in this or many other states.

If you think you need one to protect yourself or your family, I ask, from what and where? If you were to be attacked by one of these social outcasts or one of the radicalized, lone wolf terrorists we now have embedded in our society, they would not attack you at your home. An attack might come when you are at a concert, in a restaurant, a nightclub, or maybe when you were worshipping at your church. You won’t have your AR 15 slung over your shoulder because you left it at home. If you are prepared, you will have a sidearm tucked in your waistband or under your shirt. That’s what you would use to protect yourself. You will not need one to protect your homestead from intruders during the Apocalypse. That’s not going to happen. Nor will you need one when we overthrow our government. That’s not going to happen, either.

I am amazed, as these incidents unfold for us, on live TV, complete now, with cell phone video, that no one from the, normally very vocal, anti-gun lobby or the media, with their anti-gun bias, is reminding us of the fact that these rifles and high capacity magazine clips were banned during Bill Clinton’s presidency. When the ban expired, fourteen years ago, it was a buying frenzy. Everybody wanted to get one before they were banned, again. Now the NRA staunchly defends our right to own one. Statistics and percentages are being tossed back and forth. If only 3% of gun crimes are committed with long guns, my question would be [excuse my bluntness}, “What is the body count of this particular rifle?” Because of its high rate of fire, I would dare say, the only thing that could surpass it would be a bomb. Seventeen years of media coverage of our brave soldiers protecting us by fighting on multiple war fronts overseas has produced a warped mindset in some people who are susceptible to the power of suggestion. Put an assault rifle in their hands and you end up with someone who thinks he is a warrior.

At different times in, our country’s history, our government has had to determine that certain things are too dangerous for the general public to possess. Two examples of this are the Thompson submachine gun and armor piercing ammunition. No brainers, right? These semi-automatic rifles, now, fall in that category. On top of this, the NRA is, even, resisting banning bump stocks. That borders on being ludicrous

Leading up to this, most recent, incident, warning signs were missed or ignored. The FBI dropped the ball. E-mails were sent to teachers, this former student was not to be admitted into the school with a backpack. How much more warning is needed? It is unacceptable, after the number of times this has happened, that ALL of our schools are still not secured. LOCK THE DOORS! INSTALL SECURITY CAMERAS! USE A BUZZER SYSTEM TO ADMIT PEOPLE AFTER SCREENING THEM! After all, it’s not rocket science.

What we hear, when this is brought up, is there is no money in the schools’ budgets to pay for these things. Our Federal government should allocate money to make all of our nation’s schools safe. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, our government funded law enforcement agencies, nationwide, for equipment to combat terrorism. Remember the patrol boat our sheriff’s department got to patrol Kinzua Lake?

To quote Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President of the NRA, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Our schools need armed security, inside. If there is no money to pay for security guards, like minded teachers can be trained, qualified, and ready to react to threats like this. If a teacher isn’t comfortable with that, that’s fine, it would be a personal choice. We need deterrents in place. Pepper spray and tasers would be better than nothing. We need to get rid of that “victim” mindset. Texas, already, allows teachers to be armed, they advertise it on signs in front of the schools. THAT’S A DETERRENT! Have you heard of any mass shootings in their schools?

You say you don’t want our schools turned into battlegrounds? We heard that before, too. WAKE UP! They already are, the problem is that only the bad guys are armed. The mentality of these twisted individuals is that of a bully or a predatory animal. They pick victims that can’t fight back. After all, they are cowards. They don’t want to run the risk of getting hurt, themselves. Not so long ago, we were plaque by a, seemingly, never ending string of airliner hijackings leading up to our terrorist attacks of September, 11. Changes were eventually made in the airline transportation system. Inside the airplanes, cockpit doors fortified and locked, armed agents fly, randomly with the passengers, and some pilots were trained and armed. Those opposed to this loudly proclaimed there would be gunfights and bloodshed in the skies. It didn’t happen. Not a shot was fired. When was the last time you heard of an airliner being hijacked? Deterrents work. When a predator can’t take its victim easily and by surprise it looks for another victim.

Our president and our legislators need to work together to solve this problem. They need to do the job they were elected to do. They need to quit listening to the vocal extremes promoting their own agendas from both sides of the aisle. If there isn’t an outright banning of these rifles, there at least needs to be a higher level of security clearance for purchase and possession, not just a three year increase in legal age to buy one.

As we have seen, more times than we can remember, the potential for inflicting massive amounts of harm on innocent people is too great.

James Schmader,

Bear Lake