Gun Control: Now!

How many more will it take? Columbine High School, Washington, DC. , Virginia Tech, Tucson, Aurora.  When will we act?

Thank you, Michael R. Bloomberg, New York City mayor for asking the two political candidates to address gun control. Now. Not later. Now.

He wrote in an op-ed in today’s  Daily News:

“Every day, 34 Americans are murdered with guns. That’s 12,000 innocent people killed each year with guns, many of them possessed illegally.

During the next President’s term, if we do nothing, 48,000 people will be murdered with guns — nearly as many Americans who were killed during a decade of fighting in Vietnam. Yet neither presidential candidate has offered a plan to lower the death toll, which continues to rise.

Less than a week after Aurora, the two candidates are back to politics as usual, attacking each other on gaffes and trivialities. If not now, when is the time for them to outline their solutions to gun violence?”

According to the Star-Ledger today, “we are the most heavily armed people of the world, per capita.  Americans use guns more often to kill each other than citizens of any industrialized nation.”

There’s no good time for a death. My Great -Aunt Sylvia died last week at age 100. I remember telling people about her; I had to cancel some meetings to attend her funeral. The death of an old person isn’t a tragedy; it’s a celebration of a life. Yet as someone said to me, who had recently lost her 90-year-old father, “there’s never a good time to lose a parent.”  My cousin Robert lost his mother. For my mother, she lost her oldest living relative, making her the family matriarch.

This week was the one year anniversary of my cousin Abigail Burg’s untimely death from a jet skiing accident.  She was 24. Her parents and extended family struggle every day to make sense of her death and find solace in the gifts she gave instead of the life she’s lost.  I remember going to the funeral and one of my sisters saying how at least she wasn’t murdered or killed in a terrorist attack.

Accidents and illness happen. Some are lucky, like Aunt Sylvia to live to an old age.

And some, like the 34 people killed every day, like the 12 victims massacred in Aurora, Colorado, are murdered thanks to the easy access to guns and ammunition our nation condones.

(JosuhaLott/GettyImages)

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About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. (www.educationupdate.com). I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, www.smithsonian.com. (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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18 Responses to Gun Control: Now!

  1. Karen Winkler says:

    As someone who is currently pro-gun rights (with some exceptions), I think that your post highlights an important issue which is that Americans need more unbiased information about the effect of guns on our communities. Both sides cite lots of statistics and play to people’s emotions (and I think the Pro-gun groups are just as bad in this respect) but ultimately people need unbiased statistics which I have yet to find from other side. For example, two statistics the Gun Owners of America organization puts out that sound compelling are:

    1) Guns are used 2.5 million times a year in self-defense. Law-abiding citizens use guns to defend themselves against criminals as many as 2.5 million times every year—or about 6,850 times a day.(1) This means that each year, firearms are used more than 80 times more often to protect the lives of honest citizens than to take lives.(2)

    2) Twice as many children are killed playing football in school than are murdered by guns. That’s right. Despite what media coverage might seem to indicate, there are more deaths related to high school football than guns. In a recent three year period, twice as many football players died from hits to the head, heat stroke, etc. (45), as compared with students who were murdered by firearms (22) during that same time period.(6)

    But the other side has just as great statics I’m sure. It’s a difficult subject to sort out.

    Like

  2. Karen Winkler says:

    typo – supposed to say: “but ultimately people need unbiased statistics which I have yet to find from EITHER side.”

    Like

  3. Patti Winker says:

    It’s hard for me even to comment on this. I tear up. I choke up. I can’t find the words. Thank you so much, Lisa, for sharing your thoughts and your personal experiences.

    Talking about gun control is not political… it’s talking about laws, or the lack of them. I can’t stand the fact that our elected officials are making decisions about this important discussion based on a large group pumping money into their elections. Every time this happens, it’s “not the time” to talk about gun control. When IS the time then?

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your young cousin. It’s unfair, unjust, unfathomable, to think of a young person dying. Our heart just can’t understand this kind of death. It’s never a good time to die. We always want those years back. And no matter how the death happened, it’s still unthinkable.

    I can’t watch the news anymore. I hate the ‘non-discussion’ going on. The talking-heads can spin this all they want. The fact remains… this country has not protected her people. Why? Because now is not the time to talk, but it’s the time to take money to get yourself re-elected.

    Like

  4. Nathan Winkler says:

    High School and Middle School students lack the maturity to decide to play football and potentially lose their lives in the process. School districts, parents, school boards, and society at large, brainwash our youth to participate in this fatal activity. A ban on high school football would be an easy way to save the lives of many more promising youngsters than gun control laws.

    This was a great blog post!!!!!!

    Like

  5. Thanks Lisa. I grew up in a family of hunters. My grandfather would be over 100 if he was alive. He hunted with a simple shotgun. My father-in-law was a hunter and when he died left a gun collection. I think they would wonder how an unstable person could amass an arsenal without any suspicion. They would probably never be for being able to order a gun over the internet. They would want to talk to the salesman and hold the gun and shoot the breeze. That is what responsible citizens do. Even when they may have feared for their lives, their guns were not the first thing they ran for. It was probably to make sure the family was safe.

    It is a two edged sword. These stories highlight the danger of guns in the wrong hands. So we should make it harder to buy them. Alcohol gets more scrutiny in some places. If you have ever been to a State Store in the south, you would know what I mean.

    This has been a tough few weeks for illegal guns (a y year-old shot in NYC), poor judgment with boats and pools, and just plain stupidity. My friend who is an expert in interviewing criminals said it best: There is no need to know the motivation and no need to give the criminal their 5 minutes of fame.

    Like

  6. Lisa…thank you for an impassioned and logical plea for gun control…of course, those who speak in favor of allowing folks to own guns can also raise thoughtful points. It’s a difficult question, just like castrating a rapist would not prevent him from victimizing a woman, so having more gun control would not prevent guns from finding their way into the hands of the wrong people. I don’t know the answer…only to pray for those whose lives have been impacted by this senseless violence…and to work towards helping every child gain a sense of respect for himself and others…children who are comfortable expressing their feeling verbally are not likely to use a gun when they grow up to express themselves.
    Lisa, this was a very timely post…and I enjoyed the comments as well. 🙂

    Like

  7. adinparadise says:

    I am and always have been so anti-guns. They wreak terrible destruction.

    Like

  8. Jo Bryant says:

    I hate guns and their availability to just about anyone

    Like

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