Joe Zevuloni weeps in front of a cross to commemorate the victims of the shooting at nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. CNS photo/Carlos Garcia Rawlins, Reuters

Bob Brehl: Weapons of mass domestic destruction

By 
  • February 22, 2018

On Valentine’s Day, there was yet another U.S. massacre when a shooter killed 17 Florida high school students and wounded a score more.

Since the December 2012 annihilation of 20 children ages 6 and 7 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., there have been more than 1,500 mass shootings in the U.S.

Semi-automated weapons kill children in kindergarten, teens in high schools and movie theatres, adults at concerts, night clubs and offices, and yet nothing changes.

Politicians — especially those funded by the National Rifle Association (NRA) — call for prayer and blame the mental state of shooters. The immediate aftermath of deadly shootings is no time to talk about gun control, they parrot.

It’s so disheartening. It’s getting too easy to become numb and just assume nothing will ever change.

Stiffer background checks of gun buyers for criminal records or mental health issues? Nope. Tighter controls on semi-automated guns? Nada. Banning devices that turn semi-automated into automatic guns? Not a chance.

Robert F. Kennedy once said: “Some men see things as they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were, and ask why not.”

Why not protect children in school? Why not acknowledge the Second Amendment was not passed to guarantee semi-automatic rifles can be bought by anyone?

Since Bobby Kennedy was gunned to death in 1968, more Americans have died on home soil from domestic guns than all Americans have died in all the wars the country has fought.

With 4.4 per cent of the world’s population, the United States houses a domestic arsenal of almost half (48 per cent) of the civilian-owned guns worldwide.

Yet nothing changes. Such is the lobbying power of the gun-happy folks at the NRA who fund political campaigns and make politicians beholden to them and their weapons of mass domestic destruction.

But wait, maybe change is possible? There appears to be a growing grassroots effort to fight back at the NRA.

On Facebook, a California man named Bob Weiss posted a picture of himself and his smiling 19-year-old daughter Veronika with this message: “My daughter was murdered in a mass school shooting. What makes you believe that your child won’t be next? I don’t want your f#*#*ing sympathy. I want you to stop voting for gun-whore politicians. (Please share.)” 

His post was shared 90,000 times the two days following the Valentine’s Day school shooting.

After that Florida shooting, reporters asked the basketball coach of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors for his thoughts. And Steve Kerr gave a rousing call to arms (if you will) for Americans to stand up to the NRA and its for-hire politicians.

“Nothing has been done. It doesn’t seem to matter to our government that children are being shot to death day after day in schools. It doesn’t matter that people are being shot at a concert, in a movie theatre. It’s not enough, apparently, to move our leadership, our government, people that are running this country, to actually do anything. That’s demoralizing,” Kerr said.

“But we can do something about it. We can vote people in who actually have the courage to protect people’s lives and not just bow down to the NRA because they’ve financed their campaign for them.

“So, hopefully we’ll find enough people, first of all, to vote good people in, but hopefully we can find enough people with courage to help our citizens remain safe and focus on the real safety issues. Not building some stupid wall for billions of dollars that has nothing to do with our safety, but actually protecting us from what truly is dangerous, which is maniacs with semi-automatic weapons just slaughtering our children. It’s disgusting,” Kerr said.

Like Bob Weiss, Kerr lost a loved one, his father, to gunmen.

There is also a seemingly well-organized campaign to “out” politicians acting hypocritically on the issue of gun control. As is the norm, many U.S. politicians are Tweeting and posting things about praying for the victims and their families, but on the other hand are taking huge sums of money from the NRA.

For example, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a former candidate for President, tweeted this: “Just spoke to Boward School Superintendent. Today is that terrible day you pray never comes.”

And all across Facebook feeds, Twitter and elsewhere is a link to a New York Times investigation that found Rubio has accepted $3,303,355 and counting from the NRA.

Gun control organizations and campaigns range from We Resist, Every town for Gun Safety and the NationalCompassionFund.org to The Brady Campaign, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

They appear to be finally gaining momentum and traction because what’s needed to stop these weapons of domestic mass destruction is leadership and change, not merely more thoughts and prayers. Why not dream and act on protecting children and others from being gunned down?

(Brehl is a writer and author of several books.)

  

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