Gun violence woven into American fabric; can we pull the thread?

The term “gun control” is anathema to many Americans, which I honestly don’t understand. Why are we against keeping guns from the wrong people? 

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Columnists

May 25, 2022 - 3:42 PM

U.S. flags, across New York Bay from the Statue of Liberty, fly at half-mast at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey, on Wednesday, as a mark of respect for the victims of the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

When my daughter texted me Wednesday morning to watch a two-minute video by Steve Kerr, the name didn’t ring a bell. 

That he is a professional basketball coach made the disconnect even greater.

But his message is universal.

In the wake of another mass shooting — this time, 19 children and two adults were gunned down in a Texas elementary school — when are Americans going to say enough about our rampant gun violence?

“When are we going to do something?” Kerr yelled, slamming his fists on the table. “I’m tired. I am so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families that are out there. I am so tired of the excuses. … I am tired of the moments of silence. Enough!”

Kerr laid the blame squarely on the shoulders of the 50 Republican U.S. Senators who have refused to consider legislation that would tighten background checks. 

“There’s a reason why they won’t vote on it,” Kerr said. “To hold on to power.”

Despite the fact that 90% of Americans favor such measures, Republicans are loath to say action of any kind is necessary for fear that it would jeopardize their chances at reelection.

Try us. 

Tell us that the fact guns are now the leading cause of death for children and teenagers sends chills down your back.

Tell us it’s not right that an 18-year-old should be able to walk into a classroom and shoot to death 19 children and two teachers. 

Tell us you are willing to do what it takes to make us safe and see if we boot you out.

After the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012 when 20 elementary school children and six adults were killed by a young man with a semiautomatic weapon, I thought for sure Americans would say this is not who we are.

But in the decade since, gun sales have soared. Today, there are more guns than people in the United States. Per capita, we have 120 guns for every 100 people, many times more than any other country.

It’s nothing now to see people walking down the street wearing weapons of death, as if they are an essential accessory. 

Which is a problem. To so normalize guns mitigates their potential for harm.

Unfortunately, the term “gun control” is anathema to many Americans, which I honestly don’t understand. Why are we against keeping guns from the wrong people? 

Simple reforms such as background checks, safe storage measures, and protection orders against domestic violence offenders would help ensure guns are not abused.

People say the frequency of gun violence is making us numb to its danger to society. That gun violence is a natural offshoot of us having so many guns. 

It comes with being an American.

The evidence confirms that narrative. If we do nothing to change that story, it will be our legacy.

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