BY SHARON MARTIN
After every mass shooting, there are plenty of thoughts and prayers. But if you suggest it is time to do something about the problem of gun violence in the United States, you are accused of violating gun owners’ rights. This is just political fear mongering. No one is coming to get your guns.
Guns are tools. Farmers and hunters use them. So do sports shooters. Getting rid of all the guns in this country would be as impossible as deporting all the immigrants. Still, there are too many guns with no purpose but to appease people’s fears of other people.
The solutions to our problems are complex, but it is high time we have some hard conversations. To suggest that we can’t tackle the problem because of the Second Amendment is laziness.
Could manufacturers limit the types of weapons they offer the general public? Could we require liability insurance for gun owners? How would we enforce any new laws?
And gun ownership isn’t the only thing to blame.
Too many Americans still lack access to affordable health care. The ACA didn’t go far enough because legislators were afraid to offend their donors. Too bad they aren’t afraid of offending voters.
Income inequality breeds discontent and anger. A friend with a full-time job and a special needs child just canceled a doctor’s appointment for herself because she couldn’t afford it. If only our governor had accepted the Medicaid expansion. If only every full-time job paid a living wage.
When we work hard and have nothing to show for it, it’s easy to fall into despair.
Self-serving politicians incite hatred against a perceived threat. The disillusioned and fearful start to believe that violence is justified. We harden our hearts and close our doors.
Drug addiction is treated as a crime. It is next to impossible to get help for a family member who suffers from mental illness.
Health, diet, and job security can have an effect on one’s propensity toward violence. All these problems form a web.
A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the 1990s found “a strong correlation between having a gun in the home and an increased risk of homicide.” Guess who lobbied Congress to prohibit federal funding for this type of research? We need more research to pinpoint solutions.
Enough! Keep up the thoughts and prayers, but it is time we put legs to our prayers. The biggest sin we can commit in the face of yet another tragedy is to do nothing.
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer