Mass Shootings; It’s Time to Act

We all know that when it comes down to mass shootings it’s far past time for action. Try doing a web search for mass shootings and you will get conflicting definitions of terms and data on these tragic events. The FBI defines an active shooter as one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area. Others define mass shootings as events where more than four people are killed with a firearm within one event, and in one or more locations in close proximity. After the mass killings at Sandy Hook in Newtown, CT, Stanford started a project called Stanford Mass shootings of America. They define a mass shooting as three or more shooting victims, and not necessarily fatalities. This project was to try to get an accurate picture of the mass shootings which are wreaking havoc throughout America. More information concerning the discrepancy over the basic definition of a mass shooting or active shooter can be read at Rand.org.

The first problem lies in getting an actual picture of what’s going on. There are some government agencies, universities and news outlets which are trying to accurately diagnose and assess the problem. But having a coherent and consistent definition would be a great start. Try looking this information up on the internet, which coincidentally is where some agencies get their information, and you will some discrepancies. For example, taking a look at the Gun Violence Archive would give a misleading sample of the exact material that is sought. They list some obvious gang-related or other types of nefarious criminal machinations. From a layman’s point of view, I think that the general public would have a basic definition of a mass shooting as 3 or more victims, in which the perpetrator randomly opens fire for seemingly no reason at all. The basic point is that we all want to be able to go to work, church, movie theater or wherever and not have some lone wolf, terrorist, dissatisfied customer or disgruntled employee shoot us while we are in line for a hotdog or trying to conduct a board meeting.

It’s time we held our government officials accountable. Some entities have taken some precautions in order to make sure that the public stays safe. In Connecticut, a very liberal state, I have been to a number of different venues which had metal detectors and the possession of a handgun was strictly forbidden while attending the event. I thought it was extreme that they would not allow a police officer to have their weapon with them. Disarming the very people who are sworn to protect the public seems silly to me but it was a private event and it was their discretion. My point is that some private industries are working to protect the public, why aren’t government officials doing more to help with this problem. I get that being a citizen in good standing means that one should be able to be armed according to those who hold fast to the 2nd Amendment. However, 90% of Americans want some form of a background check. So, what’s the hold-up? Why not give the people what they want?

I think it’s time we took power away from all corporate interests. Because of our campaign finance laws and lobbyists, the many are held under the sway of the few. This cannot stand. Large corporations are clearly impeding the will of the people.

What’s truly sad is how the news is covering these tragic events. We are becoming numb to the fact that our city or town could be next. It’s a terrifying idea to give up and surrender to the idea that the next time we go see a movie or pick up some paperwork from city hall that we may have to bar the door and hide because some maniac is on the loose. Think of our children who now run shelter in place and lockdown drills because politicians would rather placate businesses rather than actually do something to stem the tide of mass shootings.

And I realize that mass killings aren’t limited to shootings. In May 2019 there was a mass killing with a knife-wielding maniac in Japan. So, the problem isn’t limited to guns. With that said I do not back away from the idea that we need to fix whatever is broken in our system. Whether it’s a mental health issue, access to guns issue or a combination of both, standing idly by on the sidelines and giving condolences and prayers isn’t keeping the public safe from this type of violence.

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