FILE – In this Dec. 27, 2012, file photo, a variety of military-style semi-automatic rifles obtained during a buy back program are displayed at Los Angeles police headquarters. Gov. Jerry Brown signed six stringent gun-control measures Friday, July 1, 2016, that will require people to turn in high-capacity magazines and require background checks for ammunition sales, as California Democrats seek to strengthen gun laws that are already among the strictest in the nation. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
As a result we have reached a dangerous critical mass of frustration, distrust and an epidemic of gun violence from all too easy access to high powered firearms without commonsense criminal background checks and detection by law enforcement.
This growing frustration and increasing gun violence, combined with Congress making law enforcement the enemy of gun rights and, literally, arming criminals and suspected terrorists, without concern or even a background check has made us fear each other, law enforcement and our government.
More unrestricted access to guns, more gun violence by criminals, terrorists and angry hate mongers, more fear…and more gun sales. Meanwhile, Congress has targeted law enforcement, not criminals or terrorists as the enemy, giving police handguns with just 17 rounds while criminals and terrorists have more time between reloads with unrestricted access to military weapons and 30- to 100 round ammunition magazines. A great business plan for the gun lobby to sell fear and guns, enabled by Congress with predictable consequences: more gun violence and more gun sales.
Nothing sells better than fear. The uniquely unregulated gun industry, which Congress gave immunity from lawsuits to, are laughing all the way to the bank while 90 more families bury loved ones from gun violence every day. This includes Cerberus Capital Management, the three headed dog guarding the gates of hell and owner of twenty percent of the entire gun industry including the Bushmaster AR 15, the weapon of choice for mass shooters at Sandy Hook Elementary School, DC Sniper, San Bernardino and the list goes on.
For decades, Congress and the gun industry were content with unrestricted gun access in poor minority communities, where guns are easier to get than jobs. In fact, former NRA Board member Jeff Cooper wrote in Guns and Ammo magazine that “The consensus is that no more five to ten people in a hundred who die from gunfire in Los Angeles are any loss to society. These people fight small wars amongst themselves. It would seem a valid social service to keep them well supplied with ammunition.”
No surprise 90 people die a day from gun violence and since 1975, more Americans have died from gunfire in the United States than all US service men and women killed in all foreign wars combined.
No surprise that angry disenfranchised criminals and domestic terrorists are now killing police, like they’ve been targeting the rest of us for years and there have been over 1,000 mass shootings since Sandy Hook.
How do we begin to change and heal?
We should start with sincere apologies to and from law enforcement of all races, urban and rural.
Past and present Presidents and members of Congress should apologize for not fighting hard enough to reduce racial and social injustice. Plus apologies for failing to provide the support law enforcement and first responders deserve while protecting us from domestic criminals and foreign terrorists.
Even in our own relationships, apologies always seems so hard, yet always seem to disarm and begin hard conversations and renew trust.
Apologies helped change the conversation on opioid addiction as a disease versus a crime and begin to build trust between police and their communities.
It can happen again with race and unrestricted access to deadly firearms and we can turn this epidemic of hate and gun violence around too.
Finally, we all need to take responsibility and support each other and hold ourselves, Congress and law enforcement accountable for their roles and actions. We’re humans and we’re all capable of the very best and worst that has ever been done.
Every Country has their fill of violent criminals, terrorists, dangerously mentally ill and greedy corporations like Cerberus, that left unchecked will choose violence and money over empathy and public safety. But thanks to the spineless majority in Congress, owned and intimidated by the gun lobby, in America we arm everyone with military grade weapons without criminal backgrounds checks or accountability. And only in America do we allow an unregulated gun industry to get away with murder at the rate of over 30,000 Americans every year by selling fear and more guns, while Congress ignores the resulting public health and social crisis, simply to pad the pockets of the gun industry and their supporters in Congress.
Is this really what we’ve become?
Like the only two long term choices with the epidemic of opioid addiction effecting every family, it’s treatment or death?
We have two choices with the epidemic of gun violence and racism. We can commit to racial and economic justice, to supporting our law enforcement and to reasonable restrictions on deadly weapons or we can continue to come unraveled as a democracy and continue to accept 90 dead Americans and a mass shooting every day from preventable gun violence.