How many more times is going to take before we get to a sane policy of gun control here in the United States? Maybe the latest (and hopefully the last) one that occurred on October 1, 2017 will finally be the straw that broke the camel's back.
First of all, there is no clear cut definition of what a “mass shooting” really is although Wikipedia has this to say on the subject.
The United States' Congressional Research Service acknowledges that there is not a broadly accepted definition, and defines a "public mass shooting" as one in which four or more people selected indiscriminately, not including the perpetrator, are killed, echoing the FBI definition of the term "mass murder".
Maybe it’s like the definition of hard core pornography Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart used back in 1964 when he said I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced... but I know it when I see it ..."
Depending on which news source you choose to believe the Las Vegas shooter had 23 guns in his hotel room and an additional 19 at his residence. Many of these were illegally modified for the sole purpose of inflicting as much carnage as possible on an unprotected and unsuspecting public.
I know many people who are in support of the right to bear arms would point out that this is an aberration, an isolated incident but seriously, how many more of these so called “isolated incidents” do we need before we exercise some constraint on the people and their “right” to have that many weapons.
To supporters of gun rights who argue that the problem isn’t that the guns are in the wrong hands, the problem is that there are not enough people carrying guns on their person to prevent these kinds of things from happening. To that kind of thinking, I’d like to offer up the following.
Can you imagine if the people in attendance at the concert in which the shooting had occurred had been allowed to carry weapons into the venue? If even half the crowd was indeed packing I can’t imagine that the number of people killed or wounded would be any lower. In fact, it is my opinion that in the ensuing panic and confusion I think people would have started firing indiscriminately in any direction and many others would have been killed or injured as a result of “friendly fire”.
I don’t want to take guns away from law abiding citizens but I would like to see more stringent procedures in place to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands. While apparently the Vegas shooter had no previous history of mental issues and appeared to be a law abiding citizen you never know when someone might reach their breaking point and take their wrath out on the general public.
For those of you who argue that guns are in fact a good thing, I’d fall back on a line from William Shakespeare in his play As You Like It.
”Why then, can one desire too much of a good thing?
In the coming days, I’m sure the National Rifle Association will make their opinions known, as will those who are virulently opposed to guns in the first place.
Lets hope that voices from both sides of the issue are heard and some type of workable compromise can be met. It probably won’t be perfect but it has got to be better than what we're living with today.
Let it be true, that as the city so proudly points out, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”
I think the American public would be better off if that turns out to be the case.