Welcome to Common Gunsense

I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Unhealthy guns

On this day of the 11th anniversary of the Columbine shootings, how can we ever forget what happened that day at an otherwise safe high school? Schools are supposed to be places where we can send our children daily and know that, barring a playground or bus accident or Chemistry lab explosion, they will be safe and will return home at the end of the day without incident. There had been other school shootings before Columbine, but April 20, 1999 became the deadliest high school shooting in America. Twelve students and one teacher died that day and 21 others were wounded, some with life-long disabilities. That doesn't even account for the post traumatic stress that, eleven years later, still stays with many who were in the school that day or lost a loved one. The health care professionals unexpectedly had to deal with gunshot wounds and dead bodies on what should have been an average day.

This leads me to wondering if any place is safe from crazed, depressed people with guns. Yesterday, a man took a cab to a hospital in Knoxville, Tennessee, got out and opened fire on totally innocent people going about their business just outside of the hospital doors.What is going on? What caused this man to shoot strangers? Where did he get the gun? Who was he? Why a hospital? These questions need to be asked and answered. Once they are, what will we do about it?

Just a few years ago, another Knoxville shooting took place at, of all places, a church. Churches, like schools and hospitals, should be places of sanctuary where one should not expect crazed or vengeful shooters to take lives and wreak havoc. But on that Sunday in Knoxville, bullets flew as people were praying and children were singing. Once again, a man with a history of mental illness, suicidal behavior and domestic abuse, got a gun easily from a pawn shop. In this case, the shooter was after his ex-wife and, according to his own words, liberals and gay people. So, why do some people who are so angry with those who do not agree with them feel that a gun will solve the problem? How many stories do we read about men who use guns in anger, depression and loss of control in a break-up of a relationship? Too many.

In our culture of gun craziness , we can expect more shootings at schools, churches, hospitals and other public places. As long as we are unwilling to make it less possible for felons, mentally ill people, domestic abusers and others to get guns without background checks or buy them on illegal markets or steal them from homes where they are not locked up, then more senseless tragedies will occur. As long as those with the "bully pulpit" such as politicians and other leaders, don't speak out against these shootings, we will see more of them.

The anniversary of the Columbine shootings should be a day that we celebrate new legislation that would at least attempt to prevent other such shootings. That would be a fitting memorial to those lost lives. Instead, the loss of life continues unabated. Instead, the gun lobby is winning the debate. Instead, our political leaders are more afraid than ever of the guys with the guns. Instead, our leaders accept political contributions and support from the NRA. Where is common sense? Where is the outrage?

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