(This opinion piece is in response to Pete Shannon’s opinion column, “Buy ’em up, melt ’em down,” which ran in the Chronicle April 24).
As I was writing this column about gun violence, I was shocked to hear that a Dallas police officer was fatally shot at a Northeast Dallas Home Depot April 25. Armando Luis Juarez, 29, began firing at two Dallas police officers and a loss prevention officer after they were called in response to a man acting suspiciously. The store was at U.S. Highway 75 and Forest Lane.
This was just another senseless shooting spree, among many, taking place in the United States. It seems as if there’s an epidemic of people who aren’t really “all there” or who are obsessed with hatred for others, this country or with their own miserable lives. These are a new breed of “sadistic shooters” who devise a plan to shoot a group of people at some event with a semi-automatic weapon.
The reality is, though, with all of these sadistic shooters, if someone with a gun didn’t respond, more people would have been killed. As NRA President Wayne LaPierre said, “The only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” I think that is about as accurate as one can get to describe the best way to confront these lunatics who take out their anger on innocent people with a firearm.
What LaPierre said makes a lot of sense if we look closely at some of these shootings: Last summer, Steve Scalise and other Republican members of Congress at baseball practice were shot by James Hodgkinson, a left-wing activist. Fortunately, two officers from the Capitol and Alexandria police shot him dead.
In the Sutherland Springs church shooting in Texas, Dean Patrick Kelley killed 26 churchgoers and wounded 20 others. Stephen Willeford, a neighbor, pursued Kelley with a rifle after the shooting, but Kelley killed himself in his car. Kelley was prohibited by law from purchasing or possessing firearms and ammunition due to a domestic violence conviction while in the U.S. Air Force, but the Air Force failed to record the conviction with the FBI National Crime Information Center database.
Stephen Paddock, the Las Vegas mass murderer, killed 58 people and wounded 851 in a crowd of 22,000 concertgoers at a country music festival. He committed suicide in his hotel room, yet why no one at the hotel was suspicious of all the suitcases he brought up to his room is still a mystery. If someone had spoken up, this tragedy might not have happened.
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting Feb. 14 in Parkland, Fla., has gotten lots of recent attention. Nikolas Cruz, 19, in only six minutes killed 17 people and wounded 17. Since then, protests and walkouts around the country by high school students and others have taken place. They want changes in gun laws. The facts are, though, that in the Cruz shooting the sheriff’s department knew Cruz was a danger to society. The department had received a number of tips that Cruz intended to shoot up a school. The school, the counselors there and the students, who knew he was mentally unstable, didn’t follow through; neither did the FBI. Since then, what we hear is, “Let’s do something about gun violence.”
The truth is, if the American people are waiting for President Donald Trump and/or Congress to “do something” about gun laws, we may have a long wait. Trump is a strong leader. He’s keeping his campaign promises and upholding our Constitution and its laws, especially on illegal immigration, which is impressive. But sadly, he’s constantly being attacked by left-wing progressive Democrats in Congress and, as a result, it’s holding up his agenda and bringing down our country. The mainstream news media is complicit in attacking him daily. Whatever happened to “fair and balanced” reporting?
In spite of this constant hatemongering, Trump said he is moving forward to create a plan on school safety to strengthen background checks, ban bump stocks, raise the age limit to 21 to buy firearms and arm teachers or other school personnel on a voluntary basis. Getting rid of gun- free zones on college campuses would also be a plus.
To combat any talk of gun control, protesters are taking part in rallies to oppose stricter gun laws, in fear that some law will eventually threaten their right to bear arms. They have a point. As long as Trump is president, our Second Amendment will prevail, and I believe most Americans favor it, too. I’m glad that we have concealed carry and campus carry in Texas, in addition to our Richland police to protect us on the campus.
David French, a senior writer for the National Review, suggested in a Feb. 21 column that a gun-violence restraining order, or GVRO, might temporarily deny a disturbed person access to guns. He says family members or close friends could petition a court to temporarily take that individual’s guns away if there was evidence that the person was a danger to himself or others. Unless petitioners could produce convincing evidence that the person was dangerous though, it could lapse.
A few buy-back programs may be in place now, but they’re few and far between. The most ridiculous idea would be to require every law-abiding citizen to turn in their guns voluntarily. The federal government could even threaten or tempt people with $100 or more to do so, but that would be an absolute disaster. If we the people were disarmed, we would be sitting ducks for every criminal in America, any country that hates us or from terrorists. Furthermore, does anyone really think criminals are going to relinquish their firearms?
I believe the majority of people in this country feel safer having the freedom to own firearms to protect themselves, if need be. Until we can get Congress to respond and work with our president, nothing is going to change. Just remember that when it comes time to vote!