“And, of course, what’s also routine is that somebody, somewhere will comment and say, Obama politicized this issue. Well, this is something we should politicize. It is relevant to our common life together, to the body politic. I would ask news organizations — because I won’t put these facts forward — have news organizations tally up the number of Americans who’ve been killed through terrorist attacks over the last decade and the number of Americans who’ve been killed by gun violence, and post those side-by-side on your news reports. This won’t be information coming from me; it will be coming from you. We spend over a trillion dollars, and pass countless laws, and devote entire agencies to preventing terrorist attacks on our soil, and rightfully so. And yet, we have a Congress that explicitly blocks us from even collecting data on how we could potentially reduce gun deaths. How can that be?”

President Obama’s statement on the shootings at Umpqua Community College, Roseburg, Oregon

There have been a number of news organizations who have done this very thing since Thursday. Here is a chart from CNN, for example. The result is staggering. It is time to do something about this.

My heart breaks for the families of those who died in this horrific way. I will be thinking about those who lost their lives and will do the Buddhist equivalent of prayer for both.

But now is the time to do something about this because it will only happen again, sooner than we think. It always happens again.

 

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Thoughts and Opinions

Soapbox

Life

As you have most likely heard, there was a school shooting today. You might have also heard about the shooting at Clackamas Town Center in the Portland area on Tuesday. I have been trying to process this event all week because Clackamas Town Center is the mall I shop at. I go there all the time. I could have easily been there when this happened. The shooter at the mall used a semi-automatic weapon (that he stole from a so-called “responsible” gun owner). It is a miracle that only two people were killed (besides him). However, it is two more people dead than needed. Two senseless deaths that occurred that day.

And so now we have another, unbelievably horrific and  worse, mass killing in the same week. One that involves small children! I can’t even wrap my mind around this. What kind of a person does this to children? And why?

The first thing that pops into my head when things like this happen is that we need gun control. I have heard people bitch about those of us that raise this issue during these kinds of tragedies but I ask them, “When is a good time to bring it up?”  This is the second event like this in a week. There is something wrong. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT IT.

Let’s start with this:

https://twitter.com/BorowitzReport/status/279726114816020481

Why do people need to own semi-automatic assault weapons? Automatic weapons are made to kill people. That is their purpose. Specifically, they are made to kill people in war. The soldiers who use automatic weapons that are meant to be used in war are trained very extensively in how to, not only use the weapons, but how to react in the situations in which they are supposed to use them. Joe Citizen does NOT need an automatic weapon. Don’t even get me started on SWAT gear and bulletproof vests.

Frankly, Joe Citizen does not need a weapon at all. I can understand owning a gun that is used for hunting, but why do people need guns that are made to kill other people? Self-defense? Do we realize that the chances of being in a situation where you will actually need that gun are minuscule?

Perhaps we focus too much on hypothetical. I was in a brief conversation today with someone about this subject. I asked him why he needed to own a semi-automatic weapon. His answer was hypothetical. Essentially  he needed it because his fiancé might be threatened with rape in his home by an intruder and he wanted to be ready. A semi-automatic weapon would do the job more efficiently than a handgun.

He is basing these decisions on things that COULD happen, even though the chance of those things happening is ridiculously low. It becomes ironic, then, that this person (who is so concerned with his welfare) owns a gun because owning one raises the chance that he will die at the hand of that gun.

These are the  thoughts running through my head today. Hopefully they are coherent. Mostly I am just so heartbroken. 20 innocent children died today, along with 7 teachers.  A Hospice nurse and a loving father of two children were killed earlier this week. These were all murders that could have been prevented. It is senseless and sad.