Af­ter Las Ve­gas, ‘We don’t have to live like this’

New Haven Register (New Haven, CT) - - FRONT PAGE - RAN­DALL BEACH

We are liv­ing in an ab­surd and mad­den­ing time.

A “lone wolf” with a mil­i­tarystyle arse­nal mas­sacres 58 peo­ple who are at­tend­ing a coun­try mu­sic fes­ti­val in Las Ve­gas and in­jures about 500.

Mem­bers of Con­gress pray and of­fer sym­pa­thy to the vic­tims and their fam­i­lies.

Mem­bers of Con­gress al­ways pray when there is a par­tic­u­larly hor­rific mass shoot­ing. They bow their heads, just as too many of them bow to the Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion and the gun in­dus­try.

God for­bid we should cut into the prof­its of the gun man­u­fac­tur­ers. Af­ter all, we live in a cap­i­tal­ist coun­try.

This isn’t just about Las Ve­gas. It’s about our towns and cities in Con­necti­cut and all over the coun­try.

Eight days af­ter Amer­ica’s lat­est gun slaugh­ter, the New York Times ran a full page of chilling sta­tis­tics from the Gun Vi­o­lence Ar­chive. It showed how lit­tle time it took for 58 peo­ple to be killed by guns in places all over the coun­try in 2017.

For in­stance: 58 guns deaths in Chicago in just 28 days.

In Mem­phis, Ten­nessee, it took 138 days to reach 58 deaths caused by guns.

Colum­bus, Ohio: 58 deaths in 179 days.

Louisville, Ken­tucky: 58 deaths in 177 days. You get the pic­ture. There’s al­ways a damn gun. Ev­ery­where a gun.

On Oct. 7, the New Haven Reg­is­ter re­ported, ap­prox­i­mately 150 an­gry peo­ple, in­clud­ing at least two par­ents whose kids were killed in the Sandy Hook Ele­men­tary School mas­sacre, gath­ered out­side New Haven po­lice head­quar­ters.

They lis­tened as our U.S. Sens. Richard Blu­men­thal and Chris Mur­phy and U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (all Democrats), who have been fight­ing for gun con­trol leg­is­la­tion for years, spoke again about the need for real ac­tion.

Mur­phy noted Con­necti­cut has the sec­ond-strong­est gun laws in the na­tion, some of them en­acted af­ter 20 kids and six adults were killed at that school in Sandy Hook in 2012, a cou­ple of weeks be­fore Christ­mas.

Guess what, those laws work! They save lives. Con­necti­cut now has the fifth-low­est rate of gun deaths.

But as New Haven Po­lice Chief An­thony Camp­bell said at the rally, “this city is no stranger” to gun vi­o­lence.

We have fewer homi­cides now than in past years in this city. But as the court re­porter for the New Haven Reg­is­ter, I’m still sit­ting in court­rooms lis­ten­ing to shat­ter­ing tes­ti­mony about teenagers be­ing gunned down in our streets. I have been to far too many sen­tenc­ings punc­tu­ated by the wail­ing of vic­tims’ par­ents, grand­par­ents, broth­ers and sis­ters.

There’s al­ways a damn gun. Ev­ery­where a gun.

The New­town Ac­tion Al­liance, which was formed af­ter the car­nage there, re­ports that more than 500,000 Amer­i­cans have been killed or in­jured by guns since that ter­ri­ble day in De­cem­ber 2012. The Las Ve­gas mas­sacre was the 272nd mass shoot­ing in Amer­ica this year.

The al­liance again pleaded with mem­bers of Con­gress to pass laws re­quir­ing back­ground checks for all gun sales and ban­ning as­sault weapons and high ca­pac­ity mag­a­zines.

Where is the moral lead­er­ship? Where is Pres­i­dent Trump?

He has said vir­tu­ally noth­ing about push­ing for gun con­trol laws. But he made sure he was at the NRA’s con­ven­tion last April. He as­sured its cheer­ing mem­bers: “You came through for me, and I’m go­ing to come through for you.”

The NRA’s on-line magazine, “Amer­ica’s First Free­dom,” last year called one of the rapid-fire de­vices used by the Las Ve­gas shooter “sub­lime.” Tell that to the vic­tims.

How can we be­gin to change this hor­ror show? Mur­phy said dur­ing the po­lice sta­tion rally that most peo­ple in Con­gress fear one thing: los­ing the next elec­tion. And so things won’t change un­til those politi­cians are afraid they will lose an elec­tion if they con­tinue to vote against the wishes of their con­stituents.

Those spine­less peo­ple in Con­gress need to stop spout­ing non­sense as they try to jus­tify their lack of re­sponse. Here’s what U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., told a TV re­porter as Thune sug­gested gun con­trol wouldn’t do much to curb this epi­demic of vi­o­lence: “I think peo­ple are go­ing to have to take steps in their own lives, to take pre­cau­tions, to pro­tect them­selves. And in sit­u­a­tions like that, you know, try to stay safe. As some­body said, get small.”

Get small? That’s his plan of ac­tion? Such small think­ing. Such a cow­ardly fool.

The fam­ily of slain Sandy Hook teacher Vic­to­ria Soto is­sued a state­ment af­ter the Las Ve­gas shoot­ings, with the con­clu­sion: “We don’t have to live like this.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.