When a gunman with a weapon of war burst into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and shot dead 20 young children and six adults, many thought our nation might finally come to its senses about gun violence.
But no. Here we are, a decade later, and cold-blooded gunslingers continue to rush into cherished places of safety, killing and maiming as many people as they can.
Nobody can go to school, to church, to work, to a concert, to a party, to a park or to the cinema without fear of being suddenly attacked by a butcher with deadly weapons.
This ruthless state of affairs was highlighted by The Sun-Times’ Tina Sfondeles, who reported that the attorneys who helped strike down New York’s concealed carry law are now questioning Illinois’ new and sensible restrictions on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines are filing a lawsuit affiliated with the National Rifle Association. The Illinois State Rifle Association has filed a federal lawsuit of its own and others have been filed in state courts.
These callous attacks on Illinois’ new law come as 18 people were killed in the California communities of Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay this week. Just as a South Shore mother and her daughter were killed in a shooting Monday afternoon that left three others injured. Just as 12 people were injured in a mass shooting in a lounge in Baton Rouge on Monday.
Is there any doubt that going to court to overturn gun laws to protect people will result in more needless deaths?
Why can’t we live in a society where you can watch your loved ones walk out the door and not worry that a bullet will end your life before you see them again?
Why can’t we enjoy a meal at a restaurant and not worry that someone in riot gear might start shooting up the place?
What can’t we do to walk the streets of Chicago, sit on a porch, or host a kid’s birthday party without risking getting a stray bullet from someone firing a gun? Just last weekend, seven people were killed and 26 others injured by gunfire in Chicago. On Monday, two others were killed and five others injured. If gun deaths and injuries were not so common, people would be shocked and amazed at such grim news.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, 2,937 people have been killed by guns this year as of Wednesday. There were 40 mass shootings.
Why do we sit around while the law is twisted to give gunmen the right to kill us? Why, as Americans with cherished ideals that are the envy of the world, must we allow the forces of gun violence to view us only as potential fodder for their guns?
Don’t our lives and our health mean more than that? Don’t some lawmakers, Supreme Court justices and gun manufacturers see how the underregulated arsenal of firearms is wearing down lives in the hands of those willing to use them?
America now has more guns than people. Did that keep us safe? Or are people dying every day?
Let’s hope the courts finally come to their senses. When attorneys emerge to make obscure legal arguments inviting death, agony, and lifelong pain for loved ones left behind, we hope the courts will start to say, no, that’s not what America is about. Let’s hope lawmakers at all levels look for sane new laws that will continue to make it harder for people to shoot at others with guns.
The flowers on countless improvised memorials have long since withered and gone, and the lost voices they remembered call out to us. Maybe we haven’t come to our senses as a post-Sandy Hook nation. But there’s no reason why we can’t do it now.
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