FROM VIEWER SHAWN F.:
I moved to the Cincinnati/northern Kentucky area from New York City, specifically the South Bronx, just about a year ago. Looking back on my nearly 20 years of life in NYC, I’d never thought of all the things that would compare favorably against this area would be the number of stories of gun violence.
Yes, we hear about it in the national media. Aurora. Newtown. Charleston. But when the same thing happens on your local news & with the frequency that we seem to witness it lately, it’s beyond troubling. Prior to moving here, my impression of this area was that it was somewhere in the middle of the country – not quite the Midwest, as it shared the same time zone as New York & not quite the south. But as I have come to find, this region is scarily stuck in its past & if it remains so, it will do so at its peril.
Put aside thoughts on the rights of gay men & women to marry, or reactions to the decisions by many municipalities & businesses to finally retire the Confederate flag due to its association with so dark & tragic a period in our history & how these things seem to have already quickly overshadowed the national debate about guns. On a local level, you can guess the conservative reaction & it’s disheartening.
I do not want to have to walk into a grocery store or a movie theater & see a sign reminding me of its weapons policy. I do not like being made to feel that I live in a war zone. I should not be able to buy a gun I can buy a basketball. When will we stop the unrestricted access to guns that makes this nation rife with gang violence, mass shootings, & hate crimes?
Our streets are bleeding. We live in a country where the gun-related homicide rate is by far the highest in the developed world, more than 4 times higher than the second-highest. Of the 644 million civilian-owned guns in the world, 42 percent belong to citizens of this country. And though protection is the rationale many gun owners cling to, statistically, those guns don’t protect their owners very well; of the 29, 618,300 violent crimes between 2007 & 2011, less than .8% of the victims protected themselves with a gun or with the threat of using one.
The simple fact is you cannot shoot someone if you do not have a gun.
How many innocent people are going to die before we put a stop to this madness?
Gun advocates will argue that people will die in car accidents too & suggest we ban automobiles. With summer vacations about to begin, I challenge them to show me a gun they can pack their family in for a family vacation? Guns have no purpose other than destruction.
We need to enact real & lasting gun control laws now. At the Federal level. We need to demand a country, a state, a county & a city where families can enjoy a picnic, go grocery shopping, or look out their living room window without witnessing a murder. Where those who believe can safely attend services in the church, mosque, synagogue of their choosing & that we can put an end to this culture of violence, aided too long by a national obsession with guns. The bloodshed, the gun lobby that enables it, & the toothless laws that allow it, compounded by our own ongoing inaction are not consistent with what we should be doing to move forward as a society. We have endured too long the horrific results of an unrestricted gun culture. It’s time to act.