Dear President Biden,
America has a public health crisis. This is called mass shooting.
It’s time for you to act.
Last week’s bloodbath is no longer shocking. Mass shootings are now a deafening, bang-bang-bang echo of a problem that’s been around for far too long.
In recent days, a Walmart, a gay nightclub and a college bus returning from a field trip were killed. But this bloodshed is not just a reminder of what we have suffered; It’s definitely a harbinger of things to come.
America knows this. so do you.
In the coming month, America will mark the 10th anniversary of the death of 20 first-graders and six adult staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. It was a terrifying moment. I know. I went there and wrote about it.
Surely, as this anniversary approaches, the television news will be filled with videos of Memorial services. Various political leaders – you included – will make heartfelt statements. In tearful interviews the parents of the children will narrate their pain. Hollow messages of “thoughts and prayers” will go around.
And then, just as swiftly, it’s over — as if our country would just switch emotional channels, go to the equivalent of a commercial break, and move on. Nothing will change except that another mass shooting is likely to happen soon. Then, the cycle of memorials, statements, TV coverage and prayers would be repeated again.
you know the drill. Everyone does America is trapped. The world’s most powerful nation is captive to a lifestyle that allows many troubled young men – yes, most are young, male and emotionally unbalanced – to prey on innocent people with firearms designed for police and soldiers. To remove your distortion.
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we should call it a crisis
Something has to be done to break this unsightly, bloody pattern. That’s why I am appealing to you.
Declare a public health emergency.
Yes, it seems like a big step. Veterans of Fox News, spineless MAGA gangs and so-called suburban commandos who believe they should be allowed to carry guns in public will fit their expected rhetoric with the corrupt National Rifle Association. So what?
It’s time to do something bold like Lincoln, FDR and Reagan did. This is your moment to step into history. If you do not face this crisis now, how can you think of contesting again in 2024?
Simply put: The fear of being murdered has become the new normal in America. He is not healthy.
Dozens of US congressional representatives are now wearing bulletproof vests in public. Schools now regularly conduct “mass shooter drills”. Synagogues and churches now only employ armed guards to watch the front doors. Same is the case with retail shops. And let’s not forget some of the poorest sections of our cities where the sound of a gun is the sound of the street. Children are now being shot by stray bullets.
This should not happen in a nation that was founded on “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.
A fundamental problem is the mental health of murderers. Both sides of the nation’s debate on firearms agree on this. America’s health care apparatus is very good at healing broken legs and repairing damaged brains and hearts. But our system of monitoring mental health and mending broken souls lags far behind.
We need to fix this – no doubt about it. But that problem is too complex to solve now or to fix with short-term government Band Aids. The nation needs to make some political effort and set priorities to solve this health crisis. First stop the bleeding. Then tackle deeper issues like mental health.
Just before Thanksgiving, the Gun Violence Archive, a non-partisan clearinghouse based in Washington, DC, reported that there had been 607 mass shootings in the US so far in 2022.
The compendium defines a mass shooting as any gun incident in which up to four people, excluding the shooter, are shot. Not everyone is killed in many of these incidents – which is why these incidents are not regularly reported. In other words, shootings are now so common that our news media don’t report them until the death toll is significant.
The good news is that the 2022 count by the Archive is only slightly behind the record-setting pace of 2021 when there were 690 mass shootings. The bad news is that this year’s tally is the second highest in US history. And, in case you missed it, the motion averages more than one massive shoot a day.
Doesn’t this define a public health crisis?
Police say a major factor in mass shootings is the military-style, semi-automatic guns that are now killers’ weapons of choice. The old days when America’s so-called “sportsmen” went hunting with bolt action rifles and an occasional shotgun are ancient history. Today, the big sellers in gun stores are semi-automatic rifles and pistols that were designed for American soldiers and police. Gun makers are also making semi-automatic military rifles for women that have shorter stocks and are painted in a variety of colors, such as pink. The female market is considered ripe for gun profits.
Meanwhile, America is already littered with semi-automatic guns.
Thanks to the National Rifle Association and its sycophants, these types of guns have been brazenly marketed to civilians, often through advertising that appeals to turn some people’s lives into a war game or a James Bond tale where We work with guns shouldered. Holsters or specially designed purses. Studying these ads in gun magazines is downright scary — and yet another reminder of the health crisis.
A lobbying group for gun makers estimates that 20 million military-style assault rifles are now in civilian hands. The number of semi automatic pistols is much higher. Most of these gun owners are certainly law abiding people. But facts are facts: These types of guns are far, far too often used in mass shootings. In a health crisis, the nation needs to face it.
These types of guns fire smoothly and hold magazines containing enough bullets to wipe out an orbit without reloading. It’s no wonder that mass murderers love these guns, whether it’s a gang murder in the Bronx or murders at a gay nightclub in Colorado.
Banning the sale of semi-automatic handguns and rifles is less likely. Congress will not vote for such necessary legislation. And even if it did, there’s still a big question as to whether the US Supreme Court would uphold such a law in light of its out-of-touch interpretation of the grammatically confusing Second Amendment, which prohibits single-shot muskets. It was written in the era of ,
Meanwhile, a special presidential order temporarily banning the sale of these guns will result in multiple court challenges, leading to — you guessed it — the Supreme Court.
Four executive orders could make a difference
So, here are four presidential orders you can issue today that can help.
First, ban the sale of body armor. From the killing of 10 people at a Buffalo grocery last May to the recent killing of five patrons at a gay nightclub in Colorado, shooters wore body armor. At Buffalo’s Topps grocery, the killer’s body armor was strong enough to stop a gunshot from a retired police officer working as a security guard. The assassin retorted and killed the guard.
The point here should be clear and simple: who needs body armor – except for police and soldiers? There’s no reason to have civilians.
Second, ban the sale of all devices that allow anyone with a screwdriver and wrench to convert a semi-automatic, military-style rifle into a machine gun. Such devices, which are regularly sold on the Internet, helped a mass murderer in Las Vegas fire more than 1,000 bullets into a crowd at a country music festival in 2017. The death toll in that shooting set a record – 60 people were killed and 413 were injured.
Those numbers alone should have been enough to tell us the gravity of our national health crisis.
Third, the imposition of national restrictions on the size of magazines for semi-automatic firearms. This columnist suggests a limit of only six bullets per magazine. Critics in the gun lobby reacted as if I were suggesting that we ban freedom of speech.
Some states, such as New Jersey, whose gun laws are considered tougher, limit magazines to 10 rounds. But these state-by-state regulations are useless when murderers can easily move to another state and buy up big magazines.
America needs a national ban.
Fourth, limit and track ammunition sales nationwide. Here in New Jersey, a gun store is advertising a special sale of 1,000 boxes of bullets, just in time for the holidays. I shoot semi-automatic handguns and rifles, and it is easy to fire 1,000 bullets – very easy, in fact.
But is it insane to allow almost anyone to buy so many bullets in one trip to the gun store as America faces a mass shooting crisis? Why not only ban bulk sales but also keep track of who is buying ammo? If we can electronically monitor trips across the George Washington Bridge, why can’t we track bullets? As I’ve long argued, guns don’t kill people; Do pills.
These are just four possible solutions—all made possible by presidential order.
I am aware of the political risks here. A decade earlier, as he neared the end of his second term, former President Barack Obama was urged by a variety of gun control supporters, including many from New Jersey, to sign similar presidential orders. To do – or at least push for stronger gun laws in Congress. Obama hesitated for fear that he might stir up a political hornet’s nest of gun rights advocates and, therefore, influence the 2016 presidential election.
Well, we know what happened in the 2016 presidential election. And we know how the gun health crisis has worsened during the past six years.
The cycle of death now seems pretty permanent—perhaps a death spiral for America’s sense of personal peace in everyday life.
Nearly half a century ago, on the Sunday morning after yet another Thanksgiving holiday, my phone rang. One of my editors was on the line with the news that a young man had returned home from college and murdered his mother, father and two younger brothers while they were sleeping in their home in Montvale, New Jersey. I stepped out the door of my apartment and was one of the first reporters on the scene at the blood-soaked scene of what seemed like a normal, peaceful suburban home.
The killer, Harry De La Roche, was just 18 years old, an unhappy freshman at The Citadel in South Carolina. He is now 64 and is still in a New Jersey prison. He is repeatedly denied release because the parole board says he is unable to cope with what he did.
The truth is that de la Roche was very upset. Like so many troubled youths, he took his frustrations out on innocent people with a gun that was very easy to find in his house.
We’ve just passed another Thanksgiving, with more mass murders to mourn.
This needs to be stopped.
Mike Kelly is an award-winning columnist for NorthJersey.com as well as the author of three critically acclaimed non-fiction books and a podcast and documentary filmmaker. To receive unlimited access to his insightful thoughts on how we live life in New Jersey, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.
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