End the Blood Sport
At the time of this writing, important considerations/deliberations are occurring at the nation’s capitol addressing gun violence and the January 6 insurrection. The challenge to both efforts providing a meaningful benefit to the nation is the recalcitrance of many Republican lawmakers.
On the first issue: I believe, like most of the nation’s and Bandera County’s citizens, that it is reasonable to more tightly control firearm access -especially those weapons that are comparable to military style armaments.
According to gunviolencearchive.org, the gun violence situation is daunting. Here are some data through June 11, 2022:
Gun violence deaths from all causes: 19,614 (suicide amount is 10,824, the balance consists of murder/homicide and unintentional deaths)
Mass shootings: 267 incidents
Mass murders: 14 incidents
Number of children age 0-14: 162 killed; 336 injured
Number of teens age 12-17: 582 killed; 1,539 injured
I find these numbers for less than 1/2 of the year more than sobering. They are truly upsetting. When you add the trauma of family, friends, acquaintances, and others present at one of these violent scenes, the number of those affected is huge.
A first impression is that this seems akin to wartime numbers - but it is even more so. Consider that just over 7,000 U.S. service members have died in the post 9-11 war zones of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere according to the Watson Institute at Brown University. This is obviously over a much longer period than 1/2 of a year.
Is this not a matter where Republicans and Democrats politicians can agree to do something serious about? One would think so but so far it looks like the politicians will permit the ability of serious weaponry to be acquired by 18 year olds - an age earlier than they can buy an alcoholic beverage. We need to expect better from those we elect to represent (and protect) our interests.
A lukewarm law may get at some causes of this epidemic of gun violence but I think law abiding citizens of this country can tolerate a more stringent access to heavy weaponry. I fear we will not see real benefits from a tepid approach - which is what many Republican lawmakers prefer.
Recall that former President Trump tweeted the following in February, 2018 after the Parkland mass killing: “I will be strongly pushing Comprehensive Background Checks with an emphasis on Mental Health. Raise age to 21 and end sale of Bump Stocks! Congress is in a mood to finally do something on this issue – I hope!” Well, you know the result.
The other issue currently on the table is the January 6 insurrection. This again brings forward the issue of recalcitrant Republican politicians who mostly did not think the storming of the nation’s capitol is worth even seriously investigating. This is hard to fathom. So far, the January 6 committee has presented high level people that worked with and for former president Trump and provided him with the fact time and time again that the election was legitimately won by President Biden.
It is understandable that those that thought Trump was telling the truth about a stolen election to be upset. The fact is that Trump has lied repeatedly about a “stolen election” and the committee is providing the evidence. One would think such evidence would change minds. I am pessimistic about that possibility.
The reason for my pessimism is that our politics have become akin to a blood sport with a fervor approaching religious conviction. Indeed, this blood sport has drawn real blood. I believe this will only change if we all believe that, aside from differing political ideas, people of all political stripes want this country to be fair, just, and safe for each and every one of us - and that we all desire a functioning democracy.
Can we end the “blood sport”?
Laurence Doxsey, Retired, Former Director of Office of Sustainability for City of San Antonio, former Environmental Officer for US Department of Housing and Urban Development, former Sustainability Officer for City of Austin, resides outside Medina.