Brodie Farquhar: Stop the madness
October 2, 2017
Like most people, I woke up this morning to news of the mass shooting in Las Vegas. Fifty-plus dead and 400-plus wounded as a madman hosed a 22,000 outdoor concert audience with military-grade weaponry – 10 rifles from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel across the street.
The shooter killed himself, so we’re waiting for the investigation to uncover his motivation, where he obtained the weapons and ammo.
So what do we do now? Just accept this as part of the new "normal”?
Dunno about you, but I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.
This nightmare could not have been envisioned by our Founding Fathers as they authored the Constitution and Second Amendment. Back then, we had single-shot muzzle loader rifles and pistols, that we used in the French and Indian, Revolution, War of 1812, Civil War and Indian wars.
We’ve always been surrounded by guns owned by individuals, but the Second Amendment’s reference to "a well-regulated militia" was crafted to create an armed, civilian-based militia to respond swiftly to slave revolts, Indian attacks or foreign military invasions. It was not crafted with anyone ever imagining the sheer firepower that would evolve from the Gantling gun to machine guns in the world wars and on to today’s semi- and full-automatic weapons with clips and drums.
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For the courts to rule and the National Rifle Association to assert that we all have a Constitutional right to possess this kind of firepower is madness.
Got a hunting rifle? Keep it. Got a shotgun for bird hunting? Keep it. Got a pistol or Glock for target practice or self defense? Keep em.
But arms that involve large clips or drums, where semi-autos are absurdly easy to modify to full-auto, they gotta go. There is no conceivable rationale or excuse for these weapons of mass murder. What’s next? Grenade launchers? Bazookas? Flame throwers? How ’bout a privately-owned and fully-loaded gunship? Absurd? Not to wacko elements of the NRA who don’t believe in ANY limits.
Our country has 325 million people and over 300 million guns. Think about that.
We can change. Australia proves that.
In 1996, a lone gunman rampaged through a beach cafe in Tasmania, killing 35 people. A conservative government quickly acted to buy back or confiscate over a million semi-auto or pump firearms and make it harder to buy new ones.
Since then, there has been no mass shootings in Australia. None. Zip. Nada. There are still plenty of rifles, shotguns and pistols in Australia, but killings by a gun have dropped dramatically, from triple digits to double digits per year.
Yet if you listen to the NRA or InfoWars or their Republican allies, Australia should by now be a self-defenseless hell hole. It is not and never will be.
The empty platitudes about prayer and unity from Trump this morning will not lessen the carnage. Actions speak louder than words. I am not sanguine that Trump, the GOP-controlled Congress or the conservative majority in the Supreme Court will take meaningful action to decrease the sheer firepower now awash over our land.
It is up to us.