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Letter: Enough is enough with American gun violence

"Who needs liberty to kill fellow citizens, including their children in elementary schools?"
smoking gun violence
" It’s just hard to understand why any country needs more guns, including lethal assault weapons and handguns, than the total number of a country’s population."

This morning when I awoke at 6:30 a.m. and reached for the TV remote before I climbed out of bed, on both CBC and CTV there was Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors basketball coach, with his emotional response to the terrible news of the shooting deaths in Texas on May 24, with 19 young elementary school children and two teachers dead, following a (so far) non-fatal shot to the 18-year-old gunman’s grandmother, before he climbed into his SUV and crashed it into the elementary school.

Every American cable news network was focused on the same story, as was the May 25 New York Times. Following a mass shooting in Buffalo the week before, enough is enough, as Steve Kerr emotionally stated, as did U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris.

Perhaps more correctly, we had already seen enough, and yesterday’s event was too much.

On May 25 I was on the road for the two-hour drive from Whistler to Vancouver for routine service to my car, and while CNN, MSNBC, CBS, PBS, etc. are available on my car’s Sirius Satellite radio, as are Canadian TV and radio media sources, I was listening to the BBC World News, and people were calling in from all over the world to BBC Headquarters in London, with comments on the sickening mass shooting event in Texas.

Clearly, one of the defining differences between Canada (as well as all other countries on this planet) and the U.S. is the issue of gun violence and mass shootings. It’s just hard to understand why any country needs more guns, including lethal assault weapons and handguns, than the total number of a country’s population. Americans—like no others—are armed to the teeth, and they are routinely surprised when driving into Canada that their lethal weapons are not allowed.

An elementary school teacher for 19 years in Australia called the BBC as I was driving and described how, after a shooting in the early 1990’s, Australians were fed up with gun violence, and almost all guns in the hands of the public were declared illegal. There hasn’t been a mass shooting in Australia since, as guns were strictly controlled by legislation, with most required to be surrendered, together with strict legislation concerning background checks, weapon types, etc. For more than two decades, Australians have not worried about sending their children to school, and schools do not require armed police onsite. It’s not rocket science, it is simply common sense in the pursuit of life, liberty, and security.

Forget the trash crap about “liberty” by the American gun lobby. Who needs liberty to kill fellow citizens, including their children in elementary schools?

With approximately 90 per cent of Americans wishing for some form of legislative restriction on guns and gun ownership, the American constitution is unique and outdated, as its 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution allowing today’s mass shootings is outrageous and no longer relevant to any supportable requirement in any civilized society, as it arguably was in the late 1700s in America when it was adopted.

Meanwhile, 50 Republican senators in Washington refuse to vote on legislation stalled for two years—legislation which would require only the mildest of gun reform legislation— simply to introduce background checks prior to selling lethal assault weapons to anyone who wants to buy one, including an 18-year-old who legally purchased guns on his birthday and then went on a shooting rampage, killing elementary school students.

Shame on these 50 Republican, Trump- supporting senators! Their non-action is simply beneath contempt.

What has happened to Ronald Regan’s description of America, the “Shining City on a Hill”?

Hardly an example that the rest of the world should follow!

When President LBJ was talking about “a kindler more gentle country,” he was looking north. He might have been looking in almost any direction—except inward.

Doug Garnett // Whistler