Jim Konrad: It is time America discussed gun control
GateHouse News ServiceIn 2009, an ill-fitting floor mat in some Toyota vehicles trapped accelerator pedals, causing a fatal accident, the recall of 3.8 million vehicles, government investigations, constant news reports and the loss of Toyota’s sterling reputation.
Four people were killed in that crash.
Last year, when storms hit Connecticut and hundreds of thousands were without power, citizens’ anger grew.
Few were in peril, only inconvenienced. But from the governor on down, the cry to make sure “this never happens again” echoed throughout the state.
On July 20, 12 people were killed in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., shot by one guy legally weaponized to the hilt.
Those 12, by the way, are a statistical blip. On average, 87 people per day die from gunshot wounds in the U.S.
Where is the outrage?
The need, desire and demand to make us safer happens all the time. That’s why we have seat-belts, children’s car seats, hands-free phone laws and speed limits. Children now wear pajamas that can’t burst into flames.
Our quest to improve society intensifies after horrible events. The response to 9/11 was swift, as was the response to Hurricane Katrina, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Penn State abuse, pedophile priests and more. Each time, we’ve tried to make sure it never happens again.
But after Aurora, we’re told that talking about gun control is “politicizing” it. In short, shut up.
Meanwhile, every day, gun deaths equivalent to a commercial plane crash, happen and we don’t — can’t — question the need in modern society for assault weapons and body armor. Every year, we rack up the equivalent body count of three 9/11s, and we still can’t talk about stricter licensing and gun purchasing rules, and whether your personal arsenal is really any match against the government. (It isn’t.)
You can’t buy too much fertilizer (you could make a bomb) or cough medicine (you could make meth). We have to take shoes off at airports. We’re stopped at seat-belt and DUI checkpoints. You can’t smoke indoors.
But you can buy 6,000 bullets, body armor and three guns in a few months and nobody is allowed to know, never mind ask why.
We rage against bad floor mats and taking cold showers during power outages, but we’re mute and muzzled when people are gunned down at work, at college or a movie theater. It’s pathetic.
It’s time to start talking about guns, before the shooting starts again — because it already has.
Jim Konrad is executive editor of The Bulletin in Norwich, Conn.