In the spring of 1999, my relationship was getting serious. My new love and I went on vacation together, to Hawaii. We were there April 20, 1999, when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold opened fire at Columbine High School, killing 13 before committing suicide.
Twenty years later, the woman with whom I watched the Columbine tragedy unfold from Hawaii is my wife. We have two elementary school-aged children. I hugged them tight when they came home, hours after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
The high-school wasn’t fully evacuated before the battle lines began to form. It’s fascinating how some people just know what other people do and — don’t "need."
On social media, many posts unequivocally stated," Nobody needs an AR-15." I lived in Los Angeles during the 1992 riots and worked in "Korea Town."
Business owners there might disagree with those posts.
The difference between the businesses and buildings that were looted or burnt and the ones unharmed were owners on rooftops with semi-automatic weapons.
I’m not your stereotypical gun advocate. I’ve never owned a gun or been an NRA member. I fired a gun once. I was 12. My uncle, a gun collector, took us to a junkyard to shoot bottles. Eventually, we shot, and killed, a rat (Sorry, PETA).
The sight made me sick to my stomach. I have never touched a gun again.
Forgetting the Second Amendment, for the moment, I’m persuadable on the subject of gun control. Too many people die from gun violence. Theoretically, I would support some regulations if they were proven effective. Statistics from other countries are not persuasive. The history and culture of the U.S. are unique. We don’t aspire to be another country.
It was disappointing seeing "thoughts and prayers" to the victims and Parkland community rudely rejected in favor of knee-jerk calls for gun control or bans.
Murder is pretty much illegal. In most states, murderers end up on death-row. People who don’t care about laws against murder, or carrying guns into schools, etc. will also break gun laws.
The desire to "do something," leads some to conclude the government ought to ban, or exert more control over, some or all guns. The government has a poor record banning and controlling bad behavior.
Since Richard Nixon declared a war on drugs in 1971 governments (federal and state) have spent over $1 trillion (Office of National Drug Control Policy — ONDCP, estimates) trying to stop illegal drugs. How’s that working out?
In an honest attempt to cure societal ills, Prohibition became the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, effective January 1920. Prohibition banned the production, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages. Law-abiding citizens didn’t drink during Prohibition, but the law didn’t stop anybody who wanted to drink alcohol.
Prohibition had ugly unintended consequences. Making, moving, and selling alcoholic beverages became a large-scale criminal enterprise. Organized crime prospered as a shocked public learned about events such as Chicago’s 1929 St. Valentines’ Day Massacre.
Prohibition was a systemic failure, consistently losing supporters until its repeal in 1933.
Congress enacted a well-intended 10-year "prohibition" on assault-weapons in 1994. The law banned 18 specific weapons including the AR-15 used in the Parkland shooting. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), however, concluded the ban didn’t have much impact.
Its fantasy to think criminals will stop obtaining and using guns. Instead, focusing on mental health issues, using tips to prevent people from committing heinous crimes beforehand, and increasing campus security will make schools safer.
Law enforcement must treat school shootings as seriously as terrorism. Faculty and students identified the shooter as troubled and likely to commit a heinous crime. He was not allowed on campus with a backpack.
One year ago, using his real name, he bought the weapon. Last fall the FBI was tipped-off about a YouTube comment mentioning becoming "a professional school shooter." The account was under the shooter’s real name. Yet, the FBI could not identify the person. In January, the FBI failed to investigate a specific report that the shooter was planning a school massacre.
This is another tragedy of which the FBI had prior information. In light of everything coming out, the organization appears closer to the Keystone Cops than the ideal top law enforcement agency.
Be careful before willfully shredding the Bill of Rights. Laws don’t stop evil people from committing horrible acts. Prohibitions never work. More gun laws will make some people feel better, but won’t prevent shootings. Gun control is other peoples "thoughts and prayers." Maybe it helps. Perhaps it’s a placebo.
Andy Bloom is a former communications director for Rep. Michael R. Turner, R-Ohio, and as operations manager oversaw content for Talk Radio 1210 WPHT, and Sports Radio 94 WIP, Philadelphia for eight years. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.p>
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