Kevin C Shinn

Kevin C Shinn

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Gun Violence

I had a parent message me to say that her daughters had told her that if there was ever a shooting in our school like there was in Florida, they hoped that they would be near me because they knew I would do everything I could to protect them. At first, I had a great sense of pride and honor that they trusted me so much. Then, reality set in and I had a wave of sadness wash over me that our kids and grandkids were having to even think about such things. I don't want my granddaughters to worry a moment about some nut with a gun coming into their school. Unfortunately, this is the reality of our nation today. It must change.

I am a gun owner. I am not a hunter but I own weapons for two reasons: protection and just because I like shooting them. I consider my weapons as tools. Nothing more and nothing less.

When it comes to the issue of gun violence, as with many issues in our country, the loudest voices are from the looney right-wing gun owners who believe any restrictions on who can own weapons or how they can be used is a step closer to our citizens losing their individual freedoms. Meanwhile, left-wing zealots have staked out the position that guns are THE problem and feel that if we could just get rid of them, our world would be safe. It makes for great political drama but results in terrible public policy. Policies that allow the routine massacre of innocent men, women and children to take place across our nation.

As I said, I believe weapons are simply tools. Whether for protection, sport or to get food for the family, there are legitimate purposes for their use. That said, if any other tool we used in America was responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of our citizens annually, the outrage would have forced immediate changes in design and usage. But when it comes to guns, all we can do is dig deeper into our entrenched positions and attack the other side for being out of touch with reality and in the meantime, thousands and thousands of our citizens will continue to lose their lives needlessly or will be horribly maimed and emotionally scarred.

Enough is enough. It is time that we treat this as a public health hazard and bring together the nation's experts to determine how we can stop this destructive cycle of violence. As they would say on Dragnet, just the facts should be used to determine the policies necessary to save lives and reduce carnage. Rhetoric and propaganda should have no role at the table for those searching for viable solutions.

Until we as a nation demand our elected leaders take such a position, the Grim Reaper will keep working overtime and innocent lives will pay the heavy price for policies based on ignorance and inaction.

We can do better.

We must do better.

Elections have consequences.