Tired of the arguments against gun control

Tired of the arguments against gun control

I had a different post written for today, but a personal focus felt crass after a week when 19 innocent fourth graders were gunned down in their classroom in Uvalde, Texas. That came 10 days after 10 African Americans were shot in a Buffalo grocery store. In both cases, the gunman was an 18-year-old male.

Closer to home, fear of gun violence, not new to people on the South and West Sides, has spread throughout Chicago like a metastasizing cancer. No place feels safe today. Downtown, where I live, has seen a surge in shootings this year, including highly publicized homicides near the Bean and a Red Line station. I used to walk home from Millennium Park or the Goodman Theatre on warm evenings. Now I’m nervous walking the block from the bus stop.

I don’t have anything to say that hasn’t been said elsewhere, but I need to express outrage and frustration.

I don’t understand how our politicians can continue to let this happen, how a minority beholden to the National Rifle Association can overrule the desire of the great majority of Americans for stricter gun regulations.

I’m tired of hearing about Second Amendment rights, as if the drafters of the Constitution 235 years ago could foresee military assault weapons being brought into classrooms, places of worship, concerts, nightclubs, and supermarkets.

I’m tired of hearing the “thoughts and prayers” cliché after a slaughter, as if it is enough.

“Guns don’t kill, people do,” we hear, and more attention to mental health is proposed. Although New York State has a red flag law, and his school had reported him, the shooter in Buffalo was still able to buy two rifles. Mentally ill people can’t kill with guns they can’t get. 

Gun control doesn’t work, we hear. It works elsewhere. We’re the only developed country in the world with such carnage from gun violence. Countries that tightened their gun laws, such as the UK and Australia, reduced their rates of gun-related deaths, including mass shootings. 

Chicago has strict gun regulations, and they haven’t solved the problem, we hear. Guns are brought from Indiana and other states that are lax about firearms. We need national solutions.

The NRA and Republicans propose “hardening schools” with extra security measures. The Uvalde school district has its own police, classroom door locks, and other security safeguards. The shooter still got in. Nineteen police officers stood for almost an hour in the hallway on the other side of the door from the shooter. A school officer hid during the 2018 shooting in Parkland, Florida, that massacred 17 people.  

The NRA and Republicans propose more gun ownership for self-defense. According to researchers, people rarely use guns in self-defense. Yet Americans continue to arm themselves out of fear — more than 5 million Americans bought their first guns in the last two years — and our firearm homicide rate goes up. 

Ten years ago, 20 elementary school children and six adults were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Since then, there have been almost 1,000 school shootings among 3,500 mass shootings in the United States, and Congress has not passed one piece of gun legislation.

What can we ordinary people do? All I can think of is to stop electing representatives who take money from the NRA (see a list). The NRA overwhelming supports Republicans, so Chicagoans will need to help defeat candidates in other states.

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Marianne Goss

A retired university publications editor and journalist, I live in the South Loop and volunteer as a Chicago Greeter. Getting the most out of retired life in the big city will be a recurrent theme of this blog, but I consider any topic fair game because the perspective will be that of a retiree.

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How do you reconcile that guns have existed in American society since its founding? Indeed, without guns, there would have…
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In reply to Al Hip:
Thanks, Al, but I’d need to be able to swim more than one lap first. 🙂
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You can swim at the Hilton. My wife does and Beth Finke goes there too. They’re friendly. Avoid holiday weekends.
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Sounds as if you could start teaching swimming!
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This is inspiring, Marianne. Thank you for sharing your progress, and congratulations. I understand that swimming produces less wear on…
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