GUN VIOLENCE: HOW MANY MUST DIE BEFORE WE REACH A COMPROMISE ON GUN VIOLENCE?  A solution to curb gun violence includes bipartisan legislation

 

GUN VIOLENCE: HOW MANY MUST DIE BEFORE WE REACH A COMPROMISE ON GUN VIOLENCE? 

 

FORT-LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA –  We live in a time of extreme polarization where structural factors disincentivize compromise between our two major political parties. Democrats and Republicans are deeply polarized along party lines. The ideological differences center on the role of government, which fuels disagreement on every political issue including gun violence. In the 1960’s centrist made up one-third of each political party, but the rise of divisive talk radio and partisan cable news coverage have made consensus a bad word. Elections have consequences, and sometimes they can be deadly unless we elect centrists who can come to a consensus on gun violence, more American children will continue to die while the parties squabble over ideology.

 

A deranged young man with an AK-15 marched into a high school in Florida and gunned down seventeen innocent people including 14 students and three teachers. In the aftermath, partisan politics raises its ugly head. Democrats are blaming Republicans for lack of gun control laws; Republicans, in turn, are blaming the Democrats for politicizing the issue in their favor, while others are blaming the FBI for failing to arrest the young man after notices were sent that he had made disturbing statements relating to gun violence. In the atmosphere of partisan politics, CNN is reporting this as a Republican failure to pass more gun control laws, while FOX news is reporting it as a matter of mental illness only, at least in this case. Meanwhile, the family of the victims and those affected by this tragedy are forever changed. The nightmare of losing a child to gun violence, especially at a high school where they should have been safe is indescribable.

 

Democrats have a simplistic solution: more gun control legislation, while Republicans refused to consider anything that would place reasonable restraint in the acquisition of certain weapons. The solution to gun violence requires a bipartisan consensus that considers all factors.  The evidence has shown that gun control legislations alone are not enough, but that has not stopped the Democrats from trumpeting Republican’s failure to bring out of committee, Senator Feinstein’s proposed legislation which basically would prevent anyone on the no-flying list from buying a weapon.  For someone who wants to kill innocent people, no gun control legislation would be powerful enough to stop them. They will find a way to acquire the gun.

 

In the last ten years, Americans of all ages have been the victims of gun violence in schools, universities, churches and the workplace. The perpetrators of such violence have been motivated by hate, in some instances, racial animus in the case of Emmanuel’s Church in South Carolina. Others have by politics as in the case in Santa Barbara, California. Yet others have struggled with mental illnesses that led them to commit such heinous crimes as in the present case.

 

Unfortunately, we can neither legislate racial animus, prejudice and or bias out of people nor can we prevent anyone from espousing political ideologies that call for the killing of innocent people.  What we can do is provide mechanisms to detect those with mental issues early enough to provide them with the necessary help before they act out. In the case of the gentleman in Florida, many are blaming the FBI for dropping the ball arguing that the young man should have been brought in for questioning and perhaps during questioning the FBI could have discovered that he needed help. Blaming the FBI will not resuscitate the seventeen victims. The FBI did what was legally allowed under the circumstances.

 

A solution to curb gun violence includes bipartisan legislation that would:

(1) put some restraints on gun purchases, requiring the purchaser to submit a form from a doctor that they have no mental illness;

(2) make it easy to refer to mental health providers;

(3) provide resources to rebuild our mental health system which has been decimated by neglect and lack of funding;

(4) tighten criminal liabilities for straw buyers of guns;

(5) allow law enforcement (local police and the FBI) with the ability to detain and question those with the potential to commit such crimes based on some predetermined factors.

 

The young man from Florida gave us many clues from his online postings and YouTube videos that he was the kind of person who could eventually commit such crime and we failed to catch him before it was too late.

 

In the atmosphere of political division and partisanship, it is difficult to get consensus on anything, even things that could help our country. If the Democrats are for something, the Republicans must be against it, regardless of the merit of the idea and vice-versa. We have become two countries within a country and that division, that failure to see a common destiny a common goal will at the end have unbearable costs unless we find within ourselves the moderation to agree to disagree and yet do the right thing for the people of the United States. We need a new generation of politicians who can swear allegiance to the country instead of political parties. We need more politicians like Arizona Senator John McCain, who always put country ahead of party, as it should be.

 

In a matter of nine months, there will be midterm elections in the United States, and I hope that the American people would realize how destructive our brand of politics has been and would decide to elect moderates, people who can work along party lines for the common good instead of for special interests.

Omega Staff Writers

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