The CNN article by Doug Criss said it well! "Not again." The fourth school shooting this year, in the "safest city in Florida." Another article in the New York Times said, "These kids lived in a nation that didn't love them enough to protect them." We at Boothe Global Perspectives wrote an article three years ago, and then another, later article, suggesting that purchases of guns must be efficiently recorded into a central data base, and that no mentally ill person should be allowed to purchase deadly weapons, especially automatic assault weapons." At that time we had so many hate letters from a spectrum of our society that it amazed even us. One bank president from Texas wrote that, "We encourage all of our bank officers to have automatic weapons to protect us from the government!" Another wrote challenging me to a fight. Another wrote with so many obscenities we will not quote them.
We again say that the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, makes us face the truth. Which do we love the most? Our kids or our guns?
We must ask those Republicans who have staunchly voted against measures to deal with this (who by the way are very silent), "Do you love gun companies and assault weapons more than you love our children?" The United States has more weapons in private ownership than any nation on earth, and we still see again and again, kids that are emotionally upset, not yet mature, killing other children. It is understandable perhaps that sleazy criminal adults have guns and use them. We have a home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and not a day goes by without a shooting, murder, armed robbery or car-jacking to the level that the crime rate in Albuquerque exceeds even that of Chicago.
As a child, I was a member of the National Rifle Association, and my father proudly taught me to hunt, to enjoy nature, and "to leave it as if you had never been there." But as a decorated Marine of WWII, he staunchly considered the ownership of guns a matter of deep responsibility. If he ever saw me as much as load a weapon while in our home, or accidentally point a gun (loaded or not) in the direction of a human, he scolded and raised his voice, until I "got it." But, at some point in my life, as much as I loved the hunt, I began to hear other hunters bragging about their machine guns. Later, when I met Bill Ruger, whose family founded the Ruger Gun Company, in New Hampshire, I got a new perspective.
He made a speech and publicly expressed that, "No hunter needs an automatic assault weapon to shoot a deer." He said a good hunter needed only one shot, and his company sold and still sells a beautiful gun, that is a single-shot deer rifle. He told me, "I got so much hate mail from so many 'gun crazies' in Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia that it disheartened me. I determined to sell my shares in our family company and just get out of the business." Now he is a Republican from a noted family that has made some great guns in America for decades. And even he was distressed by the new radical gun culture that has arisen in the USA. Mr. Ruger has since sold his interest in the Ruger gun company.
There is a little gun shop in Clovis, New Mexico, that I used to drop by when I drove through. I still love to look for unusual or antique guns. I will never forget one day when the owner told me that he had sold more guns preaching the gospel that "Obama will take your guns away" than he ever dreamed of. Then when Trump was elected, many gun businesses found that they had ordered huge inventories of guns in anticipation that Hillary Clinton would be elected, and that they could still profit from the same type of scare tactics. But Trump's election left many in that industry over stocked because of the surprise election results.
The fact is that neither Bill Clinton nor George W. Bush nor Obama, Hillary or Trump ever said they would take people's guns away. But they, and millions of others like us at Boothe Global Perspectives, have repeatedly called for stricter records of who buys and owns guns and very strict restrictions on criminals, the mentally ill, and violent people being able to purchase guns so easily. There is also the huge issue of gun sales at gun shows. It is documented that criminals and gun profiteers have for years purchased guns at U.S. guns shows for political radicals, extremist groups and criminal groups because many gun shows do not report, record or restrict gun purchases whatsoever.
It broke my heart to hear a Florida School teacher interviewed on television. She said, "Every time this happens we are told not to make an issue of it, now is not the time. We weep and we pray, but it does no good because nothing in America happens." I think of the politicians who lack the courage or character to not accept the big donations and political support from the NRA and other groups supported by the "gun crazies" and gun manufacturers.
I read a report recently that said in some cities, such as Houston, Albuquerque and Lubbock that eight out of 10 cars on the freeway has a weapon in it. Surely that cannot be true. Yet look at the gun deaths, the highway shootings, and again look at some states that now even allow college kids to carry loaded weapons on college campuses. Amazing.
Senator Chris Murphy made this speech from the Senate floor at the time of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary massacre:
"This epidemic of mass slaughter, this scourge of school shooting after school shooting, it only happens here not because of coincidence, not because of bad luck, but as a consequence of our inaction. We are responsible for a level of mass atrocity that happens in this country with zero parallel anywhere else."
Again, we call for elected officials with character and courage to:
1. Enact laws implementing more detailed records of who purchases and owns guns.
2. Enact laws more strictly prohibiting purchase or ownership of guns by mentally ill, troubled, violent, criminal individuals.
3. While cherishing the traditional rights of most Americans to own guns for hunting, to eliminate or more strictly control assault weapons, automatic weapons built for warfare and not for hunting, and to encourage more and more education for gun ownership and hunting. Why should a teenager have access to a semi-automatic AK47 easily converted to a fully automatic weapon with a banana clip for 40 rounds in his dad's closet? If there is a reason for that person to have a potential "machine" gun, it should be regulated or recorded.
If you wish to howl or curse or object, do so to your elected officials. Do it for the parents of the over 30 kids killed or wounded in Florida this week.