Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Albuquerque family massacre…just one more begging reason for stricter gun control

Gun bubbas masculinity
It happened on Jan. 19, a Sat. night, in the home of the Griego family living in a suburb of Albuquerque.  Nehemiah Griego, 15 years old, was charged with the murder of two adults and three children.  The killing of the children was described as “child abuse resulting in death.”  Authorities should define their meaning of “abuse” because there are several interpretations of what this could represent.  Several guns were found at the shooting, one an assault rifle that police said was used in the killings.  One described the weapon as an AR-15, also used by Adam Lanza in Newtown and James Holmes in Aurora.

Here we go again.  How many more mass killings will it take to convince a Congress and the general public that strict gun control is needed now?  A majority of Americans support most gun measures but are skeptical on some.  It’s 51% vs. 45% for more gun control over protecting gun rights.  It’s 52% to 35% for favoring some forms of gun control in a Pew Research poll.  But the country as a whole is still divided at about 50-50 on gun control, according to CNN Senior Political Analyst and National Journal Group's Editorial Director Ron Brownstein.  Naturally, Democrats are in favor of, Republicans against.

In more support figures, 85% to 90% want background checks for everyone, even private sales at gun shows.  80% want more laws to stop the mentally ill from getting a gun and an overall majority wants the feds to create a database to track gun sales, a ban on assault style weapons, high capacity magazine clips and online ammunition sales.  But there is a significant difference between Democrats and Republicans.  As an example, on banning semi-automatic weapons, two-thirds of women support the ban; the men are divided. 

With 44% of the public having an unfavorable view of the National Rifle Assn. (NRA), only 36% favorable, you would think that this would give Congress yet another reason to vote for more gun control.  But there is an obvious reason why they do not.  Two reasons actually, both based on money.  First, the money that will be used against them for voting for gun control.  Second, the contributions they will lose to their next political campaign.  This is in itself a glaring example of why we should have term limits.  Another 38% say the NRA has “too much influence.”  That is the understatement of the century.

The Huff Post laments that the day before president Obama laid out his plans for gun control:

  • A student with mental illness and a violent past shot a downtown St. Louis business official yesterday after he lost his financial aid, before shooting himself, according to authorities.

  • A gunman firing into a parked car at a Kentucky Community College killed a man and woman sitting inside and wounded a girl who was with them. Police suspect it was a domestic dispute, although they haven't made an arrest.

  • A dramatic increase in gun violence in Baltimore so far this year continued with three shootings, including the killing of a 17-year-old girl in an alley. No one was arrested.

A typical day includes 30 gun-related murders and 162 wounded by firearms in this country.  Another 53 commit suicide with a firearm every day.  That breaks down to three people killed by a gun every hour and around 60 people shot during the same time period. The FBI reports that a violent crime occurs every 25.3 seconds.  And I’ve reported these figures before, there were 11,422 homicides and 19,392 suicides in 2010 using guns, according to the CDC, and guns were also used either intentionally or accidentally to wound 59,208 people in 2011.  And we’re supposed to be a civilized country.

There is no excuse for this carnage except an incompetent Congress and an apathetic public that still refuses to pressure Washington to do something about these unnecessary and innocent deaths.  Until they do, there will be more Albuquerques, Newtowns, Auroras, Tucsons and ad infinitum. Contact your congressional representatives: Senate; House of Representatives.

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