The Norman Transcript

Columns

May 20, 2013

U.S. must address shootings

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

This is sent in reply to the letter from Earl Herfurth regarding Second Amendment rights. Certainly, the Second Amendment is an important part of America’s history, but the argument set forth in support of gun rights, as exemplified in the letter, fall flat in the face of a more fundamental reality.

In Colorado and Connecticut, people carried guns. Adam Lanza’s mother was a proud supporter of the Second Amendment and bought her son guns, which he, too, carried proudly. What is absent from this letter is the reality of the nigh impossibility to tell which proud gun bearer will be the next mass killer.

Anyone who has worked in mental health knows that the difference between sane and out of control can be a single breath. Not always, certainly, but most of the time.  In most cases, that violent person was, just before he or she acted out, your friend, neighbor, family or lover. And the difference between anger and a killer can be as simple as access to a gun.

Staunch gun rights advocates, including those who suggest that anyone seeking limits to gun rights must be communist or dictatorial, tend not to see that there is a larger issue here. Especially in Oklahoma, people should recall that Tim McVeigh was motivated by his warped view that the government might infringe his Second Amendment rights.

Every year, guns are used to kill 33,000 or more Americans. They injure more than 70,000. These are not guns generally used by criminals or the insane. Most of the time, they are guns used to commit or attempt to commit suicide. Guns are used because guns kill easily.

Falling closely behind suicides are the guns used to kill women whose only crime was to be involved with a man who owned a gun. The single largest cause of injury or death to women between the age of 15 and 65 is violence in some close relationship. Women who are murdered are far more likely to be killed by their partner.

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