2018-02-21 / Editorial

The Second Amendment and a common-sense approach to guns

About politics and other things
By Elaine Kolodziej

“When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.”

Unfortunately, this is reality. Still, in most instances, the procedure is simply to wait the minutes for that policeman (the good guy with a gun) to arrive.

An unreasonable fear of guns often prevents the good guys from carrying guns. We have “gun-free” zones — in theaters, in churches, and in schools — making easy targets.

It is this gun phobia that prevents common-sense changes that would allow qualified teachers to carry concealed weapons on campus. We have armed guards protecting our money in banks. Are not our children as deserving of this protection?

Last Wednesday, there was another tragic school shooting, and everyone is panicking. Students and some parents are protesting and demanding that Washington “do something.” But the last thing we need right now are some quick Band-Aid approaches to an extremely complex issue.

The issue is not just “the gun,” or even a specific type of gun, because there are millions of guns out there now that have not killed people and never will kill people. It only happens when an emotionally disturbed person — or a person intent on evil — gets a gun. We have laws that are supposed to prevent this from happening.

In last week’s school shooting in Florida, there were failures from within the established system of laws that allowed it to happen. The most egregious of those was that the FBI failed to follow protocol after parents and students reported the suspect.

This government failure has happened repeatedly. In Sutherland Springs, laws were in place that would have prevented the shooter from purchasing a gun, but in that instance, it was the Air Force that failed to act. The Boston bombers were “on the radar” of authorities, yet nothing was done to stop them. In Sandy Hook, a mother desperately tried to get help for her son.

In case after case, the suspects are on the radar, yet those agencies that are supposed to protect us fail to act. If procedures had been followed, the Florida school shooter should never have been allowed to legally buy a gun. In case after case, we have laws and procedures that did not help or that were not followed.

Now we find ourselves again facing the aftermath of a failed system. Unfortunately, it is impossible to have a reasoned discussion about guns and gun control following a tragedy, yet there is a knee-jerk reaction. Now is not the time for this discussion, when emotions are raw and thinking, irrational.

Rep. Joe Kennedy III, like many others now, ridicules the idea that mental illness was to blame for this violent outburst. He blames the gun, yet when people are killed by an intoxicated driver, we blame the driver, not the car.

Most of us in South Texas grew up around guns and are quite comfortable with them vs. those who have an absolute phobia about guns or anyone with a gun.

Too many people have been conditioned by society to have an unreasonable fear of guns. The problem has gotten so bad in our society that they even have a word to describe this condition. It’s called hoplophobia.

Some of this hysteria equates the National Rifle Association and its members with terrorists. This is an irrational fear of a pro-gun organization that teaches gun safety.

We do not need another hasty law that will fix nothing. Now is the time for saner heads to prevail. Decisions — most certainly decisions that may save, or cost, lives — should not be made based on raw emotions by people who have just experienced an unspeakable tragedy.

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