By Joe Sims
This morning's news is full of stories about yet another mind numbing massacre committed by a teen aged male in Omaha, Nebraska, with eight people dead and several wounded. Pages are now rife with speculation about what caused it: depression, break-up with girl friend, loss of job at McDonald's. Will America ever wake up? These may have been contributing factors, but the issue of issues is GUNS: the widespread availability of weapons. And it's not just handguns either. Sorry hunters.
Heavy fire power is more available to youth today than candy or crack. I remember being startled a few years ago when a nephew visting with me in NY around the December holidays, couldn't wait to go back home for New Year's eve? Why, so he could shoot an AK-47 into the air. Where would he get his hands on an AK?
Lest anyone think this was an isolated incident, consider the following: several months ago a story appeared in my hometown newspaper, The Youngstown Vindicator, reporting a police chase of 3 teenagers who opened fire on a cruiser. When pursing the youth who fled into a wooded area, the cops found three machine guns on the path. Type? You guessed it: AK 47.
I remember thinking: if this were the early 1970's, and those kids were members of the Black Panther Party instead of the Bloods or the Crypts, they would have called out the National Guard and declared a state of emergency with curfews and all. How many more have to die before people wake up and realize that in a deeply troubled society, where violence is glorified, racism rampant, unemployment high, social alienation and isolation skyrocketing, and the wide availability of weapons, such killings are bound to happen.
The Supreme Court will hear a case on this issue in January, the first time since the 1930's. Little hope there. So what can be done? Stop pretending not to know the causes of the tragedies and deal with genuine root reasons. And also stop pretending that guns defend anyone against anything - including racist and fascist-like elements. If anyone on the left has any illusions on this score, let him or her be disabused of the notion! Stand up and have the courage to get guns of the streets now. All of them.