Hypocrisy, hypocrisy, hypocrisy, we are a nation of hypocrites. As I drove through Weirton and Steubenville I noticed that all the flags were flying at half-staff to "honor" the dead and wounded of the Naval Yard mass shooting. "The Today Show" on NBC reported that a fund had been started to assist the families of the dead; they also reported that this had happened in Aurora and Connecticut. How wonderful we are as a society. The morning news lead story was the senseless shooting of individuals in Chicago by an individual or individuals with assault weapons and multiple shot ammo clips. Lower the flags again and start a fund for these victims ... everything will be OK until the next shooting.
As a nation we must do something to stop this senseless carnage, but Congress is in a gaming mode unaware that we sent them to Washington to govern and not play the partisan game of one upsmanship and holding their constituents hostage to special interest groups. It is possible to pass a gun regulation law that respects the legitimate rights of gun owners and sportsmen and protect the citizenry from mentally ill or otherwise impaired individuals who believe that they need automatic weapons and high-volume gun clips designed solely to kill people. The right to bear arms ends at the right of the citizens to liberty and safety. In a free society people should be free to go to the movies or work or school. The tyranny of the paranoid 5 million members of the NRA must stop.
The constitutionally protected rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness of 315 million Americans who make up the population of the United States must be protected and, indeed, supersedes the minority interests. Would we tolerate any other interest group trumping the interest a majority of the people?
If you lower your flag or contribute to a victim assistance fund, that is great. But don't stop there. Contact your national legislators and tell them that we need protection and not to let the United States become the wild west again. Like the NRA, we too can vote out of office individuals who just do not get it. Contact your state legislators and see what they can do to stop this senseless killing in state law. We need to stop the manufacturing and sale of assault weapons and high volume ammo clips manufactured solely to kill masses of people and to insist on comprehensive background checks for buyers of all guns and the reporting of situations that would render a person unable to own or use a firearm safely and responsibly.
A little over a year ago, my son and his girlfriend survived the Aurora theater shootings simply by the beautiful grace of God. He was home when the shooting occurred in the Connecticut school and relived the terror his own ordeal in spite of excellent professional help. Mass shootings are not an abstract concept in my family but a terrifying call in the middle of the night by my son to tell me he is alive and OK. Mass killing are a reality to other families where their children did not return home from school.
Workers at the Naval Yard will never return home to their families. I hope and pray that each of you will never get that call. Please stop this now.
(Davis is a resident of Wintersville.)