Bill Moyers writes: “We talk about violence committed in the name of bigotry or religion. But what about the DEADLY firepower available to the killers?…an ELDERLY white supremacist and anti-Semite named James W. von Brunn allegedly walked into the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum with a .22-caliber rifle and killed security guard Stephen T. Johns.. the recent killing, while USHERING at his local church, of Dr. George Tiller, one of the few doctors in the country still performing late term abortions. Sadly, this case was proof that fatal violence works…the June 1st SHOOTINGS in an army recruiting office in Little Rock that killed one soldier and wounded another…the three policemen KILLED by an assault weapon in Pittsburgh; the four policemen killed in Oakland, California; the 13 people gunned down in Binghamton, New York; the 10 in an Alabama shooting spree; five in Santa Clara, California; the eight dead in a North Carolina, nursing home. All during this year alone.
There is much talk about HATE talk; hate crimes against blacks, whites, immigrants, Muslims, Jews; about violence committed in the name of bigotry or religion. But why don’t we TALK about guns? We’re arming ourselves to death. Even as gunshots ricocheted around the country, an amendment ALLOWING concealed weapons in national parks snuck into the popular credit card reform bill. Another victory for the gun lobby, to sounds of silence from the White House.
Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, wrote — just days before the Holocaust Museum incident — that “rather than propose CONCRETE action that makes it harder for dangerous people to get firearms — while still respecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners — all Washington can seem to muster after high-profile shootings are ‘thoughts and prayers’ for the victims and their families….So let the faithful of every persuasion keep their guns for hunting and skeet, for trap and target practice, for collecting. They can even have a permit for a gun to protect their business or home, even though it’s 22 TIMES MORE LIKELY to shoot a member of the family (including suicides) than an intruder.
But please, there are already some 200 million, privately owned firearms in America. Every year THERE ARE 30,000 gun deaths and in some years more than 400,000 non-fatal, gun-related assaults. The next time someone wades through a pool of blood to sidle up and champion the preservation of firearms, can’t we just say, no thanks?