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Oregon shooting: will Roseburg make a difference?

OPINION: A terrible act of violence has again opened the door to the debate: how does a so-called civilized nation do nothing to stop these murderous acts?

Once again our nation was rocked by another senseless mass shooting in the seemingly safe town of Roseburg, Ore. at Umpqua Community College. On Thursday, Oct. 1, Chris Harper Mercer, 26, walked on campus and into a classroom and murdered nine individuals and wounded 10 before taking his life.

This terrible act of violence once again opened the door to the debate on how does a so-called civilized nation do nothing to stop these murderous acts.

President Obama went before the nation and expressed his sadness and prayers for those who are affected by the Oregon shooting. The president again urged Congress to pass some form of sensible gun control legislation, but, as usual all we hear in the halls of Congress is the cacophony of crickets.

Many of our nation’s elected leaders don’t give a damn about passing sensible gun control laws because they fear angering the National Rifle Association, an organization whose sole purpose is to maintain their wealth by making more guns and ammo.

Supply and demand dictate if the gun lobby can sell more fear between citizens or some outside entity that fear will create a greater demand for their product. The NRA and others use politicians like a ventriloquist uses a dummy, They go on talk shows and mouth the gun lobbyist’s talking points. Selling fear disguised as liberty to their constituents and the media who have become the harbinger of their message.

The elected members of Congress are afraid of becoming both a political and a physical target, There are those who think the government wants to take their freedom and liberty to own an AR- 15, or a bazooka; who knows where it ends?

Republicans and the NRA want to assure their political base will have access to as many guns as possible. Fear of Muslims, Blacks, Latinos, and especially of President Obama, keeps their membership high. They cite uprisings in different cities over the years as their excuse for maintaining an arsenal of firepower. They claim game hunting as one reason to harbor guns, but no one goes hunting for deer with an AK-47.

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution reads: “A well regulated Militia (The National Guard) being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people (the members of the Militia) to keep and bear Arms (The members of the Militia can be armed as long as they are regulated or organized) shall not be infringed.

The Second Amendment is often the excuse used to justify the right of any person to own as many mass killing military-style weapons as one can afford. If it were not for a questionable interpretation of the Second Amendment by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008 and 2010, where a conservative-leaning court stripped regulations of particular weaponry and its usage.

In 1934 and 1939 the high court understood that the second amendment was to develop a well-regulated militia speaking of the military, not the general public.

What happens now is our frightened paralyzed politicians and their lazy constituents will sit on their butts in front of the television and respond to yet another mass killing, saying, “glad it was not me or any member of my family.”

The biggest insult of all is the offering of thoughts and prayers for the victims — that is where it ends because a day later those thoughts will be elsewhere.

Kevin G. Thomas is a veteran Los Angeles-area freelance journalist whose editorial runs weekly in the St. Louis Evening Whirl, a 76-year-old publication. Locally, he has written for the Los Angeles Wave and the L.A. Watts Times. He is a former educator with B.A. degrees in theology and marketing.


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