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If ever there was a time to get involved, get educated and
get out and VOTE, it is now. For too long the slaughter of
children in our country has been brushed off, lied about,
disavowed, and worst of all, become all too common – 5
school shootings this year alone and we are not even a
third of the way into the year. This is not a political issue,
a Republican issue or a Democrat issue. It isn’t the
fault of President Trump alone or President Obama; who
received a grade of F from the Brady Center To Prevent
Gun Violence. It is a complex issue that has to do with a
variety of ways we do things in this country.
We know the issues that get the most play; mental illness,
ease of access to guns, availability of semi-automatic
and automatic weapons…assault rifles, open carry
laws; and on and on. The simple truth is that this is a human
rights issue and a complex one at that. Driving a car
requires a license which requires training and passing a
test. Why is there no similar process for a gun owner?
The CDC reports the following: Motor vehicle traffic
deaths: Number of deaths: 33,736 All firearm deaths –
Number of deaths: 33,594. But are those numbers a fair
comparison? Increased regulation regarding motor vehicles
has definitely brought the number of traffic deaths
down. Gun deaths are down as well but no research
has been done to explain the drop. Where 99% of traffic
deaths are presumed accidental, 68% of gun deaths
are attributed to suicides. Also, involved in the gun death
count are police shootings – probably misleading to include
those in a fair comparison – yet we still are left facing
the reality that children are being murdered, time and
again, while they are in school.
An ongoing Washington Post analysis has found that
more than 150,000 students attending at least 170 primary
or secondary schools have experienced a shooting
on campus since the Columbine High School massacre
in 1999. That figure, which comes from a review of online
archives, state and federal enrollment figures and news
stories, is a conservative calculation and does not include
dozens of suicides, accidents and after-school assaults
that have also exposed youths to gunfire. Five school
shootings listed for 2018 happened during school hours
and resulted in physical injury. Three others appeared to
be intentional shootings but did not hurt anyone. Yes, the
number 18 was flying across the internet yesterday and
that is an inflated number that only harms our need to understand
this issue…as if five isn’t enough to get us motivated
to do something? On average, two dozen children
are shot every day in the United States, and in 2016 more
youths were killed by gunfire — 1,637 — than during any
previous year this millennium.
I’m thinking that is reason enough. Now the question
is, what can we do? First, we have to get educated. We
simply cannot take at face value what either “side” of the
argument tells us. That alone makes it difficult to take a
position. However, looking at both “sides” with skepticism,
comparing the numbers and the arguments – Brady
vs NRA for example – vs The Annenberg
Foundation – Pew Research vs The Center for American
Progress – The Washington Post vs Wall Street Journal
or FOX vs CNN.
What all this boils down to is we must do the work to
educate ourselves about this and other important issues.
We have to acknowledge that simply accepting what
we hear see or read as truth is irresponsible. And once
we have done the work and figured out where we stand
on the issue, we have got to exercise our Right and our
Responsibility to Vote for candidates who represent our
positions and then we must watch them to be sure they
do what they said they would do We can no longer have
clean hands when our children are being murdered and
we cannot even bother to try to figure out why.

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