Tea, Bullets and Choppers
An astonishing thing happened this morning right outside my front door. As soon as my feline alarm clock went off at 7-ish in the AM, I started hearing sirens. They were blaring for almost one half-hour. They were closely followed by the sound of helicopters circling overhead. Due to the fact that I lived in Tel Aviv for 12 years, I always associate the sound of choppers with piguim, therefore I did not linger in bed for long. Even my cats’ usual tactic of starting fights with each other in order to ensure I get up and feed them could not prepare me for the spectacle of walking outside my front door and finding emergency vehicles, police, Sheriff’s Department, fire and rescue trucks and ambulances parked on both sides of the street. My neighbors were standing around gawking and pointing up the block. A policeman in full SWAT gear was coming over to the sidewalk so I asked him what was happening? He told me they had an “active shooting” going on, which meant that someone had been shot, but that the gunman or gunmen had not been located. This explains why my clueless neighbors were just standing around gawking. I saw the Sheriff’s car and the 15 or so law enforcement vehicles and assumed someone important had been shot.
The baseball fields at the corner adjacent to the YMCA three doors up from me was the scene of the shooting and a Congressman and some of his security detail had been shot. The gunman was shot dead. It took approximately six minutes for the first trolls to hit the Internet and post comments. Did they post expressions of sympathy for the victims? Nope. Did they allege that the entire episode was more examples of “fake news?” Yep. Did Congress convene and then break into a rousing heartfelt “Pledge of Allegience?” Assuredly. Did anyone rise in either house in Congress and demand strengthening gun control laws? No way. Virginia’s Governor, Terry McAuliffe, mentioned how many deaths could be attributed to gun violence each day in the US before he said that it was not an opportune time to discuss gun control. So, when would be a good time? One year ago, the worst mass shooting in American history took place in Orlando, Florida. Wouldn’t that have been a good time to discuss changing gun laws in America?
If you ever watch the nation’s biggest gun lobby, the National Rifle Association, in action you simply cannot miss an opportunity to watch their Wayne LaPierre in action. He always ends his speeches literally foaming at the mouth. His followers are almost as hysterical. And they are highly armed. They love citing the Second Amendment to the Constitution regarding the “right to bear arms;” however, the Founding Fathers did not mean for everyone to help themselves to an Uzi.
The astonishing thing about watching pro-gun advocates in Congress is directly after a mass casualty event where they all profess their deep sadness at the loss of life and then turn around and pass legislation further removing restrictions on gun ownership. The man who shot the congressman and his detail had an AK-47. You can buy a weapon like this at any gun show or order it online. Why bother passing gun restrictions at all? The fact that law enforcement complain they are being “outgunned” and are demanding weapons used in warzones in order to fight domestic violent crime are missing the point entirely. If America utilized even one part of the controls used in Israel, lives could be spared. If personal weapons were totally banned as they are in Australia, we could spare 93 lives per day. And I wouldn’t have to wake up in the morning and find yellow police tape hanging off my neighbor’s fence.