Guns in America

American Pie

Apple pie complete 3 flag.jpgAmerica…We Have a Problem

Americans are 5% of the world population but own half the world’s privately owned guns. https://tinyurl.com/y84y2sgs  There’s approximately one gun for every man woman and child in America.

America as an Apple Pie

We might think of America as an apple pie. But life is such that not all of America’s apples are good. And each year as we keep pouring more, and more, and more spicy guns into the apple filling the chances increase that some of them will combine with some bad apples.  Why then should we be surprised when we have some bad apple pie, bitter slices of which American families have to eat…again, and again, and again.

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This issue got me out there.

I can count on one finger how many times in my life I have marched, or publicly protested, in any form…anything. But I did feel I had to get out and support our youth in their efforts to support the common-sense action that adults find so difficult to move on. Our young are feeling first hand, hands-on murder in their school hallways.

Maybe that moves them.

And maybe that moves me. But also maybe because my grandkids go to school. Maybe because my daughter teaches high school.

So Saturday, March 24th, on “March for Our Lives” day throughout America, Cheryl and I went to our local Kennedy Plaza, Long Beach, NY to voice our support for American sanity.

As I looked around this sunny March day I couldn’t discern political  R or D designations on any participants. I think these folks were just T for…Tired of shootings.

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First, I’m not a hunter, never have been. But I have hunted some very bad apples wanted on warrants. Today I only hunt for the mayo in the back of the fridge. But a big part of my working life was as a cop and Marine so I’ve shot 38s, 9mm Glocks, shotguns, M1s, M14s, even howitzers, both 105 and 155 mm.

Do guns kill people? Yes. Do people kill people? Yes. If we allow the combining of the two without investigation, without discretion…don’t we all kill people?

Let Hunters Hunt

I think we also can agree that hunters should be allowed their rifles and shotguns. That’s their choice, to be with the land, hunting, putting venison on the table, culling herds.  But I think semi-automatic fire (one shot for each trigger pull) should be reserved for police and military. Semi-automatics are a combat-ready deadly force. Police are the front line in serving and protecting Americans. And the military? No need to speak further on that.

AR-15s are very light, there is also very little recoil, hunters love these features. I’ll bet it does feel like a whisper compared to the slam of my old M1. A woman in one NRA video clip describes the light recoil as a “light puff of happiness.” We all find our happiness where we will, I guess.

Many hunters choose to shoot with semi-automatic rifles because it’s better to track the animal while firing rather than dealing with a bolt action, (single shot) rifles. Other hunters feel semi-auto is not good at all as a “spray-fire” hunter is not looking past his target carefully enough:https://tinyurl.com/y7joz3gw

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Our City by the Sea, Long Beach, NY has a population of 36,000, in summer but Kennedy Plaza was full this cold day.

But couldn’t a lightweight, low recoil, single shot rifle be more sporting than semi-automatic fire? The degree of difficulty with a one-shot kill would make the hunt more challenging one would think. Maybe in Olympic terms, a 9.5 degree of difficulty as opposed to 7.5 semi-auto fire. More sporting, no?

Sure, you’d all be sacrificing a rifle option you now enjoy. But maybe a little sacrifice would be worth the trade-off for just one less efficient school shooter hunting in hallways, putting children on morgue tables…culling kids from breakfast tables.

And you’d be reserving the semi-auto rifles for the first responders to deal with the killers…effectively. Perhaps with stronger pre-purchase criteria there just might be far fewer of them.

But it’s true that more people are killed with handguns than any AR anythings. So that leads me to my next point.

Background Checks are Essential

As I’ve said I’m a retired cop and for all of my working years I’ve wondered why more line cops, in general, don’t support greater background checks on gun purchases. I would have thought we’d be making the most noise about it, that if we cops had guns and civilians didn’t that would be a good thing, no? Better chance we’d be going home at the end of our tour? The better chance our families would be safer? America’s families would be safer?

Michael Tangney, Long Beach Police commissioner/Acting City Manager says, “In this country, it’s harder to become a cab driver than to get an automatic weapon. That can change.” I captured some of his thoughts in this very short video clip.

Click the arrow:

 

Our American population includes millions of mentally ill people. One in five adults experience mental illness in any one year, that’s 43 million people; one in 25 Americans suffer from serious mental health issues. 20% of state and local jail prisoners have mental conditions: https://www.nami.org/learn-more/mental-health-by-the-numbers.

The Violent Among Us

Of course, most people with mental health issues are nonviolent and are more often victims of violence than perpetrators. But there are millions of Americans, mentally ill or not, who are violent.

Crime, especially violent crime, has decreased over the recent decades but we are still are a county that has very violent people. American violence:

In 1992 when I left the job there were 441 aggravated Felony assaults per 100,000 Americans.

In 2016 there were 250 aggravated felony assaults per 100,000 Americans.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/191231/reported-aggravated-assault-rate-in-the-us-since-1990/

These are reported felony assaults. Many assaults of all kinds go unreported. America has a lot of very angry and violent people. And a lot of people with guns end their own lives with them. In 2015 over 44,000 Americans killed themselves, over 22,000 by gunfire. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/suicide.htm

The police mission to preserve and protect would be no greater demonstrated than demanding scrutiny of all who would be allowed deadly firepower.

Our American duty is to keep firearms from murderous hands, hands that kill Americans, hands that kill cops, hands that kill kids.

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We must pass written and road tests to drive a car, no tests needed to own this gun.

Extensive background checks are essential. Police departments do vigorous applicant investigation checks on people who want to become cops; why not on citizens who want to be armed with guns? If an applicant lied about anything in his background when I came on the job in 1966 it meant immediate loss of consideration. Why not the same criteria for gun applicants?

Jobs that Save Lives

There are many thousands of retired law enforcement men and women who could be employed as firearm applicant investigators. They could scrutinize the history of applicants, both criminal records and non-reported patterns of violence.

Here’s a look at what some countries do to ensure that deadly-force weaponry is not getting into the hands of potential homicidal citizens. These are examples of international requirements compared to the U.S. Further info on their criteria can be found at the link below:

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AUASTRALIA .jpg

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Germany.jpgIndia .jpgIsreal.jpgMexico.jpgRussia.jpgSouth Africa.jpgYemen.jpgNY Times list of 15 countries and their gun purchase requirements:

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/03/02/world/international-gun-laws.html

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We need not let others’ “puffs of happiness” destroy our pursuit of happiness.

God bless and help America

Leebythesea

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