Whether in a grocery store, a place of worship, a shopping mall, a community celebration, at work or in school, you are at risk for becoming a victim of senseless gun violence.
Why is America the only industrialized nation in the world that is plagued by frequent mass shootings?
Has our form of democracy allowed the minority to run amuck when it comes to the rights of an individual to own any kind of gun vs. the majority’s right to live without fear of mass murder?
The number of mass shootings occurring in the United States is a uniquely American phenomenon — and it’s a trait that no American should be proud of.
Other democracies are not allowing the majority of their citizenry to be put in danger because of unregulated and unenforced access to military-style guns that can be retrofitted to become automatic weapons capable of firing multiple rounds of bullets so powerful that they render their victims unrecognizable.
How or where can there be a need for any individual to own or have access to those types of guns except to inflict or carry out human carnage at will?
So far this year, we have had 79 mass shootings, more than we have had days.
Last week, unsuspecting students at Michigan State University, in the dark of night, were killed or critically injured by someone with a gun and a backpack loaded with clips of ammunition.
Hundreds of others and their families were in a state of fear and terror the effects of which could be with them forever.
In January alone, there were 52 mass shootings, where 87 people were killed and 205 were wounded. Five with the most fatalities made national news: Enoch, Utah, where eight people died; in Goshem, California, six died; Monterey Park, California, where 12 died and nine were injured; in Half-Moon Bay, California, seven dead and one injured; and Yakima, Washington, where four people died.
So many communities are making national news because someone decided to go on a shooting rampage with a high-powered, assault-style gun.
A listing of the record number of mass shootings that have occurred during 2022 and so far in 2033, shows that nearly every state in the union has been impacted.
Why should that be in the United States of America?
Is it because of a misinterpretation and misapplication of the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution? Is it because of a powerful gun lobby?
Or, is it because lawmakers across every level of government refuse or lack the courage to put in place and ensure enforcement of sensible gun safety measures?
One could argue it is all of the above.
The majority of Americans want gun safety measures put in place and enforced.
It has been successfully done in other civilized democratic forms of government. Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, France, New Zealand, Switzerland and many other countries do not have mass shootings as the United States does.
Where can Americans at any age feel completely safe from wanton mass gun violence when it occurs in all aspects of our daily lives — at school, in our sacred places of worship, in the grocery store, shopping mall, in the workplace, at a community celebration?
Whether babies, children, teenagers, young adults, middle-aged people, or the elderly are killed or maimed, it doesn’t seem to be enough for lawmakers to do something.
How large of a massacre of innocent people, how many more, need to occur in the United States for lawmakers to do the right and sensible thing when in comes to doing what other countries with democratic form government have done to ban assault style weapons?
There have been calls and attempts at the national level to address the issues, but with no success to date.
Getting sensible gun-safety measures passed at the state level, in enough states, remains a challenge even though some are trying to address the issue. Passage of federal legislation will go a long way to enable states and cities to pass and enforce sensible gun laws.
But in the meantime, what are concerned citizens to do?
How long must the will of the majority continue to be ignored by lawmakers who hide behind the 2nd Amendment? Or, be outspent and have less influence than a powerful gun lobby? Will the voice of the majority continue to be drowned out by extremists?
There is no mystery, no insurmountable obstacles that must be overcome to stop the senseless killing of Americans who are just going about living their lives.
All that is needed are courageous and caring lawmakers doing what is best for the United States and the majority of its citizens when it comes to stopping mass gun violence. They do not have to reinvent the wheel. There are many effective gun safety laws and enforcement measures in place in other countries that can be emulated, adjusted, augmented to work in this country.
When will lawmakers finally be about it?
How many more deaths must we endure, and how much more human carnage must we suffer?
Janice Ellis is a regular contributor to the Missouri Independent, which first published this commentary.