Before I get into this piece that deals with guns,I feel I have to explain a bit of history regarding something in my past. In 1982 I was the Editor of a Magazine called the "Chevrons" it was exclusively for Chicago Police Sergeants and their families. It mostly was about the job and families, new births, new innovations, and general gossip about our world as Police Supervisors. I usually wrote an editorial about complaints of various injustices both real and perceived that entered our daily routines working the streets of Chicago.
In 1982 Chicago was dealing with an unusual amount of Police Officers being shot and killed in the line of duty. Lots were my friends who I had had known and worked with. I felt that something had to be said so my next editorial in the Chevrons I called on taking the guns away from people who would use them to commit criminal acts, especially worrisome to those of us who are dealing with it on a daily basis. I DID NOT CALL FOR A BAN ON HANGUNS, but that's how it was perceived by the gun lobby and their supporters.
I was immediately inundated with constant harassment, name calling, threats, etc, both by phone and a letter writing campaign. Even some of my close friends were not to happy with my editorial. My dilemma was pretty well known, since I was an Ex Marine and a 10 year member of Chicago's Swat team. The fact was, I knew more about guns than most of my tormentors. I qualified as Expert on the Marine ranges and it's what landed me on the Swat team to begin with. My story got the interest of Chicago's most read columnist Mike Royko, and he decided to make it public.
It was called "MOUTHY MACHO GUN NUTS." Mike was syndicated all over the Country and my story went out to millions of people. Soon I was getting letters of a different kind than the gun lobby, from hundreds of people, some as far away as New Zealand, the Prime minister no less. He even offered to have some of my detractors meet me in a dark alley and call me the names they were hurling at me through letters and phone calls. There were no takers.
It all went away rather quickly after Mike's defense of me, and my life resumed it's normal pace. So after telling you this you can see I know what can happen when a person talks guns. There seems to be no middle ground. I am 100% behind the second Amendment, for 50 years of my life I was armed with either a Hand Gun (sometimes two) or a rifle. I respect people who hunt and those who want to bear arms. My beef is with those who use them to commit criminal acts, thugs who kill indiscriminately, and those with mental disorders.
Last week in Aurora Illinois 6 People died in yet another mass shooting and 5 Police Officers were wounded. The shooter was a convicted felon who by LAW was not allowed to own or possess a hand gun. The LAW was on the books, but as with all criminals the law is for everybody else and not them. It did not deter him one bit, as well as the other thugs who thumb their noses at laws. However that did not stop every politician that could find a camera or reporter from blaming guns and shouting for more laws, more laws to be ignored for sure. Whether it's ego or stupidity what they fail to realize is the Aurora shooter was the poster boy for their ignorance. As I have said many times before "some people have something to say, SOME people have to say something." There is always a time for silence.
I'm not oblivious to the Gun problem in America. For 33 years I had a front row seat. The reality is, the 2nd Amendment is not going away anytime soon. An estimated 375 Millions guns in the United States are not going to be confiscated or turned in for that matter. So here I go back to 1982, with the exception being, I no longer have Royko to get me through, if indeed I need help. WE HAVE TO GET THE GUNS AWAY FROM THOSE WHO USE THEM ILLEGALLY. It's an epidemic that is killing faster than a civilized society should allow.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 39,773 souls were killed by hand guns in the United States in 2017, that total brings the gun death rate to it's highest in more than 2 decades. Granted, the increase in the gun death rate, at least in the last few years was driven by suicides, 60%, while the rate of gun homicides fluctuates over the last decade, the rate of gun suicides has steadily increased. In 2016 there were 17,413 murders, in 2017 17,284 were recorded. A blind person could see the depth of the problem. Gun deaths are 12.0 per 100,000 thousand, car accidents once the leading cause of fatal injuries stands at 11.5. America's politicians have to come to grips with two glaring problems. The suicide rate and the murder rate. The treatment of mental illness, (suicides) and the decision of what do about those who commit criminal acts while armed. Criminals are not victims, their victims own that status. It's time for leadership to realize repeat criminals most especially those who use guns are a cancer on a decent society. More laws are not the answer. Punishment and accountability are.
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