By Janet Williams
The National Rifle Association is absolutely right about one thing: Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.
That gun sitting on a shelf, in a safe or in a case at your local gun shop isn’t any more dangerous than the baseball that sits in a corner at my home.
Janet Williams, editor, TheStatehouseFile.com
Guns, baseball bats, knives. None of them turn deadly until they end up in the hands of people who want to kill or maim. Just ask the tourists who were stabbed to death at a train station in Marseilles, France a few days ago.
So, NRA, I happen to agree with your mantra — people kill people.
Except, why do you want to make sure it is so easy and stays so easy for people to get these weapons of mass destruction? If, as you say, people kill people, why do you insist on making it almost effortless to obtain handguns, assault rifles and other weapons that make it efficient to kill lots and lots of other people?
Depending on when you are reading this, you might have to pause a moment to consider which mass shooting prompted me to write this column.
Let’s see, could it be Columbine or Charleston? Orlando or Killeen, Texas? Sandy Hook or San Bernadino?
The answer is none of the above. This week — or shall I say Monday — the answer is Las Vegas, which one news site has listed as the deadliest since 1949. That year, by the way, is when one of the first mass shooters on record, Howard Unruh, went on a spree in his Camden, New Jersey, neighborhood, killing 13 people.
In the wake of the latest mass killing, our elected leaders from across the nation issue statements calling for prayers for the victims, now numbering nearly 60, their families and the injured. Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill joined the chorus Monday morning, saying he was with the millions of American in mourning those “lost last night in a senseless act of violence in Las Vegas.”
Here is what President Trump said Monday morning as the reports of the carnage continued to unfold:
“Melania and I are praying for every American who has been hurt, wounded or lost the ones they loved so dearly in this terrible, terrible attack. We pray for the entire nation to find unity and peace, and we pray for the day when evil is banished and the innocent are safe from hatred and from fear.”
By all means, let’s pray. Let’s pray for healing for those who were shot, for those who grieve over loved ones lost, for the survivors who will forever relive the terror of being the target of an unknown and unseen killer.
I believe in prayer, the power of our heavenly Father to heal and to comfort, to bring a new morning after a terrible night, to bring light into a dark world. And I prayed as I walked my dog in the park on a near-perfect autumn morning for the victims, for their families and for the politicians who will have to decide what to do next.
In the New Testament, James writes, “ What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such a faith save him?” In James 2:14-26, the writer excoriates so-called believers who fail to act out the faith they claim with their words.
He ends with this: “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.”
Truer words were never written. What good is a faith that believes in the sanctity of human life yet allows deadly weapons to fall into the hands of people who aim to kill as many other people as possible?
We know there are a few simple laws that might make it just a little bit harder for people to get the kinds of weapons that cause so much destruction. Background checks for all gun purchases and bans or at least limits on the sale of assault weapons would help.
Our politicians pray while their fealty remains with the NRA and its single-minded pro-gun lobby. Meanwhile, people die.
Yes, people kill people. Human beings have been killing each other since the days of Cain and Abel. But we don’t have to make it easy to kill so many.
Janet Williams is editor of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.