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Kamala's "Weapons Of War"

Responding to the Robb Elementary School shooting that left 19 children dead plus two of their teachers and 17 students injured, the Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris, called for a ban on "weapons of war."

Said the VP, "We are not sitting around waiting to figure out the solution. We know what works on this. Let's have an assault weapons ban," referring to the AR-15 assault look-a-like rifle, the weapon used at the mass shooting.

Despite appearances, Harris is not entirely ignorant of what constitutes an assault rifle, nor is she totality in the dark about the numerical relationship between rifles and murders. Her viewpoint is emotionally based. So, citing those who disagree with her stance on gun laws as "having blood on their hands" or blaming the school massacre on Republicans is not an exaggeration used to emphasize a fact, but as a fact.

A recent example of the appeal to passion is Beto O'Rourke's emotional outburst during Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's press conference. Shouting, you "are doing nothing," and "[Expletive] your prayers," Beto had to be forcibly ejected from the auditorium.

Beto's temper tantrum was perfectly acceptable to the Left, even praiseworthy, not to be found in icy-veined Republicans.

Opposing the Democrat's subjective frame of reference is the Republican fact-based objective perspective; the two stances are diametrically opposed and irreconcilable.

But what about Harris' reference to assault rifles as "weapons of war?"

An assault rifle has a select-fire switch for choosing semi-automatic or fully automatic. Fully automatic guns, also known as machine guns, were made illegal in 1986. Semi-automatics are the ones almost exclusively bought and sold in the US.

Let's take a look at just how deadly semi-automatics really are.

According to the FBI, 1,476 deaths were caused by knives in 2019; the last year causes of death were compiled. During that same period, rifles of all types – including the infamous AR-15 – were responsible for 365 deaths. Put another way, knives are four times more lethal than rifles. Should we then ban knives?

The FBI also has stats on deaths caused by blunt objects like "rocks and clubs." These objects cause almost four times the number of fatalities (397) than rifles.

Thus, we see that rocks, stones, and knives are more deadly than semi-automatic rifles, those "weapons of war." So far, these other implements of death have escaped the ire of Nancy and Chuck, perhaps due to the difficulty of making rocks illegal.

We are left with four choices about what to do about gun-caused deaths:

(1) Should gun laws be written as knee-jerk reactions to tragic events? The school shooter, Salvador Ramos, shot his 66-year-old grandmother in the face before heading to the elementary school. She remains in serious condition.

Do we really want crazies like Ramos to be the titular drafters of new firearms laws?

(2) Face the fact that legislation is not the answer; crime cannot be written away; would that it could.

(3) Should schools be designed like maximum-security prisons where students are admitted in the morning and discharged in the afternoon? Pray, we haven't come to that.

And (4) Could the answer be that there is no answer? Today's problems with violence and lawlessness are not fundamentally with individuals but with society. We no longer have the character of the men who founded this nation 250 years ago. Indeed, we're not even the people we were barely a lifetime ago.

Compare the movies we remember in the forties and fifties with those on Netflix and Hulu. The comparison reveals a cultural acceptance and appetite for extreme violence, foul language and explicit sex to levels unimaginable 70 years ago.

So what to do? The observation of Walt Kelly's cartoon character, Pogo, is as prescient today as it was 50 years ago: "We have met the enemy, and he is us." And that's the problem.


Bob Scroggins, New Milford, PA

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