Last Sunday was the 15th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting.
It has been 21 months since the shooting at an Aurora, CO movie theater.
In December 2013, there was another shooting at a Colorado school. This time it was at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, CO.
I cite these locations because these locations are located not too far from the Watts Media Corporation global headquarters in Denver, CO. These are within driving distance from where I live. Though I was not living in Colorado at the time when these crimes were perpetuated, I heard about them in the news and these places are part of my community.
It is long past the time to acknowledge that this country has a problem.
We have a problem when a legislature tries to improve upon the existing laws regarding background checks for firearms and are punished by special interest groups. In Colorado there was the well publicized recall efforts that resulted in two state Senators being recalled and losing their seats because they were doing their jobs as elected officials to craft policies to improve the lives of the people they represent. The gun lobby has taken interest in repealing those background checks. One of those such groups is the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and they are electorally targeting specific state legislators to switch the balance of power from one party to the other in order to repeal those background checks.
We have a problem when states are passing legislation expanding the right to carry firearms in public spaces. One such legislation was signed by the state of Georgia that would allow firearms in places such as schools, religious buildings, libraries, airports up to the security checkpoint, and bars.
Firearms mixing with alcohol? What could possibly go wrong?
We have a problem when the Senate cannot confirm a nominee for Surgeon General who has called our problem with firearm violence a health care issue as shown by his tweet in October 2012.
Tired of politicians playing politics w/ guns, putting lives at risk b/c they're scared of NRA. Guns are a health care issue. #debatehealth
— Vivek Murthy (@vivek_murthy) October 17, 2012
Because of heavy lobbying by the National Rifle Association (NRA) , Dr. Murthy's nomination is in limbo. Dr. Murthy is not alone in his views. President Ronald Reagan's Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Koop, wrote an article in 1992 for the Journal Of The American Medical Association titled "Time To Bite The Bullet Back" that made the case that firearm violence is a health concern. Major doctors' groups such as the American Medical Association and American Association of Pediatrics share Dr. Murthy's views. The NRA successfully lobbied to keep doctors from discussing with parents who are expecting children about the safety issues of owning firearms in the same manner of pool owners and the importance of bicycle helmets. They have also blocked researching a possible link between firearms and violence because their belief that collecting information might lead to a gun registry.
We have a problem when there have been two mass shootings on a military base within the last five years and the solution is to expand the right to carry on military instillations. Retired Army Colonel and Medal of Honor recipient Jack Jacobs said that, "Arming everybody on post and the attending danger in doing that is not a solution to protect the lives of people who serve and sacrifice for us."
We have a problem when state legislators feel the need to carry a firearm on their person in the building where they work at. State Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R, TX HD-92) was featured in a March 2013 New York Times article carrying a .40-calliber weapon on his person. In June 2013 he tweeted this to his followers as the Texas Lege was beginning to debate the anti-abortion omnibus bill.
We have a problem when a candidate for the United States Senate utter the phrase "Second Amendment Remedies" and when asked to clarify what she meant by that kind of violent imagery she flees from reporters.
We have a problem when a group of people descend on a Nevada ranch and point firearms at law enforcement officials. They end up getting their way and setting a new dangerous precedent of that if you don't get your way in American politics all you have to do is point a firearm at someone.
I believe there used to be a word that described that very idea: terrorism.
We have a problem when after a school shooting that claimed the lives of 27 people is instead of limiting access to firearms through stronger background checks is that we should arm the teachers. It is not enough that in this country teachers are paid less in comparison to other countries. Combine with all the different roles they have to fulfill besides doing their primary job as educators, they have to take time out of their schedule to receive small arms training.
I could go on and on about the different types of firearm violence that has taken place in this country and in various communities. Unfortunately, this is the new normal in America where it is acceptable to do nothing when there is a mass shooting and other firearm related incidents. Instead we bow to the NRA and their associates because we are afraid of the power they wield financially.
Until there is a radical shift in the way we address this problem in this country, then we will still have a problem.