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Chris Slater: Staying angry about gun violence just isn't worth it (Gazette)

Chris Slater

Chris Slater

It is exhausting trying to stay so angry. There were 17 people killed and multiple others wounded in a recent school shooting in Florida. We don’t even know their names, and this will just be a blip in the news ticker. In fact, I feel like most of us are already starting to move on.

And, why is that? It’s because we know not to stress out due to the sobering fact that there will be another shooting soon enough. Does anybody not see the insanity in this?

At press time, that was the fifth school shooting with injuries of 2018. There have been 18 incidents of a gun being fired at a school this year, whether students were present or not. If you haven’t been looking at your calendars, it should be noted that this year is still pretty young.

Satirical news outlet The Onion publishes the same article every single time there’s a mass shooting in America. If it weren’t such a serious issue, it would be funny. But it’s tragically sad: “‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.”

It’s almost pointless to talk about how, as of 2015, there are more guns than people in America, and how that’s not the case in any other developed country, according to gunpolicy.org. One could come to the conclusion that more guns leads to more gun violence. People either cannot see that, or they like to conveniently ignore it.

I am a fan of the Second Amendment. I have to be, since I love the First Amendment so much. Freedom of speech allows me to pursue my passion, and I wouldn’t want somebody to take that away from me. Despite some gun advocates clinging to this idea, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a credible argument for taking away somebody’s Second Amendment rights.

There are rules and regulations in place for reasons of safety. The cliché says you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater. I don’t have the freedom to say that. I can’t send a tweet threatening physical harm to the president. Has my First Amendment right been infringed upon? Not at all.

I’m OK with people owning guns. I’m OK with people shooting those guns, either for pleasure or sport. But, there are certain guns that people shouldn’t be allowed to own, due to the fact that it seems they have no other purpose than to kill large crowds of people.

When I worked at a newspaper in Virginia a couple of years ago, I covered a local Republican fundraising dinner. There was a good mix of local and state politicians there. One of the state politicians spoke about how he wanted to help abused women. To a room full of applause, this politician outlined his plan not to stop abusers from being able to purchase guns, but rather how he wanted women who have been abused to be able to bypass the screening process in order to purchase a gun quicker.

It just seemed so backwards to me. Why would anybody think that’s a good idea? Instead of trying to stop a dangerous man from buying a gun, let’s give a frightened abuse victim a gun and let’s not even bother to screen her in case she’s dangerous, as well. Last I checked, that’s working its way through the Virginia legal system. Hopefully, it never amounts to anything.

I tweeted about the Kentucky school shooting recently, and my disgust with modern gun culture (If you’ve forgotten, a 16-year-old shot and killed two, while wounding 18 in January). A friend jokingly texted me, wanting to know why I was trying to take away his Second Amendment rights. My response was serious: “How many kids have to die before anything changes?” His lighthearted response was “100,000,” which prompted me to think long and hard. It’s sad to say that I think this is the truth: We’ll hit that number eventually. Nothing is going to change, and innocent people will continue to die needlessly.

But, again, there’s no way to prevent this, says the only nation where this regularly happens.

Chris Slater is a copy editor at the Gazette-Mail and writes the “30-Something” blog at blogs.wvgazettemail.com/30-something.

Funerals for Thursday, September 19, 2019

Amos, Carolyn - 3 p.m., Adams-Reed Funeral Home, Cowen.

Crane, Margie - Noon, Bartlett-Nichols Funeral Home, St. Albans.

Davis, June - 3 p.m., Tyree Funeral Home, Oak Hill. 

Dempsey, Freda - 11 a.m., Handley Funeral Home, Danville.

Given, Wanda - 1 p.m., Simons-Coleman Funeral Home, Richwood.

Riegler Sr., Russell - 2 p.m., WV Memorial Gardens, Calvin.

Turner, Shelbie - 1 p.m., Leonard Johnson Funeral Home, Marmet.

Williams, Ira - 1 p.m., Donel C. Kinnard State Veterans Cemetery, Institute.