Gun control is a moral imperative

So this time it is Virginia Beach. It follows Littleton, Sandy Hook, Blacksburg, Aurora, Charleston (S.C.), Orlando, Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, Thousand Oaks, Santa Fe (Texas), Parkland, Pittsburgh, Poway, Charlotte, Nickel Mines, Annapolis and Highlands Ranch. These 16 venues have included schools (from elementary to high school to college), churches and synagogues, entertainment and social events, private businesses and government offices. By my rough count, more than 300 men, women and children have been shot and killed in these incidents, and many hundreds more have been wounded.

On the basis of our experiences so far, the follow scenario can be expected in the aftermath of Virginia Beach: Families of victims will be heartbroken. Families of shooters will be distraught and say they are bewildered over the actions of their relatives. We will learn of the heroism of first responders, the self-sacrifice of many under fire and the terror of the survivors. Wounded survivors will face long and traumatic recoveries. The National Rifle Association will say that the only real solution is to sell more guns to more people; after all, guns do not kill people.

These mass shootings happen in diverse locations to diverse victims. So are the shooters diverse, although they are all male, nearly all white and nearly all native-born citizens.

We really do not know why. The one, the only, common denominator is that they all involve one or more guns, usually an automatic weapon. So as much as we need to learn and practice tolerance and acceptance, surely the first effort must be to legislate much tighter gun controls. We are confronted by a public health crisis, and we must begin to confront it by reducing the weapons that facilitate it. It has become a moral issue of the greatest priority.

Aubrey King


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