Another mass shooting: Too many, too much death

One of those 26 occurred in the Old Dominion when a longtime city engineer with a history of volatile behavior walked into the municipal office in Virginia Beach and murdered 12.
People gather at a vigil for victims of a mass shooting at a municipal building in Virginia Beach, Va. (PATRICK SEMANSKY / AP)

Another mass shooting in America, this time a 16-year-old high school student at Saugus High Schoool in Santa Clarita, Calif. used a .45 cal semi-automatic pistol to kill two students, wound three others and turn the weapon on himself.

He apparently tried to kill himself and later died in a hospital from his self-inflicted head wound.

Too many shootings, too much death in what is supposed to be a “civilized” nation. According to police, the kid killed a 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy. The three wounded are two girls — one 14 and the other 15 — and a 14-year-old boy.

According to statistics compiled by The New York Times, 26 mass shootings left 126 people dead in America this summer.

Reports the Times:

They were octogenarians shopping at a Texas Walmart. They were family members watching TV in California. They were late-night revelers standing on a crowded Ohio sidewalk. They were casualties of a violent summer.

During the unofficial summer season, between Memorial Day and Labor Day, America endured 26 mass shootings in 18 states. One massacre followed another, sometimes on the very same day. In sudden bursts of misery, they played out in big cities, along rural roads, inside trim suburbs. They left behind shaken neighborhoods, tearful memorials and calls for change, but little concrete action.

One of those 26 occurred in the Old Dominion when a longtime city engineer with a history of volatile behavior walked into the municipal office in Virginia Beach and murdered 12.

Too often, the gunmen n three of the summer’s four deadliest shootings involved the use of an assault-style rifle.

Some killers quoted our current U.S. president, whose use of violent rhetoric alarms many. Hate-driven massacres increase each year and a gunman quoted Donald Trump in his online manifesti before gunning down 22 mostly Hispanic victims at a Walmart in El Paso. He hated Hispanic immigrants and praised Trump, who he said shared his hatred.

Hate-driven crimes now top more than 7,100 a year in what the nation that claims to be the “home of the brave and land of the free.”

In this past summer of mass murder and hate, the killers were males, ranging in age from 14 to 62. Many killed themselves before police could arrest them.

Calls for increased gun control echoed across the nation after most of these shootings but nothing happened. The killings in Virginia Beach helped Democrats unseat incumbent Republicans in the state legislative elections earlier this month and swift action is now promised by a Democratic-lead General Assembly and governor.

As a lifelong hunter and gun owner, I welcome sensible increases in gun regulations such as the expansion of background checks on those purchasing weapons to gun shows and other locations. I have no problem with outlawing assault-style weapons and limits on the number of cartridges in external magazines.

To obtain a concealed-carry permit in Virginia, once only has to fill out information online. The law once required proof of an ability to operate a handgun at a range. No more.

Some of my gun owner acquaintances say they are buying more weapons to make sure they can get what they want before such guns like AR-15s are outlawed. I owned such weapons in the past but disposed of them because I had no use for a military-style weapon that is often used to kill people en masse. Such weapons are not legal for hunting in most states, nor should they be. The excuse that an assault-style weapon is needed for self-defense or for shooting “varmints” around the house is, I feel, laughable at best.

My wife and I own handguns for personal protection and shotguns and rifles for hunting. Every three months, I venture down to Roanoke to a firing range to keep my target acquisition and marksmanship in form.  I have a valid concealed carry permit.

Seven years ago, after a motorcycle accident that left me with broken bones and a closed-head brain injury, the neuropsychologist who treated me and tested my mental functions, provided a necessary letter to Virginia’s Department of Motor Vehicles to certify that I still have the capacity to drive.

Because of that requirement, I checked with the Sheriff’s Department and the state Attorney General’s office in Richmond to see if I needed to submit to a test or have a letter from the psychologist to keep my concealed carry permit valid. Turned out the state has no requirement for those who have suffered a brain injury.

In 2015, a candidate for sheriff in Floyd County, unhappy with my coverage of his campaign, posted on social media that the county should revoke my concealed carry permit because of my damaged brain. I discussed the issue with Judge Marc Long who said there was no need for concern.

I was willing then and am willing now, to submit to a mental exam to judge my fitness to own or carry a firearm. Would others?

 

 

 

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