It has been said that in a war of ideas it is people who get killed. Unfortunately that is exactly what is transpiring throughout our country over gun violence and how best to address it.
Mass casualty events, specifically school shootings such as the most recent in Parkland, Florida, have seemingly become common place. I fear not only for our children, but for all of our citizens and what the future portends if this trend continues unabated.
Being a realist and recognizing that all societies have violent tendencies and always will, I refuse to accept the position that many have adopted that positive action is futile.
My family has been incredibly fortunate to never have had to deal with the violent death of a loved one. The same cannot be said for many of our fellow citizens. Having grandchildren attending school from kindergarten through high school, I find it inescapable to ignore our good fortune while so many others suffer. And here is the real rub: It does not have to be this way.
I have been an owner of firearms my entire adult life. I support a person’s right to protect themselves and their family. However I also support the right of society in a democratic system to enact reasonable safeguards for the well being of all.
It is time to ban semi-automatic assault rifles, such as the ones we have seen used in numerous mass killings. Much of the carnage created by those who carry out these heinous acts can be directly attributable to their weapon of choice. Yes, shootings will still occur without these weapons available, but it is just pure common sense that with less firepower and capacity there will be fewer victims. What price is the life of a child?
We also need to fund additional security for schools, to include an on-campus police presence when school is in session. Sound expensive? Absolutely. I have an idea. How about instead of giving corporations billions of dollars in tax breaks we send that money to our schools and put our money where our mouths are when we say that the life of a child is priceless?
Again, this would not eliminate all school shootings, but it would undoubtedly lessen attacks and casualties.
There is much more that can be done in the arena of background checks, mental health and social media. What we don’t need are more studies. There is not a lack of information; there is a lack of will. That must change.
A year or so ago, my little grandson said something from his car seat that at first I could not make out. After having him repeat it, I realized he had said “With great power comes great responsibility.” It took me a minute to comprehend this from a 3 year-old, but then he said “Spider-Man.”
I am afraid that Spider-Man is not going to fix our problems. No superheroes; just us. Our elected officials will be judged by history, and right now it is not looking really good for them.
We would all be well served if they heeded the words of Spider-Man. It is my wish that our grandchildren will someday see this happen.
Dan Kimball of Olympia is retired from a career in law enforcement and is a former Thurston County sheriff.