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Monday, June 13, 2016

The Orlando Mass Shooting

The lull from mass shooting deaths did not last long.  Six months after the San Bernardino incident, Orlando joined the list of communities where mass shootings have taken place.  This time the targeted location was a nightclub which catered to the gay community.  It was a place where people went to enjoy themselves free from judging eyes or comments.  As of this writing, 49 lives were taken with others in critical condition.

The Republican presidential candidate was being interviewed via phone this morning on a national news show.  When asked if he still did not favor a ban on assault rifles, the candidate said "people need those weapons to defend themselves."  He stated that bad guys had the weapons so the good guys needed access to them too.  I pulled up the list of mass shootings via the internet.  In all cases there was no mention of any of the victims fighting back with their own AR-15 to defend themselves from the shooter.  The shooter in the Orlando murders used an AR-15 which has come to be the mass murderer's weapon of choice.  Allegedly there are over 3 million AR-15s in circulation in the United States.  Never has the AR-15 come to the defense of those being shot at in these mass murders.

The logic that people need assault weapons to defend themselves doesn't seem to be supportable with instances where a person having an assault weapon with them saved lives.  People purchasing a personal AR-15 as a family defense weapon shows how much faith people have in the police to protect and serve.  Three million AR-15s in circulation sounds like it's every man and woman for himself.  It's an admission that the police can't protect you from harm, so look out for yourself.

Congress obviously isn't going to come to the rescue and pass legislation outlawing assault rifles.  It would take an assault on the Capitol building itself or the families of Congressman by terrorists before that happened.  Will it be necessary for businesses to place armed personnel outside venues with their own AR-15 or other assault weapon to keep future mass murderers away?  Will screening to enter a public event require creating a safety zone which can only be entered after you are prescreened a block away from an entry point to an event?

I noticed a difference in the response by the presidential candidates when asked what needs to be done to stop these acts of violence.  The republican nominee stated that President Obama should make certain remarks against muslim extremists or resign.  The democratic nominee first offered condolences to the families of those involved, then gave some thoughtful remarks on what steps should be taken.  The republican nominee did not offer condolences and barely acknowledged the grief the families of the victims must be going through.

Since the authorities are doing nothing, it falls onto each of us to look out for ourselves.  If you go to an event make note of the security at the event.  Before you go in, ask yourself if the security is enough to stop someone with an assault rifle?  Even before buying a ticket to an event start inquiring as to what will be done to protect your safety at the event?  If the answer is not adequate don't purchase a ticket.  As with most everything, businesses will not take action to upgrade security unless they are economically impacted by a major loss of business.

If it comes down to tracking every individual who has purchased an assault weapon then let's do it.  What should an individual who has an AR-15 or other type of assault weapon fear from having to be tracked?  I would like to know which of my neighbors has one, wouldn't you?

The government has chosen to not get involved in policing who has what weapons.  So we are left to our own means to protect ourselves.  Most of these mass shootings have occurred at public locations not at private homes.  It doesn't do any good for Mr. or Mrs. Homeowner to purchase an assault weapon when their is no evidence that acts of terrorism are aimed at individual homes and families.  Do we have to attend the Super Bowl, the Olympics or a comparable event before the security of those attending is ramped up to a level where an individual can feel safe?

Lastly, for those purchasing assault weapons, tell us whom you really fear?  Are you anticipating some type of social upheaval by the poor, the disenfranchised, the homeless, the hungry, or certain other groups of people?