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What Will Happen After The Human Slaughter In Las Vegas?
October 03, 2017

Top photo: The late Stephen Paddock, suspect in Sunday night's mass shooting in Las Vegas. Photo: Twitter. Bottom: the business end of a handgun.
Chronicle opinion
By Rex D. Cain

(REGIONAL) -- What is likely to happen after Sunday's night well planned, well executed and merciless slaughter of human beings in Las Vegas with fully automatic weapon firepower?

Meaning what might anyone in a position of authority, lawmakers for example, actually do to try and prevent a repeat performance somewhere else?

Nothing. Not a darned thing. Lawmakers, most of whom are bought and paid for by the gun lobby (if you're talking conservatives, Republicans and a few conservative Democrats) remain frozen with fear at the very mention of gun laws, gun control, gun safety etc.

Every time there is a slaughter like the one Sunday the SOP is to put out the obligatory statements: "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims families...." blah, blah, blah.

That's the routine PR statement after every slaughter with guns. They recycle it time and again just changing the dates, locations and the body count.

The problem is, Mr. and Ms. Lawmaker, your statements of prayers and thoughtful feelings don't mean a damned thing. They are empty, hollow words. Those people in Vegas and Sandy Hook and elsewhere are dead and they will stay dead.

Every day for the rest of their lives their family and friends will mourn their loss and your kind statements of condolence will be long forgotten while you go through reelection after reelection to that soft government job that requires no real heavy lifting, no courage just showing up to follow the party line.

Conversely, some on the left will (yet again) predictably call for more gun control laws. And that will go nowhere for two main reasons. One, the above mentioned bought and paid for lawmakers and two, there is a huge, serious divide in America over the entire issue of guns.

The great divide

Millions of Americans associate owning a gun and carrying one with freedom -- while most other folks in modern democracies do not have such a hard and fast attachment to being able to have a bedroom closet full of Sig-Saur 9mm semi-autos and AR-15's decked out with red dot lasers and Surefire flashlights attached to the piccatinny rails of those bad boys.

Those folks in other democracies look at us as though we're insane. "What are you Americans so afraid of that you have to have so many guns?" they ask. "We don't have half the guns you folks do and we are not as afraid of the government or crazy people breaking into our homes in the dead of night as you are. And by your American reasoning, we should be more fearful than you are because most of us don't have guns in the home."

And they have a point. Many Americans seem to be very fearful folks (maybe it's in our DNA) and guns make them feel less fearful, more brave, more able to take care of themselves and families in a bad situation. And there's truth in that.

A gun is the great equalizer. It makes a frail 78-year old grandma as powerful as a strapping young man who's just busted down her front door with bad intentions in mind.

The counter balance

Now, having a set of lawmakers purchased and controlled by the gun lobby is not necessarily a bad thing in general if you think about it.

At best, they do stand as a counter balance to the worst proclivities of those on the far left who would scoop up all the guns and melt them down into plowshares if they could and then hand out bows and arrows as replacements.

Some people on the left feel if they don't need to own a gun to feel safe (a nice espresso machine will do) then nobody else does either.

Some on the right feel a left wing socialist dirtbag is a gun owner waiting to happen. All that lefty needs they think is a career felon sociopath to come through his bedroom window at 3 am, tie him up, rape his wife in front of him then bludgeon them both nearly to death with a hammer.

So there is the great divide. But there is a third way, a better way to go than this pro-gun, anti-gun nonsense which gets us no safer and nowhere better down the road.

The third way: baby steps. We've done it before

CNN's Fareed Zakaria, in his daily "Global Briefing" memo mentions a piece by Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times that our nation's responses to other threats to public safety suggest that even a series of “modest steps” can make a dramatic difference in the gun-death-carnage equation.

Kristof says take automobile safety for example and think baby steps:

“By my calculations, we’ve reduced the auto fatality rate per 100 million miles driven by more than 95 percent since 1921. There was no single solution but rather many incremental efforts: seatbelts, air bags, padded dashboards, better bumpers, lighted roads, highway guardrails, graduated licenses for young people, crackdowns on drunken driving, limits on left turns, and so on. We haven’t banned automobiles, and we haven’t eliminated auto deaths, but we have learned to make them safer -- and we should do the same with guns."

And that is a smart approach. Baby steps both the right and left can agree on and taken over time that will make a positive difference in terms of lives saved yet not make gun owners and the NRA nervous that the evil federal guvment is out to take their guns away.

Putting pressure on gun makers

The other thing we as consumers can do, as well as the US Congress if it had a lick of sense, is put hard pressure on gun manufacturers to get off their complacent asses and produce a true "smart gun" that cannot be fired by anyone but the rightful (legal) owner.

Use DNA sensors, use fingerprint technology, voodoo, whatever. But get on it NOW instead of year after year cranking out the same old 20th century technology and saying it can't be done.

You guys are starting to look as dumb as donuts.

We say unleash the smart, category-killer guys at Uber and Tesla to do a firearms industry "disruption" like they've accomplished in the transportation markets and in 18 months to 2 years they'll have one hell of a safe gun and make a fortune with it.

C'mon gun manufacturers. Snub nose .38's and the same old striker fired 9 mm's are yesterday's news, yesterday's technology, yesterday's products. Start thinking killer safety, instead of killer, ancient hardware your great grand daddy owned.

You better get moving gun manufacturers or one day Elon Musk will get a wild hair, start tinkering in his garage and steal that entire smart gun market away from you before you know what hit you. What Uber did to cab drivers, guys with the vision of Elon, Bill Gates and Zuckerberg can do to you.

The whole issue of gun safety is more important than ever because as Kristof points out in his New York Times piece:

"Since 1970, more Americans have died from guns (including suicides, murders and accidents) than the sum total of all the Americans who died in all the wars in American history, back to the American Revolution. Every day, some 92 Americans die from guns, and American kids are 14 times as likely to die from guns as children in other developed countries."



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