A Plea to the Sensible Majority

“Dear Congress” (Oct. 1, 2015) by Jonathan Schmock

Nearly a month after the theater shooting in Louisiana, British Journalist Dan Hodges tweeted, “In retrospect, Sandy Hook marked the end of the U.S. gun control debate. Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was over.” This sad comment is met with harsh truth nearly a month ago in Sacramento and Thursday in Oregon.

Thursday afternoon, Sept. 3, there was a shooting between the baseball field and Business building that killed one student and injured two others. City College’s Public Information Officer, Rick Brewer, states that there was a verbal conflict of some kind before shots were fired. The campus was put into lock down and Sept. 3, 2015 marked the day that the Los Rios Community College district had its first campus shooting – as if there is going to be a second.

The shootings at City College and Umpqua Community College is not a school issue, city issue or state issue; this is a national issue. Since Columbine in 1999 there have been 32 mass shootings which most Americans of sound mind recognize as being 32 too many. Columbine should have been the last straw.

That should have been the moment when the entire country banded together and demanded significant change in gun control laws. Instead, an overzealous group of feckless thugs like the N.R.A. decided that we need more straws.

32 mass shootings since 1999 is an absurd statistic. Where is the outrage? Americans are really good at complaining about things that are not really issues. When there’s a school shooting, gun lobbyists – and yes, conservatives — will blame everything except the most obvious. They’ll blame video games, movies, immigrants, poor people, Marilyn Manson and even the victims. These people are content with letting children die and their loved ones experience excruciating pain of an undesirable level before we, as a society, act.

Right now, there should be mass demonstrations in all major cities complete with signs and chants demanding that something be done. Celebrities should be promoting hashtags all over social media in favor of stronger gun control. CNN, Al-Jazeera and FOX should be gathering pundits to debate. Candle light vigils, colored ribbons, flags at half-staff, all of this should be happening right now.

“Guns Don’t Kill People…” (Oct. 2, 2015) by Jonathan Schmock

America prides itself as being “the great society.” Songs have been written describing how red-white-and-blue awesome we are from sea to shining sea; how our freedom is what sets us apart from all other nations.

Yet there is something inherently wrong with a society when someone who wants an education ends up dead next to a baseball field at 4:00 in the afternoon. Unless it’s America, this isn’t normal for a developed civilization. In fact, this is immoral.

English poet John Masefield once wrote, “There are few earthly things more beautiful than a university.” Then why do American institutions of higher learning – who claim to be the best in the world – tend to be so prone to gun related violence?

Aside from Sacramento City College and Umpqua Community College, there is also UCSB, Florida State, Santa Monica City College and Virginia Tech along with countless high schools, middles schools and even elementary schools like Sandy Hook. Talk about lack of effort.

The gun lobby blames the mentally unstable, whatever it takes to not blame guns. No doubt the shooters – most of whom were unstable — are to blame. But it is my firm belief that this mindless violence is also due to the gun lobby; a group that was once led by Charlton Heston, a man who held a musket in the air and proclaimed, “From my cold dead hands!” Who are the mentally unstable ones?

So I plead the sensible majority, Americans of sound mind, to be outraged and fight the crazies. Umpqua Community College should be the final straw. We don’t want to take everyone’s guns away, we just want to walk onto campus without the fear of being gunned down.

If America needs to be angry about something, it shouldn’t be immigrants or foreign terrorists, it should be the lack of political courage our representatives in Congress have when it comes to the gun lobby. They offer us our prayers, we want legislation. If there was ever a moment for there to be great Americans, then that moment is now.

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