Americans Must Take on a Debate about Gun Control and Violence
A New Year's homicide in Long Branch left four dead, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office (Photo USA Today)

We Americans are proud to say we absolutely are the best country in the history of the world. Through hard work, spirit, determination, and the good old-fashion courage and resolve of the American people, we’ve managed to lead our way into a free democracy the world has always looked up to. Except for our gun control laws and violence.

The 2016 presidential election has been one of the most stressful ones for the American people, with data from a Stress in America™ poll showing it was equally stressful for Republicans and Democrats.

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Before 2016, two straight elections were focused on the economic issues. The contested campaigns between now President Trump and Hilary Clinton also took shape around economic issues with a dose of alternative facts and false statements to discredit how the economy had improved dramatically under President Obama—unemployment rate down, job growth consistently strong, with corporate profits and financial markets that had both rebounded strongly from their recession-era lows.

Few other issues populated the agenda of both candidates: Affordable Care Act, national security, infrastructure, and immigration. Gun control only came into the spotlight as both candidates took advantage of Orlando’s Pulse nightclub mass shooting.

Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump’s first tweet about the shooting was a fairly measured comment. “Really bad shooting in Orlando. Police investigating possible terrorism. Many people dead and wounded.”

Then an hour and a half later he took to Twitter again, returning to campaign trail politics in an attempt to falsely recast a verbal attack he made against a disabled journalist. And soon posting another tweet to take credit for “being right on radical Islamic terrorism,” and fully attacking president Obama saying, “Is President Obama going to finally mention the words radical Islamic terrorism? If he doesn’t he should immediately resign in disgrace!”

The presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton had a more conventional approach, noting concern for the victims and seeking to address the main issues of the tragedy that people already were debating on social media — terrorism, gun control, and gay rights.

But were indeed gun control and violence topics of debate?

Beyond the rhetoric that Democrats want to take away the American people’s right to bear arm; that guns don’t kill but the people bearing them who are not law-abiding citizens; beyond the right to defend ourselves, a civilized debate about common-sense solutions to reduce gun violence is slipping through a crack most politicians are ignoring widely.

The majority of Americans support policies that can help save lives from gun violence. Why can’t this be a topic of debate to find common grounds for the well-being of all and to avoid repeated mass shooting. Gun violence claims 33,000 American lives every year and injures many more.

Why does the NRA have so much power to stifle the voice of the U.S. Congress and Senate?

Why don’t Democrats and progressive members of Congress and Senate follow through with the same impetus they take to the microphones after a mass shooting happens, and make sure something is done to protect our communities from gun violence while still protecting the Second Amendment?

As these questions continue to go unanswered, we need to look beyond the blissful happiness from our economic gains, our crusade to fight terrorism, and our innocuously conceived but senseless isolationism—a.k.a. Make America Great Again.

Americans lives are becoming a statistical number that speaks about violence and misuse of existing gun laws.

Gun advocates say “guns don’t kill people; people kill people,” and that we must focus on keeping guns away from dangerous people, not on guns.

While this makes sense, and in fact guns should really be kept out of the hands of dangerous people like domestic abusers and convicted criminals, the reality is America has become a more violent society and proof of that is the exponentially growing number of violent deaths each year, with tens of thousands of deaths and injuries.

So addressing how arms get to the hands of each and every American – not only those considered bad people – must be a priority for this administration. Ending gun violence isn’t a red or blue issue. Protecting lives from gun violence requires the leadership of all Americans — regardless of party.

President Trump in his election night victory speech said:

Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division; have to get together. To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people.

(APPLAUSE)

It’s time. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans, and this is so important to me.

(APPLAUSE)

The President, Republicans in Congress, and Republicans in the Senate stand in the way of stronger gun laws that would reduce deaths. They fear alienating their primary voters and the National Rifle Association interest, for which they lobby and donate excessively to Republicans primarily. They refuse to stem the bloodshed of gun violence for obvious reasons.

While The National Rifle Association donates millions of dollars every year to Republican lawmakers in Congress, those same Republicans line up uniformly to block proposed gun control laws.

Have we heard any legislation derived from the deadliest mass shootings in modern US history, Orlando and Las Vegas?

Are we hearing any legislation to reduce the daily killing by guns of one, two, three, four or five Americans as they happen each day in different cities all over the country?

As we dive into 2018, gun control should be priority of this administration, also for Congress and Senate members because Americans are more likely to die from gun violence than many leading causes of death combined. Americans are not guaranteed not to become a victim of a senseless gun violent occurrence that can silence their lives.

The more guns are being sold, the more attraction people have towards possessing assault riffles, the more time young people play violent games, watch violent movies, and listen to violent songs, the more exposed to death by guns innocent people might be when insanity kicks in.

On January 2, 2016, officers in Tulsa, Oklahoma responded around 1:15 p.m. to the Riverview Park Apartments near South Jackson Avenue and West 23rd Street where 60-year old Jeffrey Gooden was shot and killed as he was trying to break up an argument over a girl being outside without shoes on.

He was the year’s first murder.

365 days after his death, a 16-year-old boy killed his parents, his sister and a family friend in the state of New Jersey at the stroke of midnight with a semiautomatic rifle and was arrested by authorities.

The quadruple homicide occurred in the town of Long Branch, on the Atlantic coast. An unidentified person reported the shooting to the police around 23.45 local time on Sunday. The suspect, Scott Kologi, opened fire less than 20 minutes before the family would have rung in the new year. He had a Century Arms rifle legally owned and registered to a family member in the home, according to police reports.

Kologi has been charged as a juvenile with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose.

But he left the Jersey Shore town shaken.

So did America as it entered 2018.

Americans Must Take on a Debate about Gun Control and Violence. Whenever a mass shooting occurs, supporters of gun rights often argue that it’s inappropriate to bring up political debates about gun control in the aftermath of a tragedy. But when will they do it? It’s time to start the debate.