It’s been 10 days since I wrote about the last gun massacre. Eleven people were killed and six injured in a shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill, a Pittsburgh neighborhood.
Now, it’s happened again. On Wednesday, 12 people, including a sheriff's sergeant, were killed at a bar in Thousand Oakes, California.
Ian David Long, 28, was dressed in black and wore a mask when he entered the Borderline Bar & Grill. Long threw smoke bombs and used a Glock 21 .45-caliber handgun, which had been modified with an extended magazine, law enforcement officials said.
The gunman, who served in the U.S. Marines, may have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said in a Los Angeles Times article.
My heart goes out to the families whose loved ones died Wednesday. But, we need more than thoughts and prayers.
We need responsible gun legislation and mental illness programs. In addition, I think American leaders need to investigate hate mongering, violent images aimed at children, the lack of programs to help trouble youth, job related triggers, and other factors that may contribute to mass murders.
Where’s the blue ribbon panel on stopping mass killings?
If government officials won’t set one up, organizations and citizens need to take the lead then get officials to take action.
The majority of Americans say gun laws should be stricter, according to a Pew Research Poll.
Do research to which of the state legislators and members of Congress support responsible gun legislation. Vote for them and support their efforts.
In Washington state where I live, Initiative 1639 was on the ballot Nov. 6. It raises the age for the purchase of semi-automatic rifles to 21. It also broadens background checks for purchases of these weapons.
“307. So far this year, there have been 307 mass shootings,” said Gabby Giffords, former U.S. Representative from Arizona who was shot at a constituent meeting held in a supermarket parking lot. “Do we really want to raise our children in a country where mass shootings are a weekly occurrence? A country where every single day in America, more than 90 people are killed with guns?”
This level of gun violence doesn’t happen in any other high-income country, Giffords, co-founder of Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said.
“I’m heartbroken, I’m angry, and I’m never going to accept this as normal,” she said.
Gifford said it’s time to come together and pass legislation that will start putting the country back on the right track, adding that legislation that will prevent guns from landing in the wrong hands will save lives.