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Crosstalk: Tragedy revives gun argument

President Donald Trump was a class act following last week’s mass shooting in Las Vegas that left 58 victims dead and 527 injured. The gunman was also killed.

While Leftists began exploiting the situation by howling for gun control before the bodies of the victims had even cooled, the president refused to be drawn into a political debate.

Pressed by reporters to engage on the gun control issue, the president said only, “At some point, perhaps that will come. But that’s not for now; that’s for a later time.”

Trump’s message to survivors was that America was a “nation in mourning” and that the deadly rampage by shooter Stephen Paddock, 64, of Nevada was an “act of pure evil.”

“Hundreds of our fellow citizens are now mourning the sudden loss of a loved one — a parent, a child, a brother or sister. We cannot fathom their pain. We cannot imagine their loss. To the families of the victims: We are praying for you and we are here for you, and we ask God to help see you through this very dark period,” he said.

Trump also praised emergency responders and military veterans for their courageous efforts to save lives, even at the risk of their own.

“In moments of tragedy and horror, America comes together as one – and it always has,” he said.

Contrast his unifying message with the statements made by numerous Democratic leaders, who saw an opportunity to further their agenda, regardless of the fact — or perhaps because of it — that they were creating further division in an already polarized nation.

Hillary Clinton, who is known for her empathetic personality (obviously, a joke) was one of the first on the agenda-driven bandwagon.

After stating that politics needed to be put aside, she immediately launched into politics by urging people to stand up to the National Rifle Association and pursue gun control legislation.

Clinton was joined in her callous and polarizing comments by Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi, Elizabeth Warren and Steny Hoyer. None of them appeared to have an conscience about using the blood of innocents to score points in the political arena.

Things got worse elsewhere in the “party of tolerance and diversity.”

Liberal talking heads speculated endlessly about weapons and motives, many showing their complete ignorance of the issue by erroneously describing the functions or operational capabilities of a gun.

The New York Times and other Leftmedia gave out ridiculously inaccurate statistics about mass murders in an attempt to make them look like an every day occurrence.

ABC late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel blamed GOP “nuts” for the massacre and said they should pray for God’s forgiveness.

Even more horrifying was the social media post from senior CBS lawyer Hayley Geftman-Gold: “I’m actually not even sympathetic [because] country music fans are often Republican gun toters.” At least the station had enough decency to fire her.

A liberal teacher posted: “Pray only Trumptards died.”

I could go on and on about the horrendous remarks made by liberals, but I would like to get to the heart of the issue: The problem is not guns, the problem is that something that has gone horribly wrong in our society.

Evil cowards intent on hurting others will find a way to do so; whether it be bombs, knife attacks or running down innocent people in vehicles. What we need to be asking is where this descent into madness has come from.

How have we gotten to the point in a civil society that human beings are no longer valued? This country was anchored in Judeo-Christian principles teaching us that all life is valuable because we are made in the image of God.

Americans need to heed these words by Martin Luther King, Jr., “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” He was a very wise man in that he knew that true change could only occur when people came together.

— RaeLynn Ricarte

I find it disconcerting that the long-standing ban on civilian use of machine guns has fallen by the wayside.

I remember back in the 1990s I was filling in on the police beat and there was a log entry from the Wasco County Sheriff 's office of an automatic weapon being fired at a gravel pit off Highway 30 near the Discovery Center.

The location was a popular shooting site and a deputy responded. He identified the shooter as an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with proper identification and permits if not a whole lot of common sense.

Not so long ago I was sitting in my back yard when a man walked out of the woods wearing an odd looking harness. He acted rather strange, in my view, and left the way he came.

Not many days after, a SWAT team was surrounding his house, about a half mile away, as his wife barricaded herself in the bathroom. That odd looking harness and vest I saw him wearing was a pseudo military tactical outfit, like what you might find in a “guns and ammo” magazine. He didn't hurt anyone, and I haven't seen him since.

And just a couple of months ago I was standing high up on a cliff overlooking the Deschutes River waiting for the moon to cover the sun when I heard the “rattle crack” of a machine gun echoing up the draw to my left.

I couldn't tell where the shots were coming from, but it was clearly coming from a fully automatic machine gun.

I have always assumed that a soldier-turned-civilian could easily modify one for automatic fire (and I am right) but I didn't know, prior to the shooting in Las Vegas, that like bullet-proof vests and military harnesses, “bump stocks” and “cranks” were also available by mail order, giving any yahoo with a few dollars the ability to automate their weapon.

That FBI agent years ago firing his machine gun out by the Discovery Center is now outclassed, in terms of weaponry, by civilian “gun enthusiasts.”

There are those who say the AR-15 is “just a rifle,” and on one level that is true. They are lighter than my little single-shot .22 caliber rifle, and with even a standard magazine hold plenty of shells. They are a versatile and amazingly engineered weapon.

But AR stands for “assault rifle,” and assault rifles were designed for military use, which is to say killing people as quickly and efficiently as possible.

This past summer I saw a photo from the Associated Press taken on the streets of Portland. It showed a woman walking down the street with an assault-style rifle during an “open carry” demonstration. She had it slung low off her hip, the way you see soldiers carry it on patrol. I don't recall whether she was a “gun-toting conservative” or an “anti-fa liberal,” but I was horrified: If her gun had gone off the bullet would have ricocheted off the pavement into the crowd.

I guess folks today don't put much emphasis on gun safety like we did when I was a boy. Even my little single-shot can kill someone if it is misused or handled carelessly.

Congress is considering banning “bump stocks,” but it is unclear whether that ban will include other “add on” methods or modifications that allow fully automatic firing of the weapon. It seems to me the ban on machine guns, already in place, should have covered any method of automating a weapon: But the narrow “let’s not violate anyone’s gun rights” language of the ban was apparently not up to snuff.

You can't buy or carry a switchblade knife in Oregon, or even a double-edged dagger. Yet a fully-automatic rifle is legal?

Will a ban stop the killing? No. But a ban will at least set the parameters for what is, and is not, responsible gun ownership.

Responsible gun use needs to be addressed not only by Congress but by all those who purchase, collect, use or market these lethal tools.

Those who manufacture, market and sell “bump stocks,” for example, need to ask themselves how many of those killed in Las Vegas died because they made automating a semi-automatic cheap and easy.

— Mark Gibson

Comments

muttdad 1 week, 5 days ago

Mr. Gibson needs to get his facts straight. If you're going to talk about fire arms get the terminology right. AR does not stand for assault rifle. It stands for Armalite Rifle the first company to manufacture Eugene Stoner's design in the 1950's. Also what part of semi-automatic do you not understand ?

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