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Saturday, July 09, 2016

National mourning in response to growing carnage and preventable gun violence

Crying, again this Saturday morning, for the loss of life of brilliant Dallas Police Officers and here are their heroic names:

Alton Sterling+

Philando Castile+

Officers Michael Krol+

Brent Thompson+

Patrick Zamarripa+

Lorne Ahrens+

Michael Smith+

"We tell ourselves we’re a religious country, but these are not the acts of any belief system that preaches mercy, compassion, or forgiveness."-  Ty Burr, The Boston Globe

Flowers placed outside Jack Evans Police Headquarters in Dallas on Friday.- Nathan Hunsinger The Dallas Morning News
Americans wake up crying a lot about the preventable loss of young lives by gun violence. If we're not crying about victims, we begin our days enraged by the incompetence of our Congress and many state lawmakers who do virtually nothing to stop this senseless epidemic. If gun violence were bird flu, we'd be engaged in a public health catastrophe!
Many times, the circumstances around the killing of innocents are so brutal that the news media hardly remembers to give their names. Even when their names are given, they are not the lead in the reports. Somehow, the facts are more important than the person victimized by the bloody situations in which they were the primary victims.
In The Boston Globethe frustration is described: "It seems lately as though there are two types of people in this fallen world. One group, in response to senseless violence, despairs and marches and hopes the wrongs of our society can be changed through peaceful and direct action. Other people allow anger to overcome despair, allow fear to metastasize into vengefulness, and wish they could lash out violently or in retribution against those they believe are representative of the enemies in their heads. A fraction of such people do lash out. The people they kill and wound are not their enemies, of course. They’re simply more victims. And the wheel rolls on."

Meanwhile, our nation is in perpetual mourning. Someplace in America there is always somebody who is grieving because they are the bereaved, the survivors of a person killed by preventable gun violence.  This is absolutely intolerable!  

Moreover, it's even more ludicrous because solving the growing problem of preventable gun violence is common sense gun reform. If Americans can cure infectious diseases, advance the treatment of cancers, put men on the moon and invent "smart phones", it's incredulous that we can't solve the problems caused by growing gun violence. This cure doesn't take a chemistry lab or a double blind study. All it would take to curb the growth of preventable gun violence and the resulting insanity is for the US Congress and state governments to regulate the use of assault weapons and the ammunition needed to use them, for the purpose of killing people.  We could do this today if the government would institute a gun tax and increase the ante for purchases of assault weapon ammunition.  Obviously, taxing our Second Amendment purchases would do little in retrospect, but it would at least show a commitment by lawmakers to do something for future generations to draw attention to the urgency of stopping gun violence carnage.

Tragically, the number of police officers shot and killed in the USA is 44% higher than at this time last year, following the Dallas ambush Thursday (July 6) night that left five officers dead, according to data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

In fact, the deaths of the Dallas police officers and one Dallas transit officer from sniper fire during a protest in the city Thursday raised the national total of firearm deaths among police to 26. This compares with 18 at this point in time in 2015, said Nick Breul, director of research for the fund in Washington, D.C.

Breul said it was also the latest of 11 ambushes of police officers so far this year across the country, already outpacing the eight ambushes of law enforcement that occurred last year.

"That's certainly a concern for us. It's troubling and it's something that we watch," Breul, a former Washington, D.C., police officer, said about the shootings. "It's really an assassination. You're taking advantage of an officer and you're ensuring that you're able to kill them through them either being vulnerable or through a complete surprise attack."

July 8, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Supporters held signs Friday afternoon during a prayer vigil held at Thanksgiving Square in downtown Dallas.. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Walker/Times Record News via USA TODAY NETWORK ORIG FILE ID: 201600708_pjc_gan_003.JPG Christopher Walker, Times Record News-USA TODAY NETW

There's no excuse for this continual mourning. 

All gun violence deaths moving forward are, in part, the result of government inaction, in response to the growing epidemic. Lawmakers like Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republicans and Senate leader Mitch McConnell, also a Republican, never show up at these memorial services. Nevertheless, their political calls for "moments of silence", to remember the lost lives of the victims and to respect their grieving families, will not squelch the anguish of those who are left behind to deal with the carnage

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