Opinion | After Nashville shooting, will anything change?

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Regarding the March 28 front-page article “6 slain in shooting at Nashville school”:

How long until someone, anyone, gets serious about gun safety? No more debate about half-measures. We must at last confront the fact that many measures are needed to achieve gun safety:

  • Strict liability for manufacturers, buyers, sellers, owners and users.
  • Mandatory liability and medical insurance for manufacturers, buyers, sellers, owners and users.
  • Mandatory licensing and education for sellers, buyers, owners and users.
  • Registration and taxes on gun sales and ownership, with the revenue paying for the carnage.
  • An outright ban on assault rifles, other machine guns, semiautomatic weapons and large clips.
  • Strict regulations for handguns. Require proof of need for such a weapon: national defense, law enforcement, protection from grizzly bears, rattlesnakes, etc.

Another fatal shooting, this time in Nashville with three children and three adults dead. How many more have to die? How many more severely injured? There have been 130 mass shootings this year, and it’s only March. When will Congress get off its collective behinds and do something constructive? Something other than investigations? What will it take for Congress to act on gun regulations?

Marshall Cossman, Grand Blanc, Mich.

On Monday it was Nashville. In February, it was Michigan State University. Back in January, it was Half Moon Bay, Monterey Park and Goshen, all in California plus Enoch, Utah. And, as Sonny and Cher used to sing, the beat goes on.

The polls show the usual split in identifying the reasons. But the kids in Uvalde, Tex., the citizens of Highland Park, Ill., the residents in Hialeah, Fla., or the teachers and students at Virginia Tech are beyond questioning the reasons. They no longer have any interest in polls.

So, is there a poll that might finally get someone to do something? Well, here is a suggestion. A proposed poll would ask the question: Do we currently have more than, fewer than or about the right number of firearm deaths annually? The sponsoring organization needs to be universally recognized as fair and unbiased and should analyze the responses in the usual manner of such things: by political affiliation, gender, age and geographic location.

The results need to be shared with those responsible for implementing our laws so they can understand what their constituents are thinking without any political posturing. The results of such a poll should prove most interesting.

Kenneth Janowski, Florence, Ore.

In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” the large eyeglasses of T.J. Eckleburg on a billboard watch over the Valley of Ashes but have no vision. Symbolically, business turns a blind eye to the wasteland it creates and removes itself from the grotesque horror.

These themes hit too close to home with the Nashville massacre at a Christian school. Loved ones from my family live less than three miles away and send their 2- and 5-year-olds to day care near the school where the tragedy took place.

Relying on MAGA supporters and Republican politicians to stop the carnage is about as wise as getting into a car with a blind and drunk driver. The politicians presiding over this decades-long mess could pass another assault weapons ban, which previously reduced these murder sprees by 37 percent. Universal background checks, including at gun shows and for private sales, would also denote common-sense logic and reasonable public policy.

But we don’t have honesty, good faith and fairness coming from Washington politicians accepting obscene amounts of money from the gun lobby. The selfishness, callousness and vicious recklessness are criminal.

“Unclean hands” is a centuries-old equity defense against immoral, bad faith and unethical conduct, which seeks to use the legal system to ratify fraud against another party. The court acts of its own accord and protects the institution by dismissing the case outright. The legal system and society must be protected. Politicians in Washington are certainly amoral, but their hands are not merely unclean with dirt, but also incarnadined and besmirched with innocent blood.

Another school shooting? The coverage of Monday’s horrific tragedy is becoming routine and scripted to the point that it seems like a broken record — as yet. I have not heard anyone say this is the “new normal,” though, I am certain someone will. There is nothing normal about this, as now Nashville is added to the litany of mass shootings.

There are three thoughts I would offer any reasonable person to consider, regarding the Nashville shooting.

First, the shooter was armed with two assault-style rifles. Whenever these events occur, the gun lobby is quick to quote the Second Amendment. However, that is absurd as it was never intended to cover weapons of this type. To argue this point is, quite simply, nonsense.

Second, after these events, people ask “what was the shooter’s state of mind” and “what can be done to improve mental health screening?” Those are fair questions. But I also feel posing the same questions to representatives, senator and gun lobbyists would be a fair proposition. After all, what sort of disturbed mind can place ownership of an assault rifle above the life of a child?

Finally, although I am not a lawyer, I wonder if a skilled attorney could make a case using Title 18 U.S. Code, Section 2 against representatives, senators and gun lobbyists who are aiding and abetting the commission of these tragedies. By their refusal to implement reasonable laws and procedures, and with full knowledge these tragedies will continue to occur, they are fostering an environment in which innocent men, women and children will die.

Joseph L. Gude Jr., Frederick

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