Inaction is the same as supporting massacres

Jim McNutt/Observer-Reporter Exterior of the Observer-Reporter building in Washington.

“Too many people have accepted the normality of mass slaughter as a necessary sacrifice to an amendment written when guns held one bullet.” – Online post from “Elizabeth M.”

Many Americans are fond of boasting about how great our country is. We’re the best at this or that, or nobody does such and such as well as we do. But there’s one area in which the United States is the absolute worst in the developed world, and that’s in making it incredibly easy for our citizens to be the victims of a relentless string of gun massacres.

The latest, of course, happened a few days ago in Las Vegas, where nearly 60 people were gunned down and more than 500 were hurt when a clearly deranged person opened fire from a high perch on people attending a country music festival.

The killer, Stephen Paddock, was in possession of 23 guns in his hotel room. He no doubt had hundreds upon hundreds of rounds of ammunition, most likely loaded into high-capacity magazines. Police said he also had devices called “bump stocks” that can allow a person to convert semi-automatic weapons into fully automatic ones. The people on the ground never had a chance.

When 20 schoolchildren were massacred in Newtown, Conn., we had reason to believe our Congress would do something – anything – to make it less likely that another incident like that would occur. They did nothing. Then came the Pulse nightclub massacre, which claimed another 50 people. Again, there was cowardly inaction from so-called “lawmakers” who, instead of putting the welfare of American citizens first, take their marching orders from and live in fear of the National Rifle Association, an organization that went from one representing hunters and sportsmen to a group that does the bidding of weapons manufacturers.

Only those on the farthest left of left-wing fringes think we should be rounding up every gun across America. But most people – and polls bear this out – want something done to make it less likely that a lunatic with a twisted grudge of some sort, or just the inability to resist the voices in his head, takes out dozens of people with military-style weaponry.

As we’ve noted many times before, it is simply common sense to close the gun show loophole, which allows people in some locales to buy guns without even a cursory check of their backgrounds. It’s also a no-brainer to prevent private citizens from owning the aforementioned “bump stocks” and high-capacity magazines. As we’ve stated repeatedly, the only practical application of a high-capacity magazine is to allow one human being to shoot as many other human beings as possible in the shortest amount of time. There also has to be a way to ensure that someone who is stockpiling military-type weapons and huge stashes of ammunition is at least on the radar of authorities.

Again, we do not believe that Americans should be prevented from owning firearms, but there’s a big difference between having the means to protect one’s home and family, and having the firepower to wipe out a whole neighborhood’s worth of people in the time it takes to prepare a three-minute egg.

Yet, all we’re hearing from the NRA’s minions in Washington, D.C., are their “thoughts and prayers” for the victims in Las Vegas and their families. That’s about as useless as it can be. Thoughts and prayers did nothing to help those who were killed and wounded in Vegas, and they’ll do nothing to protect those who will die in the next mass shooting.

Earlier this year, our Congress passed and the president quickly signed a bill overriding an order by President Obama aimed at keeping weapons out of the hands of the mentally ill. Now there are bills pending that would make it easier to buy silencers for guns and to carry concealed weapons nationwide.

Our “leaders” are not just failing to make us safer. They seem determined to do the bidding of the NRA and make it more likely that Americans will be killed in mass shootings.

This is insanity, and it needs to stop.