In the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, the question arises again and again and again: What is this country going to do to prevent mass killings?
Does anyone know?
Some believe stronger gun control is the answer, stricter background checks, and limits on the types of guns, ammunition and weapons a person can own. That argument is countered by those who say criminals and those seeking to harm others will get guns, in whatever way is necessary, that such gun controls would only keep guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens, who could have protected themselves.
Others believe the answer starts at home with better parenting, giving parents more tools to do their jobs better, giving children a stronger sense of place and purpose.
Many believe increased government involvement and more social programs to help people struggling with personal issues could be a solution. Provide more assistance early, before it’s too late.
Public schools aren’t being adequately funded to teach all students equally well, others argue, which leads to trouble down the road.
Some say the only real way to change anything starts with each of us, individually, and how we treat others. Be nice, be courteous, be respectful, and others will follow suit.
There are more who will insist this country has turned away from God’s word, has rejected God as many did in the Old Testament, and is continuing to reap the results of life in a fallen world, and the only way to have peace is to turn back to God and follow his commands.
It’s hard to say.
Investigators still don’t have a clear motive for why Stephen Paddock opened fire on a concert crowd and killed 58 people and injured hundreds more. We don’t know what drove him to do what he did, and it’s likely we never will. The only thing that is clear is that he had more mental issues than even his family and friends were aware of.
Two of Hawaii’s elected leaders are trying to do what really is the only thing they can: Propose more laws meant to keep people safe.
Hawaii Sen. Mazie K. Hirono joined Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), and 14 colleagues to introduce the Keep Americans Safe Act – a proposal to ban the importation, sale, manufacture, transfer, or possession of gun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
“I urge my colleagues to join us in putting an end to the epidemic of mass shootings in our country,” Hirono said. “The Keeping Americans Safe Act is a commonsense bill that will help address one part of this senseless violence. Until we take action, it’s only a matter of time until the next tragedy.”
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard supported bipartisan legislation as an original cosponsor to ban the manufacture, sale and use of “bump stocks” and similar devices. The legislation would also make violation of the law a felony and allow for increased penalties for offenders through a review of federal sentencing guidelines.
“In the aftermath of the Las Vegas tragedy, this bill is an important bipartisan measure that will ban devices that exploit loopholes in existing laws prohibiting automatic weapons,” she said. “I urge my colleagues to take action and support this bipartisan, commonsense legislation.”
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz had this to say:
“Today, our hearts are with the people affected by this tragedy, and with all of Las Vegas. But warm words are not enough. Thoughts and prayers won’t stop this from happening again. It’s time for Congress to finally stand up against gun violence and take action so this never happens again.”
Both Hirono and Gabbard used the same word, “commonsense,” to describe the legislation they support. What is commonsense to some, though, is the opposite to others.
This country’s leaders can continue to call for tougher gun laws. They can seek more mental health programs, better jobs and better schools. They can urge everyone to be kind. All those things could make a difference. And certainly, each of us can make a difference, too, by how we treat others.
But back to the first question. What is this country going to do to prevent mass killings?
The reality is, no one knows.
We’ll probably be asking that same question years from now.
If anyone knows an answer, please share it with this nation.