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I got the news in the middle of the night, after waking up from a fitful sleep to sit at my computer for a few minutes. My heart sank. My first thoughts were of the people in that crowd and how that 20 minutes ended the lives of so many and changed the lives of thousands of others.

My second thought was of a friend of mine from Fort Worth who had written just hours earlier to say she couldn’t believe she was in Las Vegas. Then I thought of two friends who helped build the club where the shooter posted up and of another Fort Worth friend, who owns three cupcake stores on the strip. Were they safe? Had they been at the Route 91 Harvest festival? Were they walking on the street and got caught in the stampede?

I’ve heard from only two of them. The one who had just landed in Vegas was next door when the shooting happened and saw the people running – she’s shaken up but OK. The cupcake woman is OK, too. I have yet to hear from the friends who worked on Mandalay Bay.

All of us are asking why this happened. We’re not likely to get an answer. The police and FBI say killer Stephen Paddock had an absolutely clean record. One of the gun dealers who sold Paddock some of the weapons in his hotel room said Paddock seemed perfectly normal to him. Paddock himself can’t answer because the SWAT team that burst into his room said he was already dead from a self-inflicted gunshot. And he apparently left no notes to explain why he did what he did. 

He certainly didn’t just snap. This was well thought out, a planned action. Why?

As in Nevada, here in Texas open carry is permitted. Supporters say that you need a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun. That would not have helped in this case. It might help sometimes. The owner of the gas station on the corner is always strapped because he is determined not to get robbed again. Understandable.

A little less understandable are the customers at the Walmart and HEB in Burleson walking around with semi-automatics hanging from their shoulders. It’s the law, and I’ll live with it, but I would never imagine any of these guys saving anyone from anything. In fact, I actually get the heck out of any aisle they’re in because I don’t want to get caught in the line of fire of anyone who thinks he’s going to be a hero. 

While we may never know the “why” of Paddock’s hellish rampage, we do know the “how.” And the how involves guns. His weapons didn’t choose to kill those people, but they sure helped him do it. So what do we do now? Nobody wants to take guns away from American citizens, but there must be some room for making changes in our system to see that the future Paddocks of the world do not get their hands on weapons that can do so much destruction so quickly. Do we bother to close the “gun show” loophole? Do we make it illegal to manufacture or sell semi-automatics that can be easily converted to full automatics? Do we just put our heads in the sand until the next mass shooting or the one after that? That’s what we have been doing. The president’s spokesperson said it’s “premature” to discuss guns. Trump himself said, “We’ll get around” to discussing guns at some point in the indeterminate future. Meanwhile, Congress is set to vote on a bill this week that would legalize silencers.

Not good enough. I don’t know what’s good enough, but anything would be better than keeping our heads in the sand or waiting until later to even broach the subject. 

9 COMMENTS

  1. There is no such thing as a “gun show” loophole. It’s very common for individuals to buy and sell guns to one another. A gun show just happens to be a great location to find buyers and sellers.

  2. What gunshow loop hole? Are their still reporters that just hear a phrase in the media and repeat it like it’s fact without doing any research or verifying any facts?

  3. WHAT gunshow loophole? No semiautomatics cannot be easily converted to full automatic weapons. What’s the point in talking about gun violence using incorrect information? Stick to music FWWeekly. The media is bad enough already…

  4. The ability to sell guns to people without background checks at gunshows–which occurred long before people were selling them over the internet or on Craig’s list–was termed “gunshow loophole” ages ago. Having been to gun shows plenty, that’s the term used, so there is no “hearing a phrase” and repeating it here. That’s the name of the loophole that allows gun sales to strangers without even the barest of bare background checks.
    For some people “easily converted” is easy. Some people might find it difficult. Overall it is not on the level of rebuilding an engine or a transmission, so that makes it at least reasonably easy, in my opinion. Of course, if someone just can’t do it, they can find someone who will do it for them.
    Oh, and if you noticed, I am not for taking anyone’s guns away.

  5. The last statement on silencers caught my attention because it is a misinformed repeat of HRC’s statement. There are no silencers like those in the movies. A suppressor does reduce the sound somewhat-the levels that a safe or near safe for people operating the firearms without hearing protection. They do not “silence” firearms. Many Americans own suppressors, but are required to pay a $200 tax and get a extensive background check. Suppressors are legal for hunting in Texas. A suppressor actually makes a firearm safer for the user.

  6. If suppressors are already available, well, we don’t need to loosen the restrictions, do we? So why are we talking about loosening the regs? Buy damned ear plugs or wear earphones like musicians do, and stop wimpering about the sound!
    The problem with the NRA arguments is that while 99.7 percent, give or take, of gun owners will never kill anyone with them—my brother, a cop in NYC for 30 years, including the Bronx, Brooklyn, etc, never even drew his gun, yet still physically wrestled 6 men with guns out of their guns, typical good NYC police work, earning a boat load of commendations—the other .3 percent will. Something along the line of half of suicides are from self-inflicted gunshot wounds. There is, this year, an average of one mass killing per day (272 in 274 days, including Vegas). The gang killings, the revenge killings, almost always include guns. Do I have the answers? No. But should there be a conversation about weapons that have rained down death on hundreds of thousands of people, mostly family, friends, self, in the last 10 years? Damned straight there should be that conversation. Unfettered access does not work. Outlawing won’t work. But there has to be some room to negotiate: Why are moms buying guns for their crazy kids? Why are dads leaving guns out in the open for their children to play with? These are legit questions. Denying that is denying reality. All most libs are after is a conversation, since most libs too own guns. I love Chris Rock: Buy all the guns you want, but each shell costs $5 grand. Might not be the right solution, but we can start with that and dance. If you don’t start at all, then nothing improves.

  7. FAMOUS LIES:
    1) “The check’s in the mail.”
    2) “I won’t do it in your mouth.”
    3) “A shooting that kills one person and injures three is a MASS KILLING.”
    4) “I fully support the Second Amendment.”
    5) “No one’s trying to take your guns away.”

    • George: You know you are lying, right? Just because you know you are lying does not make it right, or even acceptable. A mass killing involves 4 dead people, not 3 injured. And no, no one is trying to take your guns away. They’re just thinking that maybe, in the future, there might be a better way to distribute them. Like maybe making gun manufacturers keep a record on what they have sold and to what stores. Or maybe, like car ownership, having people pass a record down from seller to seller, so that when someone commits an atrocity with a gun you or someone else used to own, we can track that a little bit. You know, common sense to most of the population that’s really not afraid of the government or anyone else.

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