Everyone likes to talk. Not necessarily just gossip. There are debates on many issues. I don’t think that there is a debate more important than stopping the violence in America’s cities and protecting our children in school. This week, with your permission, I would like to explore the topic of shootings.
There are many thoughts and ideas on shootings in America. We do tend to leave the world in this type of violence. Before everybody gets defensive, I would like to suggest that we keep this an open and honest debate that we can all participate in equally.
According to Pew Research, Homicide by firearm is actually down about half of what it was in the 1990s. And, suicide by gun is double that of homicide. Homicide by firearm is between 11,000 and 12,000 annually.¹ When I first heard this, I thought it was a low number. Yet, I believe it’s probably somewhere between 11,000 and 12,000 too many.
Taking guns away is a non-starter. Too many people use guns as tools. People in the Southwest that must protect themselves from rattlesnakes, people the southeast must work in or around swamps, and cowboys who work in Montana and the Dakotas need protection. In many other places, a firearm is a legitimate tool. Having said this if you need a semi-automatic hunting rifle with a 33-bullet clip to put food on the table, you probably need to take more lessons at the local shooting range.
I also have to tell you that guns don’t jump up one day and say let’s go shoot somebody. Quite often what causes the trigger to be pulled is someone with low self-esteem which has been bullied and harassed, or believes they have been, and are looking for revenge. And, I think this is the target that we need to fix.
This will not be easy, for it’s been going on for far too long. How long? I believe that the first family on earth had a problem with someone feeling bullied or harassed, or let his ego get away from him. Because of this, I believe that the first family on earth lost a son.
I believe that lowering our homicide rate, especially in mass shootings, will not be a one-step fix, and it will not be easy. Yet I have faith, because we are the people who put a man on the moon, and we are the people who are looking to go to Mars. I do not believe that ‘easy’ is a qualifier for us to do anything that we want to happen.
The mean old Master Sergeant is on board with me in this endeavor. He’s going to initiate, starting next month, the Mean Old Master Sergeant’s No Bullying Books.
I don’t mean to be writing you an encyclopedia about this. Yet, with your permission, I would like to use this week to discuss the problem and some actual ideas of what may work. Anything worth doing is worth doing well.
Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.
 Krogstad, j.m., Oct. 21, 2015, pewresearch.org, Gun Homicide steady after decline in ‘90s; suicide rate edges up,