We the People

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Politics and civil commentary with community columnist John Eyster.

John W. Eyster: Considering gun rights in the wake of the Virginia TV reporter murders

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John W. Eyster
August 27, 2015

We shared the SHOCK of seeing 2 very promising young journalists shot & killed on live TV yesterday morning! The use of selfie social media added to the OUTRAGEOUSNESS of the killings.

Thursday, Joel Achenbach, a science and politics journalist on the national desk at The Washington Post, posted an incisive article, “Killer's ultimate selfie: Roanoke horror becoming the new norm.” I urge you to read this article if you want to find out more about that tragic situation.

This morning, I read with great appreciation Nicholas Kristol's Op-Ed feature, “Lessons From the Murders of TV Journalists in the Virginia Shooting.”

You may want to read more about Nicholas Kristol's credentials before you read this op-ed column. He is currently on leave to write another book. If so, the details can be read in the New York Times' bio for Nicholas Kristol. You need to click on “more” to get the bio.

Kristol quickly grabbed my attention to read his column. I think he'll, grab yours too:

“The slaying of two journalists Wednesday as they broadcast live to a television audience in Virginia is still seared on our screens and our minds, but it's a moment not only to mourn but also to learn lessons.

“The horror isn't just one macabre double-murder, but the unrelenting toll of gun violence that claims one life every 16 minutes on average in the United States. Three quick data points: ...”

Now you want to use the link to read his column so that you find out the shocking “three quick data points,” don't you? Here it is again.

You will be reminded of the information about yesterday's killer, Bryce Williams.

What I find most significant are the LESSONS Kristol identifies. I invite you to consider them too.

“The lesson from the ongoing carnage is not that we need a modern prohibition (that would raise constitutional issues and be impossible politically), but that we should address gun deaths as a public health crisis. To protect the public, we regulate toys and mutual funds, ladders and swimming pools. Shouldn't we regulate guns as seriously as we regulate toys?

“The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has seven pages of regulations concerning ladders, which are involved in 300 deaths in America annually. Yet the federal government doesn't make what I would call a serious effort to regulate guns, which are involved in the deaths of more than 33,000 people in America annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (that includes suicides, murders and accidents).

“Gun proponents often say things to me like: What about cars? They kill, too, but we don't try to ban them!

“Cars are actually the best example of the public health approach that we should apply to guns….” Read on…

The next point I want to alert you to is, “The United States is an outlier, both in our lack of serious policies toward guns and in our mortality rates. Professor Hemenway calculates that the U.S. firearm homicide rate is seven times that of the next country in the rich world on the list, Canada, and 600 times higher than that of South Korea.” He proceeds to tell us about the Australian policy as a model. Read it and consider.

What do YOU think? I hope you will share your thoughts. I'll be reading posted comments. While anyone and everyone has access to read my WE THE PEOPLE column, it is only persons who subscribe to the Gazette who have access to post comments. You may want to subscribe to the Gazette so you are able to read the while Gazette and have full access to post comments on published articles. For subscription information, you can use this link.

John W. Eyster lives in the Edgerton area. He is an adjunct professor assigned with the online/distance education faculty of Viterbo University, LaCrosse. He continues his personal mission supporting democracy/civics education in Wisconsin K-12 schools through Project Citizen, We the People, Discovering Democracy (Milton HS). John is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff or management.

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