Texas Church Shooting

Two women hug at a makeshift memorial for the First Baptist Church shooting victims Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, in Sutherland Springs, Texas. A man opened fire inside the church in the small South Texas community on Sunday, killing more than two dozen and injuring others. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

In America, some things just don’t change.

A month ago, I wrote about U.S. leaders’ unwillingness to lessen gun carnage in our nation. It was a day or two after 58 fellow citizens were killed and more than 500 injured at a country music festival in Las Vegas.

Today, this column comes about 72 hours after yet another mass shooting, this time in a rural Texas church where 26 were murdered. And yet again, neither Congress nor the White House, wholly owned subsidiaries of the National Rifle Association, will lift a guilty finger to do anything in response – except, of course, to send “thoughts and prayers” to the community and the families.

I find myself a little more upset than normal because I recently discovered I work at the same company as a man, Brody Harris, who was standing in the crowd in Las Vegas when the shooting began. He was with his wife, his sister and his sister’s fiancé. They all made it out alive.

I interviewed Brody over lunch at the company cafeteria and wrote about his Las Vegas nightmare for the company newsletter. He told me the bullets fired from the Mandalay Bay hotel struck the vendor booths where he and his wife crouched behind boxes of cowboy boots. The rounds skipped and sparked off the pavement around them, and whizzed through the air next to their heads as they scrambled for safety.

Of course, the bullets also struck people near them. Lots of people. The wounded and dead were on the ground, blood pooling. People helped strangers to safety, applied tourniquets to limbs, carried gravely injured concertgoers on makeshift stretchers.

All because a homicidal lunatic was able to buy a bunch of weapons designed to fire lots of rounds very quickly.

It was much the same with this week’s Texas killer: The guns that enable shooters to cause so much harm are readily available for almost anyone to purchase – even someone who shouldn’t have been able to buy them because of his military court martial and conviction for abusing his wife and infant stepson.

When are we going to be honest enough to admit one of the chief reasons for so much death at the hands of mass killers is the wide availability of firearms in this country? Yes, the issues of mental health and inadequate screening prior to purchases of these instruments of catastrophe are reasons, too. Even so, let’s tell it like it is: Firearms are for sale everywhere.

Given all those guns floating around, being sold in stores, at gun shows, on the Internet, between friends and family, the murderous wackos find it easy to obtain them.

I know what most of my fellow Utahns think about the Second Amendment: It’s either God-inspired or necessary to stop federal troops from invading our communities – or both. You see them just like I do:

• Bumper stickers with idiotic slogans – “If you can’t stand behind our troops feel free to stand in front of them,” with an image of a kneeling soldier taking aim.

• Self-styled open-carry “patriots” with firearms on their hips at the gas station or convenience store.

There would be another civil war if the United States attempted to do what Australia did following a few terrible mass shootings in the 1980s and ’90s: The country’s National Firearms Agreement has resulted in zero mass shootings since 1996. The NFA requires all firearm ownership to be licensed according to a “genuine reason” for ownership and the guns are registered with the government. The law also bans semiautomatic rifles and shotguns, and created a government program to buy the banned weapons.

As for the United States, the NRA and makers of semiautomatic firearms have won. Americans have lost, because these mass murders will continue. Someday you, too, may know someone at the scene during one of these monstrous acts of violence perpetrated with a gun, or guns. Will it soften your position on the sanctity of the Second Amendment?

At this point, I don’t believe it matters to most Americans. The weapons will continue to be made and sold, and they will continue to be used to slay Americans of all ages. Congress and the White House won’t do a thing to stop it. There’s too much money at stake and too many gun fanatics in the voter base.

By now, we all know this to be true: It’s more important to be elected and re-elected than to save lives.

You can email Don at dportercolumn@hotmail.com. Twitter: @DonPondorter.

(11) comments

Sabbatical

Wes....for you, https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/these-4-countries-have-nearly-eliminated-gun-deaths-%E2%80%94-heres-what-the-us-can-learn/ss-BBF0xCM?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=U452DHP#image=3Mack

Sabbatical

Facts for you..https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/these-4-countries-have-nearly-eliminated-gun-deaths-%E2%80%94-heres-what-the-us-can-learn/ss-BBF0xCM?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=U452DHP#image=3

leykis101

This Don guy is unbelievable, I sincerely believed I was reading sarcasm before realizing j was to late and had just blew 5 minutes of my life I'll never get back, Mr.Porter, I don't know anything about you sir, but after reading this shlop on guns, which may I add, I don't really care one way or another cause I don't really mess with guns myself, but I genuinely have to ask about your mental capacity, the Vegas incident took place because I maniac was able to buy a bunch of guns that shoot really fast? Huh? All the shooting happened because people were able to buy guns, sir I still am not convinced it's not sarcasm, but if your being genuine, I'm beyond speechless, you sir just put 100% of one of the most heinous acts in recent memory on an object, and not once put any true blame on the only place that it should be placed, how about it took place because someone so sickly disgustingly warped, found it would be enjoyable,to purchase guns, and go out and use those guns to take as many life's as he could, normal people don't think that way, only someone so sick and so detached would even contemplate carrying out these actions, who cares what means they used in doing it, u don't believe had he not had guns he wasn't going to use something else? Your really that moronic? You have zero sense sir,I almost don't even know what to say, it's just so completely absurd, it's humorous,obviously an agenda is being filled, because holding a piece of steel accountable for someone's actions is comic, not realistic, is this really your view? Wow! That's like holding heroin accountable for someone dying of an overdose, is that also your belief? Oh wait heroin is illegal, so the junkie shouldn't have even had it, he broke the law, that heroin killed that junkie but who do you blame? It's not legal, he shouldn't have had it, but he did, and the person who supplied the heroin? That's illegal, it was everybody's fault but the junkie, how do u blame a human beings actions on inanimate object? No it was the shooters fault, not the gun,was it the airplanes fault 9/11 occurred? Will u even answer that for me? Cause by your logic if those planes had been banned, we perhaps might have never had 9/11,right? You have to be dealing in sarcasm, your just not explainable in any other sense, thank you and please enlighten me.

nomorelies

I always find it good form to know what you're talking about if using it to make a point.

robertlokonis

As I said, the left wants people to be angry.  They build their voting base on anger.  Besides killing babies that’s the Democrat Party’s main purpose.

Sabbatical

Doug, We are both correct talking about Australia. You defined it much better than I did." It's controlled more tightly there than here" Yes I am ignorant of the gun laws in that country as well as the gun laws here..I'm not a gun person, that is okay and it is okay to like what I read about Australia.

Sabbatical

Great read Don, one of your best! Unfortunately gun ownership is part of everyone's household. Open carry accepted almost everywhere. I'm for what Australia has...no guns! My home...no guns, never will be. Don...you and I know nothing is going to change and that is deathly sad!Thank you,Mack Foss

nomorelies

Ummm - sorry to burst your bubble Mack but Australia has guns - lots of them.  The US has 101 guns per 100 residents.  Australia is #20 in the world, with 24 guns per 100 residents.  It's controlled more tightly there than here, but when you anti-gun folks cite Australia as the example of a country that has had no gun violence because they banned guns it just shows your ignorance.  Gun related deaths have not fallen to zero as you like to preach. Did you know that the top ten gun owning countries in the world list includes France, Norway and Finland?  Why aren't people committing mass murder there?  See below for my reasoning of the problem.  Remember Mack, facts are fun.

nomorelies

Today is an amazing day.  Not once in Don Porter's column did I see him blame the recent mass shootings on RUSSIA or DONALD TRUMP.  I would have at least expected the 2 shootings of 2017 to place the blame there, but he resisted his natural tendencies.I don't personally own an AR style semi-automatic gun.  They're not cheap and I have other things to spend my money on.  I also don't own a Home Depot truck, which is apparently the second most deadly assault weapon in the US these days.Whenever a man who hates Donald Trump comes along and tries to take away our guns I like to pretend that at least we could have a rational discussion about the topic.  You know, try to really understand why a person would kill a bunch of people.  Turns out that the Don Porters of the world never have a desire to do this.  I understand - it's a lot easier to blame a gun than blame a bad person.So, without Don's help I'll give you the answer as to why people snap.  They're pissed off at the world and their place in it.  The guy who shot up the Mandalay Bay was not insane.  The guy who shot up a church in Texas was not insane.  The guy who shot up a church in South Carolina wasn't insane.  Neither were the kids at Columbine High School.  Nor was the guy who drove a Home Depot truck down the streets of New York insane.  They all had only the pissed off thing in common.What's the solution?  Can we stop people from getting to this point in their thinking?  Maybe not 100%, but we can certainly stop making it worse.  That would start with people like Don stopping his vendetta against Donald Trump and other silly gripes he has.  The left side of politics in this country wants mass shootings.  It wants riots. It wants people to be in a constant state of anger.  Guess what that leads to Don?  You saw it in the Church in Texas and you'll keep seeing it until you stop.  Yes, put 99% of the blame for these mass killings on the perpetrator., but put 1% on people like Don who choose to whip the country up into a frenzy.  Just don't put it on the guns or trucks.  That solves exactly nothing.

unicorn1524

So why do you think that people in the US are angrier than most of the rest of the world, in a way that causes them to want to kill many others? I don't believe that we are significantly different than everyone else in terms of temperament.

wesdallas

Many of us are suspicious of liberals expressing sorrow over the the lives of others when they also express their glee over our slaughter on social media, forums, and comments sections.  We see, and hear, them express their contempt and hatred of us, we see the surveys and polls wherein they express their sincere belief that we are less than human, "undermenshen",  and how much nicer the world would be without us.  We read history and we know where such sentiments naturally go when those with them achieve power in a society.  We are not fooled by their fake smiles and seemingly gentle words that only come out to exploit tragedies and further their agenda to disarm us, "for the kids".   There is no difference between any of history's great mass butchers wearing jackboots, pistol belts, and military uniforms, and American politicians in finely tailored clothes, who display big smiles and who kiss infants every four years to get our votes.  Ours just dress better, and they have to be nice to us because, in the final analysis, there's a limit to their wickedness because we are armed.Gun control failed the people of Texas.  The progressive "solution", a system of background checks, failed because government officials do what they always do, inconvenience the great majority who obey laws, while giving true homicidal maniacs a pass.  It's not the law breakers who progressives fear.  They are either subjects of The Party, easily controlled because they are either in jail or reliant on government for their welfare and thus reliable votes.  It's the armed citizen that is the real threat.  The felons can, and will keep their guns if and when the left ever achieves its cherished dream of  outlawing guns.  So sorry, Mr. Porter.  We'll keep our guns.  We are the NRA and we get a voice here even if it displeases you.

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