The Crusader Newspaper Group

Gun control laws would take more courage than this Congress can muster

By Vernon A. Williams, Gary Crusader

Eight years ago on December 26th, the day after Christmas, my brother Willie Williams Jr. was shot and critically wounded by an irate former employee at a store that he owned in Mississippi. In the attack, the crazed gunman also turned the gun on the store manager.

Wounds to the manager were fatal. He died at the scene. Willie said he saw his life flash before his eyes and thought that he too, was about to die. Speaking to him this week, he still remembers his solemn sense of inevitable finality.

Willie survived but the gunshot wounds left him paralyzed for life.

My brother Alonzo Williams was the victim of a brutal gunman’s ambush while leaving the home of a friend one unsuspecting morning. He lived just over a year in a coma before transitioning.

These incidents pale in comparison to some of the stories families tell. Some have lost generations to gun violence. Some have wounds of years gone by that still have not healed. Some are more recently inflicted wounds of the spirit.

And for every one individual shot and killed, dozens of relatives, friends, and colleagues are severely impacted.

With homicide being the most significant cause of death of Black youths, who in their right mind could oppose gun control. Thanks to cowardly Congressmen and misinformed citizens, control has become synonymous with gun bans and nobody wants to relinquish their weaponry.

The deafening cries of families who have lost loved ones to gun violence are drowned out by the defiant roar of gun owners and the National Rifle Association. Even the slightest measures of control are viewed as the Armageddon of weapon freedom.

So if Columbine, and the Aurora, CO theater shooting, and the nightclub shooting in Orlando, and the Virginia Tech mass murders and the deaths of 20 first graders at the Sandy Hook school in Newtown CT, hasn’t softened their hearts and strengthened their resolve for change, what makes anyone think more than 600 people shot in one night, in Las Vegas with automatic weaponry, will make a difference?

Before we will be able to change the laws, we will have to change lawmakers.

While there are exceptions to every rule, most people who have had to go hungry in their lives have greater appreciation of regular meals. The homeless savor the most modest living quarters than most people. Those incarcerated for crimes they did not commit relish the concept of justice.

Those who have lost loved ones to gunfire, or have themselves been victims, harbor more intense appreciation on the debate that centers on the proliferation of firearms in America. Unfortunately, gun control legislation – or the lack of it – is the responsibility of some of the most affluent, disconnected and disaffected.

The contradiction is similar to that of white Americans assuming the authority to define and legislate racism, or a group of men dictating what women have the right to do or not do with their bodies, or people who have the comfort and security of lifelong, extensive insurance coverage depriving those less fortunate of health care.

Most members of Congress, and many of those in the administration, have never lived in neighborhoods where the sound of gunfire at night is as common as songs of the swallows in the tony suburban neighborhoods; where instead of children on the block on weekends dressed in soccer uniforms, youth don gang colors.

Familiarity or exposure to specific circumstances influences our sensitivity to issues.

The public buys into the lies sold by those who defend unregulated gun ownership. They will say things like a good guy with a gun can stop a shooting, that assailants look for soft gun-free zones to attack, that no laws could prevent or lessen the chance of random violence, and that terrorists and criminals are undeterred by gun laws.

All are total falsehoods spoken so many times that people believe them to be true.

With the NRA serving as a cash cow for greedy, corrupt, inept and immoral politicians, Congress is no more likely to seek substantial gun laws than they are to impose term limits on one another. Certain things you can hope for from here to eternity, but the likelihood of it happening is slim to nil.

So there will be debate and arguments we’ve all heard before. Those on either side of the issue will make passionate, unheard pleas. And soon life will return to “normal” as the major news shifts to another direction and there won’t be any more left to discuss about gun control … until the NEXT mass murder.

CIRCLE CITY CONNECTION by Vernon A. Williams is a series of essays on myriad topics that include social issues, human interest, entertainment and profiles of difference-makers who are forging change in a constantly evolving society. Williams is a 40-year veteran journalist based in Indianapolis, IN – commonly referred to as The Circle City. Send comments or questions to: [email protected].

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