Journal Express, Knoxville, IA


January 3, 2013

Another View

Leaving the Old West

Knoxville —  

Some of us old timers remember the “Old West” – John Wayne to the rescue, shooting all the bad guys in sight.  We know that habit has ridden right into 2013 with us anytime we notice children’s video games or watch the movie previews.  We’re encouraged to shoot everyone in sight.  “Hi Ho, Silver, shoot ‘em dead” must still be the theme.

The myth of the old west reappears with each new massacre in our schools, theaters, or public squares.  And until another Newtown happens, we go back to sleep and forget how we behave as a nation.  Here’s a quick look at ourselves – by comparison.    Last year handguns killed

48 people in Japan

8 in Great Britain

58 in Israel, and

10,728 in the United States of America

Why are we so different?  We’re not basically more violent than other countries.  They also have untreated mentally ill people.  They also have angry wives and husbands tempted to kill each other.  The difference?  They don’t have three million guns at hand like we do!   One Connecticut mother is now dead because her mentally troubled son could easily take one of her guns, kill her, and go forth to murder 25 more.  

Many other countries have had mass killings, but most respond intelligently.  In Australia, after one rampage killed 35 people, they instituted protective gun measures like requiring a character witness for a would-be gun buyer.  Australians still enjoy hunting and self protection – but no more mass killings (firearm homicides dropped 59%).

Publicity after the Connecticut massacre tells us what we’re up against:  the NRA (National Rifle Assoc.) is not a simple association of gun owners.  No, it’s closely partnered with gun manufacturers (who supply money), and those companies in turn are often owned by equity funds controlled by Wall Street titans.  The 223 Bushmaster semiautomatic that was used for the mass murder in Newtown was manufactured by the Freedom Group, a gun arsenal controlled by Cerberus Capital Management.  So Wall Street won’t be joining gun safety advocates for a while. 

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Upon completion and reopening of Third Street, should the City of Knoxville wait to start the next stage of the Streetscape and Infrastructure project until 2015?

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