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Letter to the Editor | No matter how tragic the shooting – we have done NOTHING | By Bruce Wilk


Feb. 19, 2018 – Washington Co., WI – As a parent and grandparent, I can’t imagine what my emotional state would be if I lost a child/grandchild in a mass shooting.

On Feb. 17 I saw a local letter to the editor heading “Coming to a school near you: AR15” and thought that was clever.  On the same page I started reading Rex Hupke’s op-ed piece, stopped because of the content and then forced myself to read to the end.  He said at the end, “Nothing is insanity.  Nothing has to stop.” His thoughts were sad but true. No matter how tragic the shooting – we have done NOTHING.


In 2015 Dan Hodges – British journalist tweeted “In retrospect Sandy Hook marked the end of the US gun control debate. Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was over.” And what have we done since? – NOTHING.


Did a search on mass shootings in the US.   15 starting with Columbine (Wikipedia – Mass Shootings in the US\Deadliest Shootings).  9 involved assault type weapons.  Feb. 2018 Florida Stoneman HS – 14 students & 3 adults killed; Nov. 2017 Texas church – 26 killed; Oct. 2017 Las Vegas casino –58 killed; June 2016 Florida night club – 49 killed; Dec. 2015 Calif. Health Center – 14 killed; Dec. 2012 Sandy Hook Elem. School – 20 6 & 7 year olds killed & 6 adults; July 2012 Colorado movie theater – 12 killed; March 2009 Alabama family shooting – 9 killed; April 1999 Columbine HS – 12 students & 1 teacher killed.  No individual incident or combination worthy of making any major changes!


A local private school in West Bend has, in a memo to parents as part of an intruder response plan, said the following:  “…asking students to bring a hand-sized canned good at the start of each school year.  These will be kept in the classroom to be used as objects to be thrown at an intruder.  At the end of the school year, they will be donated to the Food Pantry.”  I’ve had similar training – as an adult – to use anything you can as a weapon if you need to.  But now we have to train elementary students.  We have to change something.  NOTHING cannot be our standard.


A New York Times article (Burns, 2/17/18) wrote that Al Hoffman Jr., a Florida- based real estate developer vowed not to contribute to any candidates that did not support a ban on the sale of military-style firearms to civilians.  Hoffman said, “I will not write another check unless they all support a ban on assault weapons.  Enough is enough!”  This could be something.


Some numbers.  The Congressional Research Service (research arm of the U.S. Congress) estimates there are 300 million guns in the U.S. and 90 mass shootings from 1966-2012.  No other country has more than 46 million guns or 18 mass shootings.  So why the difference?  In a 2017 NY Times article by Fisher and Keller they cited a 2015 research study by Adam Lankford (University of Alabama)  that found the following: a country’s rate of gun ownership correlates with the odds it would experience a mass shooting, U.S mental health factors are in line with other wealthy countries so not an issue, Americans are no more likely to play video games than people in other developed countries,  racial diversity has little correlation with mass shootings, the U.S. is not actually more prone to crime – it’s just that American crime is more lethal and the U.S has gun laws that are less stringent.  Fisher/Keller concludes “the United States has determined that relatively unregulated gun ownership is worth the cost to society and that choice, more than any other statistic, is what most sets the U.S. apart”.  How unfortunate.


I am not against guns.  I am against kids being killed by AR15 type weapons.  There’s no reason we can’t at least eliminate AR15 type weapons.  That would be better than NOTHING.  Was curious about AR15 firing rates out of the box so went to a gun Q &A ( “For an average shooter, you’re talking about a top speed of about two shots per second, which means you’re emptying a mag in 15 seconds. Reloading takes maybe four seconds, so it’s 19 seconds to empty a mag and recharge. So the effective rate is about 90 rounds per minute, not counting the time it takes to aim.”


Better background checks.  I call no way.  Won’t fix the problem of keeping assault type weapons from public purchase. 2nd amendment rationale.  I call no way.  There would still be plenty of guns.   Used for hunting.  I call no way.  There are plenty of gun options available to hunt any animal on this earth.

On to my legislators…

Bruce Wilk



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