To save lives, change the culture — the gun culture

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As a father I have reached the end of my tolerance for excuses as to why we can’t do anything about mass shootings. Two of my kids walk onto a college campus every morning while my youngest walks into high school. No parent should have to worry about assault ri?es being used to butcher children in math class.

Another 17 lifeless bodies carried out of a learning institution. The pile of collateral damage from a malignant gun culture grows while a chorus of juvenile misinterpretations of the Second Amendment once again regurgitate forth from conservative mouths. As an American, I have been proud, and I have been ashamed. Currently I am just disgusted. You should be, too.

No more evasive catch phrases and hollow lip service from NRA pimps. Kids are dying. View these massacres the way competent grownups are supposed to look upon complicated issues of grave concern — as chained events with a number of contributing factors ultimately putting a deadly weapon into the hands of somebody with ill intent, and placing that lethal combination in the midst of our children. A number of those contributing factors we will never be able to do anything about, but some we can influence in ways that WILL make the death toll go down.

No more stupid arguments. NRA President John Sigler has claimed that lower-capacity magazines would make no difference — that a practiced shooter can swap out magazines so fast, low-capacity magazines would in no way slow things down. So incurably afflicted by some form of right-wing Second Amendment megalomania, Sigler and his ilk can’t even hear themselves making the most compelling of all arguments against high-capacity magazines. If it makes no difference, why do we need 30-round magazines as opposed to 10?

Of course size matters! Even in the hands of a “practiced” gunman, swapping magazines takes time. It also draws some of the shooter’s attention away from potential targets. Additional time is thereby required for target reacquisition. Vital windows of opportunity open up for law enforcement to return fire. More children and teachers can get away. The Florida death toll might have been 13 or 14 instead of 17. That’s three or four fewer mutilated children ... or what I like to call three or four damned good reasons to stop making stupid arguments and take the magazine capacity factor seriously.

Assault rifles make death tolls go way up. Period. Handguns of any sort do not inflict the same kind of damage. Long guns make it much easier to hit targets at farther ranges, and projectiles leave assault rifles at much higher velocities. Hard to save lives when the hydrostatic shock of high-velocity hits emulsify internal organs and dismember bodies in ways no handgun will ever achieve. No more public safety policy based on juvenile Rambo fantasies. Restrict access to these weapons of war, and the death toll goes down. Period. Full stop.

Vote the GOP into political oblivion. One of Trump’s first official acts was to sign House Resolution 40, thereby making it harder to detect mentally ill individuals trying to buy ?rearms. Republicans in Congress, the men and women (mostly men) with the power to reshape the laws of our land can only offer up prayers. If they pray for anything these days, it should be for forgiveness and for job openings in the private sector.

Change the culture that became a cancer. It eats at our kids in school. It eats at our devout in church. It eats at the human spirit even when it misses our flesh. The word “terrorist” is thrown around these days in a way that tries to separate the synonymous. Trump’s bigot blinders only allow him to notice Muslim terrorists while just outside his myopic view, angry white boy after angry white boy picks up an AR-15 and goes a-killin’. What do most terrorists have in common? Typically male. Typically a history of violence. Typically subscribe to patriarchal ideals. Oh yeah, most mass shooters are white.

Some of the greatest threats to our public safety come from within, not from beyond our borders.

No bigot wall will protect us from ourselves, so start there. Change.

Todd Cardin is a resident of Kalispell.

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