We are going to press a day early, on Tuesday instead of Wednesday, ahead of a threatened major snowstorm. We cannot know, and we certainly cannot predict, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ condition by the time this page is read, although we dearly hope that she will steadily improve.
We’ve been reporting news about Saturday’s massacre, in which she was gravely wounded, along with 13 others, and in which six people, including a child, were killed, on our website, www.jstandard.com. We will continue to post news there, as it comes in, of this horrendous deed and its aftermath.
But we can know, and we certainly can predict, that somewhere in America is another vicious/deranged person (or three or four or more) with a gun bought without an adequate background check and enough bullets to kill dozens of people at one clip.
Yes, heated rhetoric is dangerous; we Jews have known that since the destruction of the Second Temple, and Saturday’s carnage is a contemporary and much-needed reminder to cool it down. But it is not as dangerous as a gun. It is not as dangerous as a gun in the wrong hands, the hands of someone with a warped mind. It is not as dangerous as a gun with an oversized ammunition clip holding more than 30 bullets.
Every time some sick mind goes on a shooting spree, we call, on this page, for stricter gun regulation. And every time we do that, local gun enthusiasts rise to their pastime’s defense. But seriously: Do you really need a semi-automatic weapon for target practice or hunting? Is it not – with or without an extended clip – designed, instead, for mass murder?
We commend our state’s Sen. Frank Lautenberg for taking arms against the shockingly powerful gun lobby. He and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) plan to introduce legislation banning such extended clips. As he said in a statement (see page 6), “The only reason to have 33 bullets loaded in a handgun is to kill a lot of people very quickly.”
By the way: Remember McCarthy’s history. In 1993 a mass murderer shot up a Long Island Rail Road train; her husband was among the six killed and her son among the 19 injured. How many times must families endure such pain?
We grieve with the nation for the Arizona dead, and we pray with the nation that the injured recover.