The Reluctant Townie: A solution for gun violence in U.S.

The Reluctant Townie: A solution for gun violence in U.S.

Like many of you, I woke up to news of the Las Vegas shooting last week with a familiar sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Over 50 dead, hundreds injured.

Had to turn off the television before my kids woke up, since images of terrified people fleeing the chaos populated every channel on a video loop.

Like the Pulse nightclub shooting before it or the Tennessee church shooting before that or the Newtown elementary school shooting before that or the Aurora movie theater shooting before that, I was left with a kind of desperate cynicism about this brand of American carnage, and resigned to the eventuality of it occurring again.

Psychopaths keep finding a way to kill large amounts of innocent people, and there doesn't seem to be much any of us, as individuals, can do to stop it.

Or is there?

Many on the left have called for new, stricter gun laws: Closing the loopholes that allow guns to be purchased without a background check, establishing a federal registry of gun owners, reinstating the Assault Weapons Ban that expired in 2004.

Those who dared to pose such radical ideas were quickly taken to task. Shame on you liberals for politicizing gun violence in the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. You are a heartless bunch of sheeple who don't respect the dead or the flag. If you did, you'd keep your gob shut about guns. Besides, cars kill people, toasters in bathtubs kill people. What's your point?

Why don't you let the blood dry before you inject your offensive, communist ideology into the national dialogue? Allow people time to numb to the impact of the tragedy and get back to their daily routines, so that it will be easier for them to ignore you when they deem it appropriate for you to speak.

It's a shame the shooter turned out to be a white male who legally purchased his firearms. Liberals think that means it's open season on the NRA. Had he instead been some sort of visibly identifiable "terrorist" or "thug," the liberals would be applauding him, but perhaps there would be steps the government could actually take to address the carnage.

When a Muslim-identifying psychopath shoots up a college campus or a military base, we have no trouble finding the political will to ban every Muslim-identifying person we can think of (psychopath or not) from setting foot in the country (#MAGA).

But when a few mentally ill white guys shoot up a crowd full of innocents with a modified assault rifle, there's absolutely nothing we can do about it. Stuff happens, you know? Those shooters are lone wolfs. We need better mental health care in this country, for sure, but you'd better not ask me to pay for it. I spent my money on guns.

Now don't go discriminating against me just because I'm a white guy with a gun. Not every white guy with a gun is going to shoot up a concert or a congressional softball game. That is an offensive stereotype.

Sure, there are some mentally ill people who probably shouldn't have access to firearms, but we can't stop them from buying as many guns as they want if they're real Americans. They have rights, you know? Like Bill O' Reilly said, that's the price of freedom. It's what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they wrote the Constitution.

So clearly, the answer to this problem isn't political.

That's when it occurred to me. Maybe I was disappointed with the continuing plague of senseless gun violence because I had been focusing my energy on the wrong solution.

Suddenly, I realized there is only thing with the power to stop this violent trend, and it had been in front of me the entire time.

My thoughts and prayers.

The healing power of thoughts and prayers is immense and well-documented. If you don't believe me, just ask the victims of any previous mass shooting in this country. They have all received a bounty of thoughts and prayers from across the world. It has surely healed them. It has surely made them whole. Just as our thoughts and prayers will heal and make whole any future victims of mass shootings.

Sticks and stones may break our bones, and high-velocity rounds may indiscriminately tear holes through our flesh and internal organs, but thoughts and prayers will shield us from harm. We just have to think and pray hard enough. We have to do it enough times that God is finally satisfied and answers our prayers.

It's literally the least we can do, you know?

So I've been taking a few minutes every day to broadcast my T's and P's into the ether. At first I felt silly doing it, but after awhile, it really started to feel like I was doing something of value. I think we're getting close to reaching God's prayer quota. I expect him to intervene soon.

But I can't do it alone. I need your help.

I would like to use this space today to organize a thoughts-and-prayers pledge drive. What I'm asking is for all of you out there in reader-land to send me every thought and prayer you can spare. I will, in turn, forward those thoughts and prayers to God and add my own in addition.

One thing is for certain — our country can't keep going on like this. Something has to change. Send your T's and P's today. Together we can end gun violence.

Ryan Jackson would like to thank U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis for his ever-helpful T's and P's, and he can be reached at

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BART15 wrote on October 08, 2017 at 3:10 pm

Real solutions? Mandatory sentences. 5 years for possession of an illegal weapon. 10 years for using a firearm when committing a criminal act. 20 years if the weapon is discharged. 30 years if someone is injured. Life sentence if someone is killed. No more plea bargains. We have plenty of gun laws, but we do not prosecute.

Ryan Jackson wrote on October 08, 2017 at 4:10 pm

Ok, Bart, I think that's a valid point.

In the case of the Vegas shooter, there were no broken laws to prosecute.

How would you feel about regulating ammunition purchases the way we regulate the purchase of cold medicine? Scan your ID with each purchase, limit the amount that can be purchased during a specific timeframe. Maybe an exception is that there is no limit at gun ranges, but you cannot take unused ammunition with you.

Berto71 wrote on October 08, 2017 at 9:10 pm

Please. The busines about thoughts and prayers is absolute crap. And there are legislative solutions here that could make a real difference if there was political will to implement them, like there was in sane countries iike Australia after the 1996 Port Arthur mass shooting there where 35 people were killed. They passed a tough national gun control law the same year and Australia has not had a mass shooting since then.

So what could we do here if people got their sanity back?

First, ban private ownership of semi-automatic assault weapons like AR-15. It is not a legitimate self-defense weapon, and people really own it because they like to shoot big and powerful guns. I am a gun owner myself and at some level I can relate to that, but this kind of indulgence is not a constitutional right.

Second, institute mandatoty national registration of all gun purchases (including re-sales), and some kind of a limit on the number of guns that a single person can own. Nobody should be allowed to legally amass the kind of a huge weapons arsenal that Stephen Paddock was able to acquire, at least not without raising all sorts of red flags. Guns should have titles, similar to cars and houses.

Third, there needs to be longer waiting periods (perhaps 30 days) before a gun is sold, to prevent suicides and to allow for better background checks, and those background ckecks should include mental illness checks in some forms.

The law should encourage, and eventually require, the gun manufactureres to produce smart guns with fingerprint and/or DNA locks that prevent the gun from being fured by an unauthorized purson such as a child or a thief. 





Ryan Jackson wrote on October 08, 2017 at 10:10 pm

How dare you propose sensible gun legislation at a time like this?? Have you no respect for dead? Don't you see it's JADE HELM all over again!!1!

To play Devil's advocate, Australia isn't comparable to the United States, in that it's essentially an island surrounded by bigly, tremendous amounts of water. Difficult to smuggle guns into the country after the ban. Not so for the United States.

Also, speaking to your fourth point, about fingerprint scanners on weapons -- clearly you have never seen the 1995 Sylvester Stallone/Rob Schneider film "Judge Dredd".