Halloween came and went, and we celebrated the survival of our children. There were no mass school shootings over the holiday: no Columbine, no Uvalde, no Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, no Sandy Hook. We made it through an entire week with no promises from law enforcement that the identities of the children slaughtered by a random gunman would be announced after their parents had been notified. We made it an entire week without a somber-faced politician assuring us that his or her “thoughts and prayers” were with the parents of the murdered. These news announcements have gone from pointless to obscene. The phrase ’thoughts and prayers’ should be bleeped whenever they are announced by our useless politicians, just as any familiar obscenity is deleted from newscasts for fear some listeners might be offended. We should all be offended.
So far in 2023, 1.500 children and teenagers have been killed by firearms. Death by gunfire is the leading cause of death in children in the United States. Of the 590 mass shootings in the U.S. this year, 69 have been at schools. The gun lobby demands access to these weapons of mass misery for all Americans.
In the most obscene effort to assure the maximum bloodshed possible in the American home, a case has been brought by a violent offender insisting that his right to carry a firearm should not be restricted. He is under an order of protection. Zackey Rahimi was accused of assaulting his ex-girlfriend. He was observed to fire a pistol in an apparent effort to dissuade witnesses from observing his violent exchange with the victim. He was subsequently involved in 5 additional firearm incidents. Despite his violent behavior and indiscriminate discharge of a firearm, his advocates insist that the has a Second Amendment right to carry a firearm.
The Supreme Court will decide if he and other individuals under orders of protection have the right to keep their firearms, despite having demonstrated unequivocally violent behavior. After all, he has not killed anybody yet. That he has threatened to murder his ex-girlfriend and that he maintains a small arsenal of weapons at home are merely incidental findings that the Supreme Court will probably dismiss as irrelevant. People who shoot at bystanders and assault their ex-girlfriends obviously need the protection afforded by their firearms and endorsed by the High Court.
The apologists for the shooters insist that we need more mental health services and interventions. They seem baffled by the suggestion that we need fewer military style weapons and high capacity magazines available to the general public. The suggestion that we must first cure mental illness is as absurd as it is impractical and ignores the success experienced in reducing firearms slaughter in countries that have banned assault weapons.
Your children and grandchildren may not survive their day in school or their walk home from the bus stop, but your sacred right to stockpile all the weapons your budget will allow shall not be infringed upon. It is time to stop making excuses and do something about the slaughter of our children. Thoughts and prayers are not accomplishing anything. Voting out the nitwits who get their discretionary funds from the National Rifle Association and the gun manufacturers and blocking the election of Presidents who insist on nominating judges who sell out to these lobbying groups would be a good start.
Dr. Lechtenberg is an Easton resident who graduated from Tufts University and Tufts Medical School in Massachusetts and subsequently trained at The Mount Sinai Hospital and Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in Manhattan. He worked as a neurologist at several New York Hospitals, including Kings County and The Long Island College Hospital, while maintaining a private practice, teaching at SUNY Downstate Medical School, and publishing 15 books on a variety of medical topics. He worked in drug development in the U.S., as well as in England, Germany, and France.