RANSOM: Controlling bullets

Paul A. Ransom

There have been more than 1,624 mass shootings in a 1,870 day time span (1.2 mass shootings a day for approximately 5 years). Data from the gun violence archives reveal that there is a mass shooting (defined as four or more people shot in one incident) in nine out of every 10 days. This statistic does not include the shooter.

After Sandy Hook, more than 400 people have been shot in over 200 school shootings. When a gunman killed 20 first graders and six adults with an assault rifle at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, it rattled Newtown, Connecticut and reverberated across the world.

Since then, there have been at least 239 school shootings nationwide. In those episodes, 438 people were shot and 138 of them were killed. When it comes to American children being exposed to gunfire, these shootings are just the tip of the iceberg. A report by the urban institute showed that in the single school district of Washington, D.C., there were at least 336 gunshots in the vicinity of schools over a single school year. School shootings have long-term impacts on the school community as a whole. A recent analysis of school shootings found that those involving a homicide reduced student enrollment in the effected school and depressed students standardized test scores by nearly 5 percent.

We recently experienced gun violence from the upper floor of a hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Multiple bullets were launched at an unsuspecting crowd. Hundreds of people were wounded and 60 people were killed. In school shootings, around the country, many students were killed and wounded. We blame the guns and the shooter, but no blame is directed at the bullets. One-hundred percent of the people who were shot and survived the shooting, were treated at a medical facility for wounds that were caused by bullets. All of the victims experienced bullet extractions or bullet wound repair. No one, as far as I know, has ever had a gun removed. But, collectively, we want gun control, not bullet control.

If we need lifesaving medication, we more than likely will need a prescription. If we want life altering bullets, we just have to appear to be 18 years old. In the 1960s, during the Vietnam conflict, I was stationed at Naha Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan. I was with the 33rd Air Rescue Squadron. My outfit would rotate every 90 days with the Air Rescue Squadron stationed at Elgin Air Force Base in Florida. My squadron would spend 90 days in Da Nang, Vietnam. After 90 days we were relieved by the squadron from Florida. After their 90 days, we relieved them. This practice continued for 18 months.

During our 90 day stint, we frequently experienced mortar attacks sometimes accompanied by small arms fire. When under attack, we secured our weapon and lined up at a bunker to be issued ammunition for our weapons. When the all clear sounded, we returned to the bunker to return the ammunition. This practice continued every time we experienced an attack. In a combat zone, we, the defenders of the land are issued guns but no bullets until it was absolutely necessary. Quite often these attacks occurred in the early morning hours. It was then that we stood in line while explosions and small arms fire were going on and we had no clue where or which direction they were coming from. We heard everything, but we saw nothing. We knew the sound was close to us.

Without bullets, there would be no need for gun control. We have a constitutional right to own guns. The NRA will fight for our right to own guns, but we do not have the right to own bombs, which is what bullets are. The explosive in a bullet is the same as the explosive in a bomb. Just a smaller amount. Bombs are under tight control. Bombs can be purchased, but not without the proper credentials. We as American citizens have the right to bare arms, but nothing in the Constitution gives us the right to have a bomb or bullets. 

Bullets should be in the same category as any controlled substance. If bullets were controlled like certain drugs, we would not have the problem of guns or bullets. We have been told for so long that the problem is a gun problem. I am amazed that of all of our talented senators and Congress persons that we have in this country, no one has given the problem of bullets a single thought. We are stuck on the thought that guns are the problem. Why do we not blame airplanes that drop bombs, but we blame guns when they launch bullets.

When an airplane drops a bomb, the bomb causes the devastation. When a gun launches a bullet, the gun causes the devastation. Really? 

Paul A. Ransom is a resident of Valdosta.

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