Greer McVay’s Web Log (BLOG)
Volume 1, Issue 5
April 18, 2009
With April 20th upon us, and what seems to be an epidemic of mass violence, I suggest we all brace ourselves for a day that has spawned much bloodshed in the name of Adolph Hitler, whose birthday is Monday.
There are much better things to celebrate than the birth of a man who was directly responsible for the senseless murder of millions, yet each year we grieve for the victims of those who were inspired by Hitler’s actions. One of the most infamous Hitler-homage shooting sprees occurred in the small town of Columbine, CO, when two teenagers waged battle on their teachers and fellow classmates. The carnage they unleashed serves as a constant reminder that we can never be too assured of our own safety and that dangerous people lurk everywhere.
A recent Homeland Security domestic intelligence report, under the direction of Secretary Janet Napolitano, concluded that a declining economy and the nation's political climate could fuel a resurgence of right-wing extremism.
As confirmed by The Washington Post, the report indicated that there was a potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks." A footnote that defined right-wing extremist groups as primarily hate-oriented or anti-government also stated: "It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration."
We must at some point come together as a nation and agree that enough is enough. While a complete ban on firearms may be unnecessary, we cannot continue to look the other way when individuals seek to stockpile assault weapons. That is not consistent with our nation’s 2nd Amendment to the Constitution, nor is it consistent with a civilized society.
An Associated Press article revealed that a string of shootings in the U.S. in the last month alone has claimed the lives of 53 people:
- MARCH 10, SAMSON, Ala. — A gunman kills 10 people and commits suicide in a rampage that spanned two dozen miles across the southern Alabama countryside. Police say Michael McLendon had struggled to keep a job and left behind lists of employers and co-workers he believed had wronged him.
- MARCH 22, OAKLAND, Calif. — A man pulled over in a routine traffic stop fatally shoots two officers and then kills two more in a gunfight in which the suspect was also killed. Relatives say Lovelle Mixon, 26, had been frustrated about not finding work and feared returning to jail.
- MARCH 29, SANTA CLARA, Calif. — A man shoots and kills his two children and three other relatives, then kills himself at a family housewarming party in an upscale neighborhood. Investigators don't yet know the motive of Devan Kalathat, a 42-year-old engineer at Yahoo.
- MARCH 29, CARTHAGE, N.C. — A man opens fire in a nursing home and kills seven elderly residents and a nurse who cared for them. Investigators say Robert Stewart, 45, apparently had targeted an estranged wife, a nurse's assistant who escaped by hiding in a bathroom.
- APRIL 3, BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — A gunman bursts into an immigrant center and kills 13 people before killing himself. Police say Jiverly Wong, a 41-year-old Vietnamese immigrant, was apparently upset about losing his job and about people picking on him for his limited English.
- APRIL 4, PITTSBURGH — A gunman wearing a bulletproof vest opens fire on officers responding to a domestic disturbance call, killing three of them. Police say Richard Poplawski, 23, had been upset about losing his job and feared the Obama administration was poised to ban guns.
- APRIL 4, GRAHAM, Wash. — A man fatally shoots his five children in their mobile home and then takes his own life in his car miles away. Relatives identified the father as James Harrison. A motive was not yet known.
I recognize that President Barack Obama is busy dealing with the economy, but this simply cannot wait. The reality is that as people become more affected by harsh economic realities some will become more despondent and desperate…and violent. If we are waiting for this type of violence to come closer to home before we take action, we will have waited too long. Please find a way to do your part to end the easy access to assault weapons that endanger us all. Demand it from your lawmakers and take a look into your own locked drawers or teabag container.
History has shown us that the nut jobs that carry out these crimes often do so on occasions that will give them some degree of notoriety. Hitler’s birthday is apparently at the top of the list of days with which they want to be associated. I think even Hitler would have come around by now. Certainly this is not how he would have wanted to celebrate his 120th birthday.