Letter to the Editor, Daily Local News, 6/13/16
In the terrible aftermath of the worst mass shooting in American history, we are struggling to make sense of how something so horrific like this can happen.
Details are emerging about the shooter: his estranged wife stated he was abusive, and was mentally unstable, he was interviewed by the FBI twice after co workers shared sympathy for extremist Islamic views.
Yet this man was able to buy high powered weapons, like the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle with large capacity magazines legally. His father related that he had reacted with disgust when observing a gay couple kiss in public.
Were there enough red flags to have prevented this tragedy? Maybe, maybe not, but certainly there are things that a smart society can do to make it more difficult for dangerous people, like Omar Mateen, to use a firearm to explode in an orgy of hate a violence.
* Provide a way for friends and family to petition the courts about someone who is a danger to themselves or others to prevent them from buying a firearm legally. Bill HB 1030 in PA -firearms restraining order, would do just that.
* Outlaw dangerous weapons like the AR-15 and large capacity bullet magazines that make it easy to kill so many in such a short amount of time.
There is no real control over someone who is self radicalized, who harbors hatred and prejudice.
But as a responsible society, we have a duty to do what we can to protect citizens from the easy access to high powered weapons that make the Orlando shooting the latest in a long line of mass shootings in our country: from San Bernardino, to Aurora to Fort Hood to Sandy Hook, to Virginia Tech etc. etc. Australia had a mass shooting in Port Arthur where 32 people died in 1997. Within 3 months, Australia passed universal background checks and outlawed assault weapons. They have not had a mass shooting since. Until America gets serious about the continuing carnage, the next mass shooting is right around the corner.
Tom Buglio, West Chester
Chester County Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence