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El Paso and Dayton, now what?

By Glenn Mollette

Columnist

Americans have grieved over the senseless murders of 31 people recently gunned down in an El Paso, Texas Walmart and a Dayton, Ohio nightclub. People were out living the American dream, shopping and having a night of fun. They were just living their lives.

Their lives were taken from them by men armed with automatic assault rifles and the element of surprise. People were living their lives and minding their own business. They weren’t prepared for someone with an assault weapon unleashing enough bullets to kill 22 people in El Paso and 9 people in Dayton.

The attacker always has the upper hand. The attacker plots out the place, determines a time and loads his gun to the max. Unless someone or several people are standing guard and watching very close the attacker will be able to kill and maim almost easily before the police show up. The Dayton, Ohio police arrived in less than a minute to kill the shooter. What if they had taken two or three minutes? I don’t think we would have faulted police for arriving in three minutes. However, if they had taken longer than the 40 seconds that it took them to arrive, 30 people or more might have been killed in Dayton alone.

Most everyone is saying we need to do something in America. Many Americans have ideas on what should be done. We should have the right to protect ourselves. In Kentucky most everyone over 21 can carry a gun and without a license. If either of these shooters had walked into a Walmart in Kentucky or a nightclub in Louisville they would have gotten off some shots but they would likely have been met with numerous fire arms coming right back at them.

Mass shooters are mentally ill people who have allowed the darkness of evil to take control of their lives. Such people must be detected by society and cannot be allowed to own automatic weapons. They also need intense help that few Americans are equipped to render.

Mental health workers, licensed clinical social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists and counselors who have received adequate training are in demand and the demand is growing off the chart. Millions of Americans are mentally ill and need help.

Offering mental help has to be incorporated into the health education classes of our schools. All schools districts must now employ not just one but several qualified counselors. One person can’t handle the load.

Our political leaders must now come together and agree on universal background checks for all weapons purchased. A special license should be required for assault weapons. I own several pistols and a three shot automatic shotgun. I’ve never felt that I needed a rifle with the capacity to shoot 50 or 70 rounds.

Walmart, churches, schools, nightclubs all have to be on guard. We all must have security plans. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If two security guards with semiautomatic pistols had been standing outside the Walmart in El Paso or the nightclub in Dayton, the mass murders could possibly have been prevented. Mass murderers are cowards who want to kill defenseless people.

Finally, we have to stop the hate. Let’s stop it everywhere from politics to social media, to the highways and to our national media. Let’s get hate out of television programs and our music.

Churches, schools, families, our elected leaders and all of us must work together to help this nation have a revival of love, respect, equality and helping each other.