Weapons, not people, are the problem behind gun violence

It’s simple: No hunter needs an assault rifle. Unless he’s hunting humans.

SHARE Weapons, not people, are the problem behind gun violence
Visitors view a memorial to the seven people killed and others injured in the Fourth of July mass shooting in Highland Park.

Visitors view a memorial to the seven people killed and others injured in the Fourth of July mass shooting in Highland Park.

Nam Y. Huh/AP

I rode my bike again past the alleged killer’s house, a two-story stucco home where he lived with his father and uncle.

It was a nice afternoon, and the house is only three blocks from mine.

I’ve actually been past the house dozens of times. It’s in a quiet middle-class neighborhood of winding streets that can lead eventually to a forest preserve with well-maintained bike paths.

I stopped and simply looked. I saw no one, just one lawn-service guy on his cell phone a couple of houses away.

I’m not sure what I was looking for.

A sign, perhaps. A clue.

Anything to help explain why a 21-year-old would spray a Fourth of July parade crowd with almost 90 bullets, killing seven people and wounding dozens more.

Birds chirped. Traffic hummed on distant Route 41. I sensed nothing. 

I felt how a house is no more or less than the people who inhabit it. Structures are mute. People are all.

And, of course, their weapons speak.

I have nothing against hunters, though I have zero interest in hunting myself. But their firearms — pheasant shotguns, deer rifles, .22s filled with bird shot and so on — are tools of their trade, their hobbies, their pastimes. 

So be it. The dynamic between humans and animals is a complex one, but we are at the top of the food chain, so we should act reasonably and with a kind of ‘‘Old Man and the Sea’’ compassion when it comes to killing beasts.

But to kill other humans? Who have done nothing to you? In a kind of pornographic slaughter?

A house has nothing to do with that.

But we all know what does. We all know it, no matter how many times the gun lobby tells us guns aren’t the problem, people are.

No, guns are the problem. Especially ones with big clips that are essentially semi-automatic machine guns.

And because those assault guns are so easily obtained in the United States, they’re in the hands of all kinds of dangerous people

The alleged Highland Park shooter used an M&P 15 assault rifle to mow down his victims from a rooftop. The “M&P” stands for military and police. Do you really wonder whom that gun was designed for?

It’s simple: No hunter needs an assault rifle. Unless he’s hunting humans.

The Second Amendment is written as if badly translated from German, but its 27 hiccupping words say Americans should be allowed to have “Arms’’ for use in militias to keep folks like King George and other monarchists (including homegrown ones) at bay.

Do you know what an “Arm’’ was back then? A musket that took at least 20 seconds to reload and fire once. At that speed — barrels often melted down and jammed completely — the Highland Park killer would have needed almost a half-hour to fire his load.

Our country was founded differently from most.

We birthed out of a revolution, a violent, possibly treasonous uprising leading, incredibly, to democracy. Very unusual. Possibly unique.

But these combat weapons threaten to destroy all. Gun nuts who say we need to keep pace with government weapons, just in case, are misguided. You can’t buy a bazooka. You can’t buy a .50-caliber mounted machine gun. You sure as hell can’t buy a missile launcher or a case of grenades.

But an unhinged young man can buy all the assault weapons he wants. And assault weapons make us all less free.

They allow the cowardly to have control. Things as basic as parades, concerts, big celebrations may never be the same. 

As WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said during the All-Star Weekend here, regarding her decision to keep fans away from some scheduled events, “We would have loved to have opened that up to the public.’’ But because of “security concerns,’’ she said, no go.

The suggestion by gun nuts to arm teachers in classrooms as defense against gun attacks is as crazy a one as this reporter has heard. What could go wrong with that?

The thing about these assault weapons is they can make a weakling into a temporary tough guy. I noticed as I looked back from the alleged shooter’s house that the main entrance to the local grammar school is 150 yards away.

But classes are out for summer. So an unlucky all-American parade clearly sufficed.

What a world.

The Latest
NBA
Gabe Vincent scored 23 points, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo each had 21 and the Heat overcame a monster effort from Nikola Jokic to beat the Nuggets 111-108 in Game 2.
U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., said, ‘Bill was always a no-bulls---, honest and direct sounding board — whether we agreed or not.’
The Cubs beat the Padres 7-1 to take a 2-1 lead in the four-game series.
Copper and Laney have shared the court together since they were kids, playing AAU basketball for Yolanda Laney and then college ball for C. Vivian Stringer at Rutgers.