We need facts, not excuses, about gun violence


Every time there is another mass killing in the United States, many of our elected officials repeat the NRA and gun manufacturers’ standard excuses:

1. We already have gun laws on the books, we don’t need more.

2. It’s really about the violent video games these guys play – that’s the cause.

3. It’s mental illness that causes the carnage. They’re just crazy.

4. Guns don’t pull the trigger, bad people do.

I’m tired of excuses – I want facts! While I support the 2nd Amendment right to own a gun, I strongly believe that right comes with an expectation of responsible ownership. So I decided to take a look at the facts – the real-life examples of the last 10 mass murders during the last two years: Dayton, El Paso, Gilroy, Virginia Beach, Aurora, Thousand Oaks, Pittsburgh, Santa Fe, Parkland and Southerland.

How do the facts of these real-life cases match the NRA excuses?

Existing gun laws. Well, it’s clear our laws weren’t sufficient to stop these killers! Nine of these guys acquired their guns legally, even despite the fact that there were obvious warning signs of the impending violence in eight of the cases.

Violent video games. Only one of these killers seems to have shown an interest in violent video games. This should be no surprise, because the vast majority of gamers never become mass killers.

Mental illness. None of the 10 were adjudicated mentally unstable, and in only two cases was mental stability a question. In one case, the killer was a veteran and had demonstrated PTSD – certainly a warning sign that could be built into stronger background checks. But as with the gamer excuse, the vast majority of the mentally ill are not killers.

Bad people pull the trigger. Yes, they do, and this underscores one of the two consistent factors in all 10 of these mass murders. Six of these 10 men expounded white nationalist views –  the others just chose to hate. But let’s not lose sight of the second factor in all 10 cases – they were heavily armed with weapons of war. The bottom line is that without an automatic or semi-automatic gun, bad people can’t pull a trigger and kill nine people in less than 30 seconds, as was the case in Dayton.

So, what can each of us do to help Make America Safe Again?

1. Speak out and call these excuses what they are – rationalizations to protect and shelter gun industry profits.

2. Don’t support candidates who take money from the NRA or gun industry.

3. Call Upton and your state leaders – LaSata, Paquette and Wendzel. If our federal government can’t get their act together, demand that state legislators act to at least make Michigan safer. I support these actions:

4. Institute better background checks and red flag laws.

5. Ban assault style weapons and oversized ammunition magazines.

6. Campaign finance reform – stop unlimited, secret political contributions.

Ken Neumann


Marveling at the mystery of the monarchs


They are back!

If you have noticed an influx of monarch butterflies you are not alone. These creatures are migrating to a small remote forest in Mexico. How these 6- to 10-generation-removed lepiodopteras know where they are headed on this 2,000-3,000-mile journey without GPS nor cell phones is a mystery.

Western Michigan, along the lake, is one of the largest migratory routes in North America. These creatures have spent the summer in Canada frolicking, procreating, feeding on milkweed, etc., and although their numbers are down 50 percent in the past 10 years, thriving. Hold off on the insecticides and enjoy the show the next three to four weeks.

Stuart Boekeloo

Benton Township