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Jeb Bladine: And life goes on, for those still living

The New York Post, though often criticized for conservative bias, covered half its Monday front page with four giant words: “BAN WEAPONS OF WAR”.

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Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

> See his column

Wednesday, when asked about a possible ban on assault weapons, President Trump ignored the blaring NYP headline, saying, “Well, I can tell you that there is no political appetite for that at this moment. If you look at the — you could speak, you could do your own polling. And there’s no political appetite, probably, from the standpoint of legislature. But I will certainly bring that up.”

Later that same day, this week’s poll of voters by POLITICO/Morning Consult reported nearly 70 percent of voters would support just such a ban, including 55 percent of Republicans.

A majority were pessimistic, however, about the political prospects for a ban on military-style weapons, and with good reason. We didn’t change anything after 20 young children and others were killed at Sandy Hook, so what would suggest anything different after El Paso and Dayton?

After all, we mostly fail to change habits of food, drugs and drink that contribute to hundreds of thousands of deaths annually. We don’t demand measures that could reduce our 40,000 annual roadway deaths. We’re ineffective in identifying and treating mental anguish that fuels 45,000 suicides a year.

Human lives are traumatized regularly by the realities of death.

The most recent annual numbers for deaths in the United States report 635,000 from heart disease, 598,000 from cancer, 492,000 from respiratory, strokes, Alzheimer’s and diabetes. The statistics include 65,000 poisonings and 36,000 falls.

However, mass shootings that cause comparatively fewer deaths produce the most gut-wrenching stories, presumably because they include the elements of murderous intent, victim horror and seemingly achievable prevention.

Americans respond with sadness approaching grief, with despondency bordering on depression, with prayers and protests and appeals for gun controls. Then it passes, and life goes on for those still alive.

But the numbers remain. Amnesty USA reports that “more than 30,000 men, women, and children are killed with guns each year in the United States,” adding that among high-income countries, that amounts to “80 percent of all gun deaths in the world.”

Gun control opponents point to our Constitution: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Notice, however, that it says “the people,” not “every person.” And “bear Arms” is not the all-inclusive right to own any weapon.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at jbladine@newsregister.com or 503-687-1223.

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