By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: Maybe it's all just collateral damage

Old quotes can mature with time, like this one by Joe Gandelman in 2012:

“Here’s a prediction about real gun control reform: Don’t. Hold. Your. Breath. It’s unlikely to happen no matter how many heart-wrenching sidebars we read or see about families who’ll never be the same, past victims who aren’t the same – and gravesites of young people.”

That was written after 20 children and six adults died at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The weapon of choice for the Sandy Hook killer was the Bushmaster XM-15. In February this year, Remington Arms agreed to pay $73 million to families of Sandy Hook victims, becoming the first gun manufacturer held responsible for a mass shooting in this country. Previously, however, the Nevada Supreme Court said gun manufacturers had no such liability for nearly 500 dead and injured victims of the 2017 Las Vegas shooting.

AK-15-type assault rifles were used in Las Vegas, and to kill 28 and injure 64 people in combined shootings at Robb Elementary School in May and the Highland Park parade this month.

In June, Congress passed America’s first substantive gun safety law since the 1994 assault weapons ban of 1994. (That law expired in 2004, followed by a quick and steep rise in mass shooting incidents.)

Of course, the 2022 law isn’t real gun reform with its expanded background checks, incentives for “red flag” laws and limits for people convicted of domestic abuse. Real gun reform would ban, confiscate, destroy and apply major penalties for possession of military-style assault weapons.

Consider another aging quote from Rosanne Cash in 2018, written after 13 were killed and 16 injured in the Thousand Oaks shooting: “These secret pockets of the deepest suffering imaginable are scattered throughout the country, and you can go your whole life without knowing they exist. When a child is killed by random gun violence, it shatters so many lives, from the parent to the family to the extended family to the school to the city. The suffering is multigenerational.”

But maybe I have it all wrong. Maybe the Second Amendment qualification of a “well regulated Militia” is just a red herring to distract us from supporting an unimpeachable individual right to “bear Arms” of any kind. Maybe the dead children, dead adults, and grieving families and friends are just necessary collateral damage for an unimpeachable Second Amendment.

A more recent quote describes them as people “who are little more than fodder and will be forgotten within a few days’ time.”

Jeb Bladine can be reached at or 503-687-1223.


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