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      Violent week throws gun laws into focus

      KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - The tragic shooting death of a young Muskegon mom a few days ago puts a somber exclamation point on an especially violent week in the U.S.

      Rebekah Bletsch was shot in the head while jogging near her home--no one knows why.

      Tonight in Tom's Corner, Tom Van Howe says the shooting is a reminder that gun accessibility remains a serious problem in this country.

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      Rebekah was a mom, a daughter, a friend to many. And in the circle of her family and friends, as police begin a difficult search for her killer, she will be mourned and remembered.

      But in the larger sense, she's a number. And there are so many numbers it's hard to keep track.

      On one hand, its easy to understand how we become desensitized to the horrors of violence.

      In the Middle East people are being murdered every day in the name of righteousness. It's numbing.

      We're sending in advisors. And we know where that led us 50 years ago in Vietnam.

      In Israel, the citizenry seems to be gearing up for an all-out confrontation with Hamas after three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and murdered.

      In Texas, more than 50-thousand Central American children are being cared for in refugee camps. Their parents sent them up hoping they'll get citizenship. Nobody knows what to do about it.

      Our increasingly unpopular president is trading barbs with an even more unpopular intransigent Congress. Nothing gets done.

      On the other hand, we have increasingly liberalized gun laws which don't seem to be stopping those intent on murdering people.

      Over the past weekend, on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, two men began trying to shoot each other.

      They were unsuccessful. But they managed to shoot 11 innocent by-standers. One of them was killed and another is still in critical condition.

      In New York City, 23 people were shot. Among them a 10-year-old, a 12-year-old and a 16-year-old.

      In Chicago, 35 people were shot. One person is dead. Many of the others are hurting.

      In Newark, New Jersey, a 17-year-old girl--a cheerleader--was forced to get on her knees before being shot in the head. Her boyfriend was shot, too. He has survived.

      And in Cumberland County, Kentucky, a five-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed his two-year-old sister with his new .22 caliber rifle. The boy's grandmother, who points out it was a child-sized weapon, says the tragedy was God's will. "It was her time to go," she said. "she's in good hands with the Lord."

      The carnage is so overwhelming we have lost our ability to process it in any meaningful, thoughtful way. We deal with it by shrugging our shoulders, shaking our heads, and looking for someone to have lunch with.

      Where do bad guys get their guns to commit these atrocities? Some are stolen. Some are from the gun case at home. But most are purchased illegally at gun shows and from shady gun dealers.

      A teenaged shooter in a Chicago gang told a reporter there that he can get his hands on a weapon any time--as quickly as you can get a burger at a fast food restaurant.

      A phone call and a pickup, he said. As simple as that.

      And what are we doing about it? Virtually nothing. We can't even get a decent background check law in place for those who buy weapons. The NRA holds that automatic weapons are just fine.

      I don't think most people believe that. But most people don't have the money to lobby Congress on their behalf.

      My deepest sympathies to the friends and family of Muskegon's Rebekah Bletsch. I just wish i had more than condolences to offer.

      In this corner...I'm Tom Van Howe.
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