Columnist's words are hard to swallow

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Roger VanHaren

I don’t often venture into areas of controversy in this space, but every so often I’m really tempted to stick in my two cents’ worth. Perhaps no one cares what I think, anyway, but something I read after the horrific school shooting in Florida really made me question the way some people think.

Michael Reagan, the son of former president Ronald Reagan, in an editorial piece the week after the Florida tragedy, said this:

“Eighteen. In 45 days. That sounds terrible. That sounds like a huge American crisis that needs to be addressed immediately by our great leaders in Washington.

“But that number, which the anti-gun lobby in the media has emphasized without going into the details of the individual incidents, is highly misleading.

“None of those previous shootings was anything like the horrible one on Wednesday that left 17 students and teachers dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

“The year’s worst previous shooting, which happened in Kentucky at a high school less than a month ago, left two students dead and 14 wounded by gunfire. The only other death was a single murder that occurred on a college campus.

“Two of the shootings that occurred at one of the country’s 120,000 public and private schools this year were suicides. Some involved guns firing accidentally. And most of the other incidents were random shootings on public school property that resulted in no one being hurt.

“But these details of the earlier shootings didn’t matter to religious anti-gun nuts in the media like Don Lemon of CNN and liberal politicians like Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut.

“Before we knew hardly anything about the Parkland shooting, they were offering their usual simplistic solution for stopping what Murphy exaggeratedly called ‘this epidemic of mass slaughter’ in our schools. To no one’s surprise, they called for new laws to control or outlaw guns, especially semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15. Lemon and Murphy will never give up their gun-control pipe dreams.”

Apparently, Mr. Reagan doesn’t think we have a crisis situation in our country, and people who propose any kind of gun control are dreamers. We’re “religious anti-gun nuts” and our solutions to the problem are “simplistic.”

He downplays the seriousness of school shootings, saying some of the deaths were suicides and some were guns firing accidentally. How do guns fire “accidentally”? He says “guns are not the problem.” He wants us to forget the gun-control politics and to put armed guards in the schools. He wants us to arm our teachers so that potential mass murderers will know that our schools are no longer “gun-free zones.” Gun-free zones make the people in them targets, he says.

I cannot understand how people like Reagan think that there’s no need for gun control and how they can justify the assault rifles and other automatic firearms that are so readily available to people. I’m pretty sure that the framers of the Second Amendment didn’t have those weapons in mind when they wrote: “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…”

I hope that the powers that be will listen to the voices of the young people who are working to get some results, but honestly, I’m not very confident that they will.

Contact Roger VanHaren at