To the Editor:
On 2/3/2020 a Resolution introduced by Narragansett Town Council member Jesse Pugh to recognize and remember victims of gun violence was picked apart and discussed ad nauseaum before failing on a 2-2 vote.
Frankly, for me it was a “ beam me up...” experience.
While I respect both Mr.Lema and Ms Lawler who are committed and attentive Councilors they both seemed to have become mired in the minutia. Mr.Murray also became fixated on a phrase in the Resolution insisting a line be removed before he could lend his support.
In this instance only Mr. Pugh seemed to be able to see the ‘big picture’ despite input from residents who reminded the TC members of just a few of the tragedies which have affected our Town. (Although not reported in the Times article we do remember the wife and mother who lived with her children in the north end of Town and was shot to death by her estranged husband.)
The gun ownership statistics are staggering : 393 M legally obtained guns in the US but still ,that is only part of the story.
There are, well we don’t really know how many, guns in individual possession which have never been counted. Think about the gun your grandfather took home after his service in WW II or another armed confict. Add guns purchased from flea markets, gun shows,online ,received as gifts or purchased at a retail outlet before fingerprints and a background check were required. These guns are still out there but have not been counted.
Where do these all these guns end up? It is estimated that 30% issued to gun dealers and 20% owned legally are eventually used in street crime. More disturbing, 80% of gun suicides were effected with a legally purchased gun. Accidental shootings ,some resulting in death, numbered nearly 50,000 in 2018.
How have we arrived at such a dismal point in our history? Accessibility and availability. These two conditions fuel abuse whether your penchant is crime ,drugs ,gambling or self-harm. Think about this the next time you look at your children or grandchildren : Americans make up 4% of the world’s population but own 46% of the global number ,estimated at 854M, of civilian firearms.
After listening to the speakers at the Feb. 3 Town Council meeting it is clear that not even never “ going north of the Towers” will insulate us from ,sooner or later, being affected in some way by a tragedy which possibly could have been avoided if not for the accessibility and availability of guns. While the Narragansett Town Council can not alter our present day reality ,it missed an opportunity to formally recognize and remember those lost to gun violence especially those who once called Narragansett home.