When I was in Vietnam in 1970, our troops were shooting each other at an alarming rate. These were not “friendly” fire events where incompetence or ineptness caused casualties to our own. In my unit we had “anger” fire, or “drunken” fire, or “playing with guns” fire, or “get me out of this place” self-inflicted fire.
Our new commanding officer was an ambitious West Pointer who knew that these casualties could hinder his desired career path. So first he took away every handgun in the battalion to slow the rate of casualties. To finally stop them though, he had all the M-16s locked in their gun racks whenever the soldier was inside our compound. In the midst of a war zone, our CO ordered very strict gun control. Such is a “well regulated militia.”
This story is not told to advocate my former CO’s gun control measures, but to make another point. Our nation will see no improvement in these unacceptably high counts of death by gun violence until our elected leaders — the mayors, congressmen and senators — know their careers will be shortened by voters if they continue to do nothing while allowing violence to persist.
Kenneth M. Barrett