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The Gun Did It!

October 23, 2017 Frontpage No Comments


On August 1, 1966, 25-year-old Charles Whitman, an engineering student at the University of Texas, took a sawed-off shotgun, three rifles, and two pistols to the twenty-eighth floor observation deck of the University Tower in Austin. There he began to indiscriminately shoot at the people below, some of whom were as far as two blocks away.
Finally, Police Officer Ramiro Martinez shot and killed Whitman, ending the 96-minute rampage that killed 15, including an unborn child, and left 43 others injured. Later it was found that earlier that day Whitman had killed his wife, Kathy, and his mother, Margaret. He had stabbed both women to death.
Thus ended the saga of the first modern mass killing in U.S. history, and it shocked the nation. Whitman, a mentally unbalanced Marine Corps veteran, was buried four days later with full military honors.
Since then there have been over a dozen such mass killings in places like Ft. Hood, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, Orlando, San Bernardino, and, of course, most recently, Las Vegas. And in each of these cases the cause has always been guns, or so the national media and the usual flock of politicians will say.
Pardon me for disagreeing. I don’t think guns are to blame for these killings anymore than automobiles are to blame for drunk-driving deaths. I think the blame is more basic than that. I think the devaluation of life and the desensitizing of death is to blame.
Let me explain.
In 1962 a children’s television personality in Phoenix, Sherri Finkbine (Miss Sherri), found herself pregnant after taking the drug Thalidomide. Unbeknownst to Mrs. Finkbine was that one of the drug’s side effects on pregnant women was babies born with phocomelia: a condition of being born without fully developed limbs.
She sought an abortion at a local hospital, but when the story became public, the negative public reaction caused the hospital to back down and her employer to fire her. After several legal battles failed, the Royal Swedish Medical Board approved an abortion to preserve Mrs. Finkbine’s “mental health,” with no recourse to the baby’s humanity.
The story ultimately galvanized support for abortion and by 1965, 77 percent of those polled supported “abortion rights” in at least some circumstances. This then led to the abortion rights movement that culminated in 1973 with the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade.
Abortion “rights” are now so prevalent that in 2015 it was estimated that nearly 38 percent of pregnancies in New York City were ended by abortion. That year saw 926,240 reported abortions in the United States; a UN report found that only nine countries, including Cuba, have a higher rate than the U.S. By religion, approximately 30 percent of the women receiving abortions claim they are Protestant, and 24 percent say they are Catholic.
So accepted is the killing of the unborn that the mainstream media and one great (or maybe formerly great) political party tout abortion as the be-all and end-all of civil rights. So much so that the actress Martha Plimpton could proudly proclaim that her abortion at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Seattle was her “best” abortion ever. And a 17-year-old high school senior, Aja Dailey, developed a senior class project around her choice to abort, a project designed to normalize and de-stigmatize abortion for her classmates.
The same is happening with physician-prescribed suicide, or, as some have called it, “aid in dying,” or “death with dignity,” or as I call it: “doctor prescribed death” and in some cases, euthanasia.
Court cases throughout the nation — and, for that matter, the world — can be seen tip-toeing into the slippery slope of mercy killings and state-sponsored suicide. All of which is the outgrowth of the notorious “doctor of death,” Jack Kevorkian, who as early as 1959 was arguing that death-row inmates should be allowed to volunteer for medical experimentation as a method of execution. By 1987 he was advertising himself as a “death consultant” and in 1987 he assisted a 54-year-old Alzheimer’s patient, Janet Adkins, to commit suicide.
Kevorkian’s attorney estimated that during the years 1990 to 1998, Dr. Kevorkian had assisted in the suicides of 130 terminally ill persons. All the deaths to this point were carried out through the assistance of a machine that the doctor would hook up that allowed the patient to flip a switch, as it were, to start the flow of death-dealing drugs into the patient. His fatal flaw was in 1998 when he actually administered the drug to a Lou Gehrig’s disease patient and was found guilty of second degree murder and imprisoned.
Since that time “death with dignity” advocates have championed the cause of, first, physician assistance for those wanting to end their lives, and now the actual killing of individuals whose worth is meaningless.
Several states, such as California, Washington, and Oregon, have made such killings legal under the guise of end of life options. However, the laws have, as all such laws do, produced unexpected results. For example, in California, after it passed its “End of Life Options Act,” Stephanie Packer was denied chemotherapy treatment by her insurance company which, instead, offered to pay for the drugs necessary for her to commit suicide.
Most of the laws provide little or no protection for the patient. For example, usually the patient must make the request in writing with a witness. There is no regulation on who that witness may be — it could be the one family member “assigned” to take care of the person and who’d like out, or the nephew who inherits. No protection for the patient, just a signature.
Drugs are delivered — sometimes by mail — and the patient is expected to take them as directed with no requirement that a medical person supervise or even be present. Thus a patient who changes his mind could have the pills ground and put in his food without his knowledge. There is no oversight.
In other cases a surrogate decision-maker, such as a guardian or a person holding a medical power of attorney, and sometimes the hospital or living center where the patient is located, can make the decision for the patient without any reference to what the patient wants, or needs.
Often it is required that the patient’s death certificate make no reference to suicide, only to the underlying disease (if there is one), making it impossible to track the true number of suicides under the law.
And, like abortion, this phenomenon is engulfing the world with shocking results. This year in the Netherlands an 80-year-old woman had to be held down by family members while the doctor administered the drug that euthanized her. Later the state’s medical board ruled that the doctor had “acted in good faith.”
Again, in the Netherlands any child age 12 to 16 can ask to be euthanized if their parents agree; at age 16-18 their parents only need to be “involved” in the decision but need not agree. Under its “Complete Life Bill” any person over 75 can asked to be euthanized for any reason.
Belgium legalized lethal injections for children in 2014. In 2010 Tina Nys, 37, was euthanized for “unbearable psychological suffering” even though no physician tried to treat her psychological problems.
In 2015 a 24-year-old was euthanized for having suicidal thoughts. That same year a Belgium soccer team celebrated the life of one of its fans as part of his farewell, as he was going to be euthanized the next day.
In Switzerland an Italian woman in 2014 was euthanized because she was upset over losing her looks. Her family only found out about her death when the woman’s attorney delivered her ashes to them.
And in Canada it is reported that under its Medical Assistance in Dying law the vast majority of deaths, 504 out of 507, were by euthanasia.
Of course the rise of abortion “rights” and medical assistance in dying do not, by themselves, shoulder all the blame for the loss of respect for life.
Over the past half century there has been a noticeable decline in morality, as almost any social scientist will attest. People, even from strong Christian families, have become unchurched in record numbers; values have plummeted and moral concepts have given way to “feelings” as our belief system has become one of relativism where truth fluctuates from person to person according to the latest political or social whim.
And, as we have seen with the breakdown of traditional marriage, its undoing started not with demands for same-sex marriage, but with the rise of cohabitation, single-parent families, and no-fault divorce, concepts which were ultimately blended into demands for equality by homosexual groups. All of which are promoted by that side of the political aisle that demands “common sense” gun control.
There are slippery slopes all over the political and social landscape: Morality is determined by each individual, history we don’t like can be expunged, the legal foundation on which the nation was built conflicts with the new progressivism, and the list can go on and on.
Drip, drip, drip until the foundation is eroded: Is that were we are headed? Are we just treating the symptoms and not the disease? Or do we not even recognize the disease?
The real answer, of course, is to take away all the guns.

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