I know you have been contemplating issuing an executive order on gun control in the state, so I am writing this to urge you to actually take immediate action on this urgent matter. I am sure you are …
I know you have been contemplating issuing an executive order on gun control in the state, so I am writing this to urge you to actually take immediate action on this urgent matter. I am sure you are aware that there are 40,000 deaths a year caused by gun violence in our country which account for more deaths than due to automobile accidents. This shocking number should itself prompt action on your part since we know that nothing will get accomplished by the Republican state legislators.
The Newtown massacre in 2013 should have been the turning point for our country, but I guess that just wasn’t gruesome enough to qualify for our nation’s legislators to take action on gun control. The families of the victims pleaded and cajoled their representatives but they were ignored. Now, here we are six years later and multitudes of massacres and still nothing. Again, this inaction can only be attributed to the Republicans and the NRA lobby.
In order to emphasize the importance and severity of this gun violence issue, I refer you to a January 2013 op-ed in the New York Times written by Dr. David Newman, director of the clinical research in the department of emergency medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Dr. Newman spent most of his career treating gunshot wounds and also went to Iraq in 200 and treated gunshot wounds at a combat hospital and “pretty much seen the worst of it.” Dr. Newman describes the lethal effects of wounds from an AR-15 or AK 47 as “when a bullet from a high-muzzle velocity weapon hits the intestines, it’s like an explosion, whereas a low-muzzle velocity can be very similar to a knife going through the intestines; there’s bleeding, but it doesn’t destroy the whole area. The high-muzzle velocity bullet, however, destroys whole areas of the body. With a bone that’s been shot with a standard-issue caliber handgun, you’ll see a break, a hole in the bone and maybe some displacement, but a high-muzzle weapon shatters the bone into hundreds of microscopic pieces in a way that cannot be repaired. It’s now useless tissue. You can’t believe that a bullet could do this amount of damage.”
My son-in-law was an FBI agent and a SWAT team member who went into the Sandy Hook School and observed the aftermath of this massacre. FBI protocol required him to attend many weeks of psychological debriefing because of his exposure to such a traumatic event. Dr. Mark Seamon, co-author of a new gun violence study and trauma surgeon who supervised the University of Pennsylvania research said, “part of that involves doing the research so that we understand the full effects of gun violence.”
So, Gov. Wolf, I hope I have had some impact on your decision to proceed with issuing an executive order regarding this life-and-death issue. Gun violence affects all of us, not just the immediate survivors.
John Hahn lives in Shohola, PA.