US needs lesson from Australia

In 1971, I entered the United States Army.

My destiny was sealed by an anonymous clerk in an anonymous office in an anonymous place: I was to be an Infantry­man.

Over the next six months, I underwent training in the art of efficiently killing human beings. I learned that one could adequately accomplish the task with 81 mm mortars, grenades, bayonets, entrenching tools, steel helmets and even bare hands.

But to really shine, to “mow ’em down,” you had to go with firearms. And military professionals decided the best tool for the job of killing as many human beings as quickly as possible was the M16 rifle.

Designed for the sole purpose of generating mass death the “16” was the fully automatic forerunner of the civilian semi-automatic AR-15.

I have seen the ruination an M16 can fashion. We have all seen the carnage an AR-15 can create.

It is long past time for a solution to the national disgrace of mass shootings. It is possible.

The problem of mass shootings has been contained in Australia. That nation banned AR-style weapons. The government compensated owners with a buy-back program. Those who can show a legitimate need for such weapons can still own them.

There has not been a mass shooting in Australia since the ban was instituted.

What kind of future do we want for our country? What legacy do we leave for our children and grandchildren? How do we feel comfortable when those we love go to school, to the movies, to a sporting event or to a night club?

Certainly we cannot continue to do nothing but pray for a solution. Recent history shows that doesn’t work. Citizens are going to have to demand that these instruments of mass murder are banned from our streets.

We need to implement the Australian model in the U.S.

To the Second Amendment absolutists I say: Machine guns have been banned, except for those who can qualify for a license, for decades.

I propose nothing different, banning a dangerous weapon solely designed to kill people. And for those who say you can be killed with a table leg, I agree. But given the choice between facing a hunk of wood and an AR with a 100-round drum magazine, I’ll go with Ethan Allen every time.

For those undecided about my proposal I ask: How much blood will be enough? How many more tears have to fall? How many more children must die before you decide?

Now is the time. This is the moment in history.

The U.S. can move toward the light and the better angels of our nature. Or we can continue down the dark and dangerous path of doing nothing.

You decide.

Fred Schwaderer

Cresson

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