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As leaders watch, more die by gun violence
In "The Hunger Games," a depraved nation runs an annual event in which young people hunt each other down while power brokers watch and do nothing.
This twisted fantasy came full circle last week when Elliot Rodger, the 22-year-old son of a "Hunger Games" assistant director, went on a rampage that left six dead -- four of them shot.
But unlike "The Hunger Games" fantasy series, this repeating nightmare is all too real. The tragedy happened in California, but it could just as easily occur in NYC -- if the National Rifle Association gets its way.
Such mass shootings are so common in the United States that we are becoming numb to them. Yet the NRA insists the answer is more guns. Do we want to be in a darkened movie theater when a bad guy starts shooting and the good guys return fire?
A new Georgia law dubbed the "guns everywhere bill" allows guns in some bars and churches. But to be fair, the Georgia legislature made at least one sacred place where no one is allowed to carry a gun -- the Georgia Capitol, where they legislate.
Meanwhile, although New York State's gun laws are among the strictest in the nation, some are trying to make them null and void.
New York doesn't recognize concealed gun carry permits issued by other states. But the NRA is using its clout to try to make "The Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act" a federal law, which would make all states do just that. In other words, the NRA is pushing for a scenario in which some out-of-state yahoo with a gun under his belt could dash into a New York bar or theater and the NYPD could do nothing about it.
The NRA thinks the more guns in America, the merrier. But statistics don't bear this out. There are more than 10,000 firearm-related homicides in the United States each year. Japan, with some of the world's strictest gun laws, averages fewer than 20.
And now four more were shot dead in California.
"Chris was really a great kid," said a grieving Richard Martinez, the father of victim Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez. "Why did Chris die? Chris died because of the craven, irresponsible politicians and the NRA. They talk about gun rights. What about Chris' right to live?"
Playwright Mike Vogel blogs at newyorkgritty.net.