Snapshot|Commentary

Recently, in Port St. Lucie, Florida a man by the name of Michael Attey walked into a local Wal-Mart and ask a clerk, “To sell him a gun to kill 200 people.”

The Wal-Mart clerk responded, “that isn’t funny,” to Attey’s request. 

Attey allegedly responded, “I know,” and yet again asked to be sold a gun that could kill 200 people. Attey, did this at a Florida Wal-Mart only days after the horrific shootings of El Paso and Dayton. 

Police arrested 55-year old Michael Attey after receiving an anonymous tip. During the interview with detectives, Attey states, “He is an anti-gun activist and that he believes his statements made to the Walmart clerk in front of a customer only helps his cause which is for Wal-mart to stop selling firearms,” as reported by abc13 news.

The actions taken by Mr. Attey are ill conceived and reckless at minimum and are dangerous and incendiary at their height. His actions at that Wal-Mart does nothing to advance the conversation about violence in this nation. His actions only seek to further entrench the political divide that exists in this nation. His actions were nothing more than political pandering and divisive in nature. Attey’s actions only incited more fear mere days after two mass shootings in our nation. His actions where uninspired, reckless, and shows a gross negligence of critical thinking. 

Now, it’s time to scrutinize and destroy Mr. Attey’s ill conceived and reckless logic.

First, he informs detectives he is an anti-gun activist. You can be an anti-gun activist all you want. You have a right to free speech in this country granted to us by the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. I disagree with your stance because it infringes on my rights but, you have the right to express your views in this country. I will always defend that right. 

Greater restriction on firearms will not solve the gun violence problem in America. A study was commission in 2004 by National Institute of Justice, to see the effect the assault rifle ban had on gun violence. The authors of the 2004 study concluded , “There has been no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence, based on indicators like the percentage of gun crimes resulting in death or the share of gunfire incidents resulting in injury.” The assault rifle ban that was put in place by the Clinton Administration did nothing to curb gun violence as policy hoped to do in the U.S.

If you are looking for concrete evidence we can use the FBI Crime Stats from 2017. In those national crime stats assault style rifles only account 4% of homicides in this country. Aggravated assaults over 73% of those crimes are committed by bodily harm, blunt objects, and knives, with slight over 25% being related to  firearms. Overall, crime is down 1%(0.9%) since 2016. Firearms are not the biggest contributor to violence in this country. Weapons of opportunity are the biggest contributors to violence in America. 

If you believe banning guns is the answer all we have to do is look to the U.K. and their knife epidemic. In the U.K. there where 43,516 knife offenses in the last 12 months ending in March of 2019. That’s is an 80% increase from the 2004 stats. About half of the knife attacks or about 21,700 where assaults. While 20,172 knives or sharp objects where used in robberies. As, we can see in the U.K. the banning of firearms didn’t stop violence. Violence in the U.K. evolved just like anything else. Violence is dynamic and fluid and adapts to the climate. If you restrict one tool criminals will use another tool to accomplish the same effect. If they still want a firearm they will subvert the laws in place to obtain it through the black market. Humanity will always find a way to commit violence among each other.

We don’t have a gun problem in America we have a violence problem in America. A problem that can only be confronted by having reasoned, engaging, and thoughtful conversations about violence in this country. 

Second, he’s goal was to stop Wal-Mart from selling firearms. How does walking into a Wal-Mart and asking to buy a firearm to kill 200 people help your cause? This method of attack does not help your cause at all. Only thing this did was incite fear and panic to the customer who overheard your request to the sales associate. Your insistence to the associate that it wasn’t a joke did nothing but, incite more fear and panic into a Wal-Mart employee who is on edge after a Wal-Mart in El Paso. A shooting which occurred on days earlier. Your actions were ill conceived, idiotic, and dangerous.

Did you believe making national or regional news would cause Wal-Mart to stop the sell of firearms? Did you believe that your actions would force congress to act? In short your actions did not complete any of those objectives. Those actions you took only further highlight that people are more concerned about proving a political point than creating a dialogue. If you wanted to reduce the violence you could have walked into that Wal-Mart to request information on their firearm policy. You could have protested in front of the Wal-Mart or started an online petition. Yet, you decide the best course of action is to walk into a Wal-Mart and ask to buy a gun that can kill 200 people. Again, the only goals you accomplished was inciting fear and panic upon two innocent people.

Your methodology and actions were ill conceived, dangerous, and idiotic. You produced no real change and added nothing to the conversation on violence in this country.

I am tired of the politics of pandering by news media, politicians, and prominent voices on the left and the right. Only thing that gets thrown around is party talking points, useless platitudes, and inaction by both sides. To have any meaningful change in this country we have to have meaningful and engaging dialogue about the violence in this country. As, Americans we are lazy and want the simple solution to the dynamic problems before us. When in reality the problem is complex, nuanced, and dynamic. There is no easy solution to this problem. The solution to this problem goes much deeper than we allow ourselves to investigate. As, a nation we must take accountability and responsibility on both sides for letting it digress into the state we are in today.

Politics of today are so based on political pandering that people can’t move beyond their political ideologies and rhetoric. We have to move beyond rhetoric and do what is right for the American people. 

Infringement of people rights is not the answer no matter how you feel about guns in this nation.  The second amendment of the Bill of Rights grants us the freedom to protect ourselves from the tyranny of our government. It also grants us the right to protect our lives against a dangerous adversary. If we allow this issue to infringe on our rights we will endanger them all. An attack on one freedom is an attack on all freedoms. Every amendment is important to all the freedoms we hold dear in this country. We cannot under good conscience choose one over another we must protect them all. 

If we want to have meaningful discourse about the issue of violence it is one we have to have it together as Americans. We have to get off our political soap boxes and engage with each other. Only then can we find meaningful answers to our country problems. We must stop the division causing rhetoric to find solutions to the complex problem of violence. If not the divide in this country will only widen among the American people. This will decrease the probability Americans will talk to each other without hostility about important issues facing our nation. This division is dangerous and will only further entrench Americans in political pandering and useless rhetoric. Leaving us in a circle of inaction and allowing for continuous attacks of violence to be perpetrated in the future.

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