Although separated by 54 years, the connection between Lee Harvey Oswald and James T. Hodgkinson is all too familiar.
They both possessed a legally acquired rifle, and for reasons only known to them fired shots at the government of the United States with devastating consequences.
In the case of Oswald, he bought his rifle through an ordinary mail order transaction and Hodgkinson legally purchased his weapon as well… no questions asked.
Oswald fired shots at the president of the United States and Hodgkinson fired dozens of shots at members of Congress last week. Both shooters were killed before they could answer questions or to stand trial for their actions.
But the most telling similarity of these shootings is that after more than a half century and over 1.5 million shooting deaths of famous and anonymous Americans, the government of this country is still unwilling to come to grips with the plague of ever more lethal firearms in the hands of ever more people.
Most of the death and destruction that was visited on Paris last week by terrorists was committed with the same deadly assault weapons that have been used right here by mass killers in movie theaters, malls and even elementary schools. James Holmes murdered twelve people in a Colorado movie theater not long ago. If there had been three of him, like at the Bataclan Concert Hall in Paris, the death toll would have been in the scores. And if there had been a team of killers at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown Connecticut or the church in Charleston, South Carolina, the carnage would have been even worse.
The guns used in Paris and here in American cities, towns and villages are protected and fiercely defended by the National Rifle Association. In turn our representatives in Congress have done absolutely nothing to keep those weapons out of the hands of, well, almost anyone. Their silence is deafening. These guns are designed for the battlefield to kill as many enemy combatants as quickly as possible, and they do. Can you imagine the hue and cry by our politicians if those slaughters had been committed by someone named Mustafa with a Muslim background and jihad as his motivation? Candidates for President would be falling over each other with proposals to keep such weapons out of the hands of “those people.”