Dear Readers,

Welcome to Jmore’s annual travel issue. I had intended to write a column about my recent trip to the Galápagos Islands — a group of beautiful islands where Darwin discovered the basic facts of evolution.

Sadly, another national tragedy has occurred. The school shooting in Florida once again reveals a horrible flaw in our political system.

Mass school shootings are a particularly American problem. Those folks who echo the “Make America Great Again” mantra should be truly concerned that the frequent murders of our children are having the opposite effect. Only the U.S. has these frequent shootings.

It’s amazing that a segment of our population is deeply upset over foreign terrorism on our soil but conveniently ignores white nationalist terrorism at home. They are quick to defend gun rights but ignore the lack of security we have created.

The polls have shown that most Americans are in favor of common sense gun control. Yet due to the hundreds of millions of dollars that the National Rifle Association contributes to politicians, nothing ever happens.

No one needs a machine gun to protect their home or shoot animals. No one needs a gun capable of firing off hundreds of bullets per minute.

Folks with known mental illness should not be allowed access to guns. Background checks should be implemented to make sure no one with a criminal record or a history of mental illness gets a gun.

These are reasonable steps and yet the president, in one of his first acts in office, chose to reduce rules that kept guns from the mentally ill. Does that make any of us feel that America is greater?

The NRA and ultra-conservatives make the arguments that the Founding Fathers gave us the rights to weapons and any diminution of access is the beginning of the slippery slope towards a total ban. How silly an argument that is. The Founding Fathers had no concept of machine guns, bump stocks, AK-47s, etc. The extension of that argument is that citizens should have the right to tanks, Scud missiles and personal nuclear weapons.

When will the dum-dums of our society understand that they are getting played? The NRA is playing them.

The politicians are co-conspirators. They’ll prevent gun controls as long as the gun manufacturers are simultaneously pushing dollars to them and spending heavily to convince conservative voters.

How many times do you need to hear the phrase, “This is not the time to talk about gun laws” after a national tragedy? We all know that to that faction, there is never a good time.

The time to solve the gun issue is now. Shall we wait until your children or mine are killed? Let’s make America great by protecting our school kids.

Be safe,

Scott Rifkin, M.D.