Mike Zielinski

Mike Zielinski

We need a ceasefire to the killing fields that are populating our urban cores like Reading.

It’s way past time that bullets stop earning frequent flier miles.

Right now you probably have a better chance of getting shot with hot lead in Reading than you do getting shot with a COVID-19 vaccination because of its glacial rollout.

Mayor Eddie Moran has released a three-pronged plan to curb gun violence in Reading.

The first part of Moran's plan is to create a gun buyback program.

The second part is to explore creating an auxiliary police program that will empower residents to work with local police.

The third part is to partner with community organizations such as YouthBuild, Moms Demand Action, Village of Reading, Reading Recreation Commission, Olivet Boys & Girls Club and Reading School District.

Those measures are fine, especially the gun buyback program. But the journey to less gun violence needs more traction. Bottom line: Until we put more firepower into our gun laws, the bullets will continue to zing the air.

Sometimes I think our current laws are as useless as a chia pet in curbing gun violence.

Granted, there are legal limits to what Reading officials can do in terms of regulating the sale and possession of firearms in the city. They need the folks in Harrisburg and Washington to implement tougher gun controls.

No longer should the politics of guns prohibit lawmakers from putting a bolt lock on this epidemic.

Reading Police Chief Richard Tornielli cited a 22% drop in crime in 2020, including a 3% decrease in violent crime. But he noted an uptick in gun crimes over the past three years, many perpetrated by young adults and juveniles.

Hence the city’s outreach to youth-centric community programs.

Of course, fatal shootings transcend city and state lines. More than 41,000 Americans died of gun violence in 2020.

Sadly, too many Americans have become almost oblivious to all this carnage. Then again, some of these folks wouldn’t arch an eyebrow if you sprayed WD-40 on their appetizers.

Gun crime and danger ride in tandem, much like a trigger and a firing pin.

Scratch that old mantra that guns don’t kill people, people do.

Tell that to the shooting victims in morgues. You know it would only fall on deaf, oops, dead ears.

Mike Zielinski, a resident of Berks County, is a columnist, novelist, playwright and screenwriter.

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