Add the numbers up: 58, 14, 13, 6, 27, 2012. Did you quickly get the answer? The numbers: Fifty-eight dead in Las Vegas last fall; 14 in Parkland, Florida last week; 13 at Columbine High School in 1999 and six years since 27 students and teachers were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. What does that equal? More of the same. No change. The status quo equals more carnage. Assault rifles are an equal opportunity destroyer. They will take lives at a concert or in a classroom. People with these weapons kill students and party goers, males and females, coaches and counselors. The equation turns to none of us knowing where and when we will be safe from a gun and especially from assault rifles. Responsible gun owners – my neighbors, readers of this newspaper – being responsible, have to fish or cut bait. Hunting, or even protecting all of us from a possible coup or invasion is one thing. Assault rifles are another. The Merriam Webster definition of assault is “a violent physical or verbal attack; b: a military attack.” Neither has to do with taking deer, elk or turkeys down. Consider: our population was 317 million in 2015. The Washington Post estimated the number of firearms nationwide at 357 million that year. Yes, there are more guns than people in our beloved country. Awash with guns? No, we are drowning in them. Another number: $5.2 million. That how much the National Rifle Association spent lobbying Congress and the federal government in 2017, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Gun owners: it is time to stop protecting the three percent of seriously confused people who own a collective 133 million guns. That number is from The Guardian. You want change to reduce the number of guns that have flooded the country? Embrace zero. That is the number of politicians to vote for whose hands and campaigns are dirty by their taking money from the NRA. Either we dry up the supply and inventory of guns or guns will be the death of us. Otherwise the dead bodies will continue to pile – and add – up. Postscript: One day society will come to see a passion for guns as an addiction as dangerous as gold lust. We will find gun manufacturers as guilty as pharmaceutical companies have been in flooding our communities with drugs. There will be lawsuits. Let’s hasten that day.