It’s Never the Time…again
It should have happened after Sandy Hook, after tiny children were executed with an assault rifle in their own classrooms. But no. A serious conversation about gun control should have taken place, but no. Our elected officials said now is not the time to talk about this. And as it always happens, it turned out that they forgot to find a time even after all of the funerals with teddy bears were over. The time to have a rational conversation just never came. It never does. Congress did not do anything at all about the fact that babies were slaughtered with a high powered rifle in their own school. They talked a good game, but they lied about their intention to do anything to curb gun violence. The Ted Cruz’s in Washington know that their real position on gun control is utterly unconscionable, so they don’t utter it. They can’t. They instead attack anyone who dares bring up the untenable gun laws in our country as insensitive monsters on the left who always go straight to politics when decent citizens should instead be praying. They pretend to be the stewards of our public safety while they allow the NRA to threaten and intimidate them into making sure that NO PROGRESS IS MADE towards reasonable gun laws in our country. They take money from the NRA. They do the NRA’s bidding. And the deadly results on our streets, in our schools, at our airports, in our nightclubs… are painfully visible every time you turn on the news. Republicans’ position on gun control is truly unconscionable! You can be a gun owner and 2nd Amendment supporter AND be for closing the background check loopholes. You can clutch your gun and still understand that assault weapons should be banned to civilians.
None of us have clean hands when it comes to the gun violence that plagues America. The Democrats have mostly been silent about gun control for the past couple of decades. Joe Manchin, who is honest and has more integrity than most in Congress, is a darling of the NRA and should be made to answer for that. Even Bernie Sanders has had a good NRA record at times. But let’s be clear, it is almost entirely Republicans in congress that are standing in the way of common sense gun control laws. Republicans applauded in Feb. when the president reversed the 2016 regulation making it harder for mentally ill people to buy guns and they said nothing when the president said from Asia that this is a mental health problem after the Texas church shooting. They make no connection between those two things becasue they know that they are morally on the wrong side of this and they know that their only chance is to obfuscate. Republicans are working right now to overturn the ban on silencers for guns that has been in place since the the gangster days. I’m sorry, but that is not making us safer. Republicans are on the wrong side of keeping our streets safer.
My wife thinks that they should broadcast the crime scene photos from Sandy Hook so that the people standing in the way of progress on gun control legislation would have to see the carnage, they would have to see what an assault rifle does to a 7-year old child when put in the hands of a madman. For a long time I argued why that would be bad for society. But now I think maybe she’s right. Maybe it has come to that. Maybe Americans need to see that horror in order to be shaken out of our numbness. Maybe seeing the children killed in that Texas Church will push Republicans to finally stop blocking progress on gun control. Eisenhower marched the adults from the surrounding towns through liberated concentration camps so they could see the horror they’d allowed by turning a blind eye. They were complicit. Maybe Americans need to own this in the same way.
American politicians don’t do thoughtful grown-up conversation. As we recently observed with the healthcare debacle, there was nothing close to a rational debate about healthcare. It was just ridiculous politicians spinning and dodging. Nothing more than screaming partisans. Nobody seriously discussed the real issues of our healthcare system. We’re seeing it already with so-called tax-reform. Smoke and mirrors. And the same goes for gun control. No serious national conversation has been had in decades about gun control. The Australians had a serious grown-up conversation about the direction of their country and who they wanted to be. But not us. Nope. The NRA and their mostly red-state supporters will push for armed guards in every small-town church and on top of every hotel in Vegas, just like they said that arming teachers was the solution to Sandy Hook. A few Right Wingnuts on the fringe even say that Sandy Hook was hoax. No serious grown-up conversation ever happens about guns. The Sandy Hook parents tried to affect change, they went to Capitol Hill where the politicians pretended to have their backs, but in the end they were ignored.
It is a very disappointing time to be an American. At least for me. It seems that we Americans are too dim, too angry, too blinded by the glare of our smartphone screens to be able to think and converse like rational humans. Of course 350 Million people will never agree 100% on anything, but what would it take just to get to the point where we can have a serious conversation? Well if 1/3 of our citizens don’t understand the need to start passing gun control laws to quell this mass murder, then it’s clearly up to the other 2/3 of us to fix this. Clearly. Now is the time. We must find the kind of inner-resolve that Gabby Giffords has summoned. When Ted Cruz or McConnell or the NRA or the president tell us this isn’t about guns we MUST speak the obvious and refuse to let them get away with that sophomoric deflection. Now is the time to talk about this. Now is the time to address this. Of course mass shootings are about guns! We must call Republicans out, as well as Dems where they are culpable. We must draw a line as clear as gunpowder from their nonsensical NRA talking points to the daily carnage that has become 2017 America. We must make Republicans see that by standing in the way of any rational gun laws they are clearly culpable. Clearly. That’s about all that is clear right now, with the smoke of the gunpowder still blurring our vision.
This is an updated version of the piece written after the Vegas mass shooting, Oct 3, 2017.