03 April 2013

Shame On Us

relatives of victims of gun violence  (photo:  NYT)
The Gun is the Golden Calf of American Politics.  It's made of precious metal; it drives people mad; they worship it like a god.  And so far our nation lacks the unified leadership that Moses and God were able to muster in knocking back this idolatrous obsession with individual rights, forming militias, and supposedly protecting a particular American value.

Connecticut, ahead the rest of the country, passes the most comprehensive gun legislation since Sandy Hook and what's the response?  A flood of gun buyers bum rush the gun stores to arm up.  The perversity is mind-blowing.

A few months after Cerberus (named for the hellhound who guards the Gates of Hades) and its gun-hawking CEO Stephen Feinberg, bowing to pressure from investors, offers to sell the cynically named Freedom Group but so far, no major bank will even come close.  Who would want to buy the major conglomerate of gun manufacturers knowing what we know about how they distort the Constitution, intimidate Congress, and peddle the most dangerous and insidious arsenal in the nation with a shamefully high murder rate for a supposedly advanced civilization.

We check resumes and references when we hire someone in the workplace--it's a principle of business acumen that sure makes a lot of sense.  We have to register to drive and allow ourselves to be subjected to government scrutiny with our finances when we pay taxes.  In more dire circumstances, we have lists of registered names of sex offenders so that their distance from children can be maintained.

So why don't we check on the background of individuals who would like the privilege of owning a weapon and arming it with ammunition that can kill people?  If you're of sound mind and have nothing to hide, a background check is totally routine.  And yet, it appears that even background checks are running into trouble in Congress.  If we cannot set up the most basic of regulations that ensure our safety, we certainly don't merit our claim to being an exceptional representational democracy.

Call Senator Schumer.  Call Tom Coburn.  Call Harry Reid.  Call Joe Manchin.  Call Mark Kirk.  They are all in the United States Senate.  Let them know they need to get something done.

In one of the most cynical displays of our broken political system, a former U.S. Representative, Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, touted a newly released study paid for by the N.R.A. that advocates arming teachers, administrators and security guards at schools across the country.  A little Golden Calf for each and every guardian of every girl and boy across the Land.  What a shameful exercise we are being subjected to.

Our Gun Control Working Group at CBE has been working hard since Sandy Hook.  Mostly writing letters, making phone calls, building a coalition of others who feel strongly that something must be done to curb the use of guns.

We cannot fund studies but I'd bet on a Mall in Washington, DC or at Grand Central Station or Central Park in New York, we can show up en masse, over and over again, and demand real legislation to stop this madness.

Before we get fooled again--and then, as the saying goes, and as the President stated clearly, it's 'shame on us.'


More advice from my FB friend Jonathan Kopp:

Andy, here's some very specific, actionable information your CBE gun group can take this week, straight from Senator Feinstein's office:
A vote in the Senate on gun legislation is scheduled to occur during the week of April 8th. Leader Reid has filed a base package that includes provisions designed to combat gun trafficking, require universal background checks, and improve school safety. The Assault Weapons Ban will be considered under two amendments:

· An amendment that reflects the full Assault Weapons Ban (i.e., a ban on assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines); and
· An amendment to ban large-capacity ammunition magazines.

This week and next will be critical in persuading Senators to vote in favor of these two amendments. We need to generate calls/e-mails/letters to Senators’ offices, particularly those Senators we are targeting (listed at the end of this e-mail). Please consider the following action items from your organization and let me know what you are able to do so we can update Senator Feinstein:

· Ask your membership to call/write/visit their Senators to support the Assault Weapons Ban (through sending e-mail “action alerts” and other means of communication);
· Have your organization’s leadership personally call or write to targeted Senators;
· Have your organization’s leadership submit an op-ed or letter to the editor to a major newspaper on the importance of banning assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines; and
· Have your organization’s leadership issue a press release or hold a press event on the importance of banning assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines.

The following is a list of senators who we believe may be open to supporting the Assault Weapons Ban and whose support we will need to pass the bill.

Ayotte (NH), Baldwin (WI), Coats (IN), Collins (ME), Corker (TN), Fischer (NE), Hagan (NC), Heinrich (NM), Hoeven (ND), Johanns (NE), T. Johnson (SD), King (ME), Kirk (IL), Landrieu (LA), Manchin (WV), Merkley (OR), Portman (OH), Reid (NV), Sanders (VT), Scott (SC), Shaheen (NH), Toomey (PA), T. Udall (NM), Warner (VA), Wyden (OR)

We also believe the following conservative Democrats may be open to a ban on large-capacity ammunition magazines. Although our primary message is to pass the full Assault Weapons Ban, advocates that would like to contact these offices should focus on the ban on large-capacity ammunition magazines.

Baucus (MT), Begich (AK), Donnelly (IN), Heitkamp (ND), Pryor (AR), Tester (MT)
Let's do this!


Sue Vogelman said...

One of the best logical commentaries I've seen on this issue. You would think the emotional reasons would be enough to promote change, but with solid reasoning like this, again I wonder why there is even any debate on background checks or assault weapons. Thanks Andy!

Sue Vogelman said...

One of the best logical commentaries on this issue. You would think the emotional reasons would be enough, but with solid reasoning like this one can't understand why there is even a debate on background checks or assault weapons. Thank you Andy and Jonathon!