Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Will it be different this time?

Since the massacre of tiny children and their teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut on December 14, the country has sustained its sense of outrage and grief over those senseless killings. There is a lot of talk about and impetus toward new action on trying to restrict the availability of military-style weapons to a public which has no business owning them. Their only purpose is to kill people. Their only valid use is in the military where killing the enemy is, in fact, the point.

Vice President Biden is working with his group to try to get legislation written and passed through the Congress. God knows it won't be easy with the legislative clowns he has to deal with, but he's done it before, with the assault weapon ban back in the '90s. Perhaps he can do it again.

Meanwhile, as Biden and his group work and the pundits pontificate and the gun nuts expostulate about how hammers are more dangerous than guns, (Yes, they really do say that!) the death count continues to rise. As of the latest count today, 588 people in this country had been killed by gun violence since all those babies were slaughtered in Newtown. Slate.com is publishing a running total of the deaths, updated each day.

And today, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot and almost killed two years ago in Tucson, and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, announced the formation of a new group, Americans for Responsible Solutions, which will advocate and lobby for gun control. As the two point out in their introductory letter, since Gabby and others were shot in Tucson, America has endured 11 more mass shootings!  No other country in the world has had any similar experience.

One would think that her former colleagues would have a hard time voting against legislation supported by Giffords to restrict access to guns, if they stop and think for just one moment that what happened to her could easily happen to any one of them. The problem seems to be that some of these people don't have the capacity to think things through or to imagine. After all, James Brady and his wife have been waging the lonely battle against gun violence since he and President Reagan were shot back in the 1980s, and his fellow Republicans who claim to worship St. Reagan have no problem saying "no" to his wounded press secretary. Because they worship the god NRA more.

I was surprised to see that even Gen. Stanley McChrystal, not someone with whom I usually find myself in agreement, has come out for stricter gun control.  Who knows? Maybe America finally has turned a corner on gun violence. Maybe the most armed country in the world is ready for a change. Maybe it will be different this time.

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