Another horrific shooting. Twenty-five people killed in Baptist church in the small town of Sutherland Springs, Texas. Fourteen of the victims were children. And the nation watches the aftermath and wonders why is this happening and what can be done about killings like these occurring almost weekly? As we listen to those who lead our country hoping for answers, we are left with none. Only words which we have heard before and found wanting. Rhetoric long on concern and short on substance. The time has come for action by goring the sacred cow of the current occupant of the White House, the Republican Congress and various state legislatures.
On Monday, President Trump in an effort assure the nation, stated he believed shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas was done by a person with a “mental health problem” and in no way, was the result of gun laws in our country. The Repeater-in-General went on to reinforce the mental health rationalization by saying “Mental health is your problem here,” noting that “based on preliminary reports” the killer was “a very deranged individual.” Obviously, Trump having a very high IQ and an Ivy League education can make a mental health diagnosis. Yet if he knows so much about mental illness, how can he be so blind about his own mental illness (see my blog post of September 30th). In fairness, I must give Trump credit for doing something about mental illness. In February, Trump quietly signed a bill which had passed both houses of the Republican controlled to revoke an Obama-era regulation that would have made it harder for persons with mental illnesses to purchase a gun. The regulation only lasted two months before the Republicans revoked the regulation. Had it stayed in place the Obama administration had calculated that nearly 75,000 people with serious mental health issues would have been added to the background check database. Interestingly, Trump in a public signing of many bills and executive orders on that February day, did not use the photo op or adoring applause to sign the bill in front of the cameras. Rather the press received an email about the day’s signings and almost hidden was reference to the mental illness regulation revocation. Just another cowardly act by a president whose words mean nothing.
The time has come to turn back the Trump agenda and the continual rationalizations of the Republican members of Congress. It is time no longer to use “mental illness” as an excuse to ban assault weapons. No longer can we accept the notions that the Second Amendment of our Constitution gives anyone the right to own assault rifles, much less assault rifles rigged with “bump” stocks. The founding mothers and fathers of our nation had no idea what havoc and death an assault rifle can wreak. To assert that citizens should have the right to own assault rifles, bump stocks, and high capacity ammunition magazines to protect their homes from intruders is lubricious. A double barreled 12-gauge shotgun would be just as effective. And my favorite claim of the gun lobby “guns don’t kill people…people kill people”. This bumper sticker blurb defies reason and logic! An assault rifle itself is an impotent piece of metal. It cannot kill anyone or anything until a person pulls the trigger. The assault rifle was designed and manufactured to be an instrument of war; to kill the enemy. The endless mass killings of innocent American men, women and children are not this nation’s enemy. It is time we called the perpetrators of the unconscionable violence what they are – terrorists! And it is high time the Republican Congress dealt with the source of this terrorism and stand up for the American people and against the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre, million dollar a year shill for the gun and ammunition manufacturers. Congress needs to reinstate the assault weapons ban, reinstate their recent revocation of the mental illness regulation, ban bump stocks, enact universal background checks and do something right for a change, instead of filling their reelection campaigns with the blood money offered by the gun lobby for their complicity.
An excellent article written by Dennis Hennigan of the Daily Beast which appeared July 30, 2016 is well worth reading:
Of course, the Republican majority in Congress will probably do nothing. A month has passed since Las Vegas and it seems to be all but forgotten. All the “thoughts, prayers, and sympathies” have been dutifully expressed by the politicians. But nothing has been done. The focus must be on tax cuts and “reform” for the moment. Terrorism no longer a priority.
However, the real power in our democracy rests with us – we the people! Despite the right-wing media’s poo pooing the election results of Tuesday’s election, the fact is the Resistance Movements spoke in a loud thunder at the polls. But now is not the time to ease our efforts. The pressure must be maintained. With respect to gun violence we will march, we will protest and sit in, max out the voice mails of our Congressional delegations, flood their email accounts and hold them to account for their inability to pass gun control legislation at town hall meetings and meet-and-greets. We have the power. Let our voices be heard. Get involved to whatever extent you can, but get involved. Remember the wise words of Edmund Burke nearly three centuries ago: “Nobody made a greater mistake than he/she who did nothing because he/she could do only a little.”
As an aside, I couldn’t help hearing an old protest song from the late 60’s that kept running through my mind, change a few words and it still seems relevant to today.