It goes without saying that the man who shot at Republican members of Congress, while they practiced for a charity baseball game, was a disgusting human being; I don't know anyone who would defend what he did. But here's what else was hard to defend: turning a tragedy into more of the same old politics. Almost as if on cue, some of my conservative followers on Twitter, along with several Republican pundits, immediately blamed "the left." Excuse me, but the last time I checked, "the left" didn't shoot any congressmen; one angry loner with an assault rifle did that. (Note to my Republican friends: given all the violence in our society, I strongly doubt that only Democrats are guilty of it; and I also doubt that Republicans spend all their time reading the Bible. Truth be told, there are violent and hateful people from both political parties; so don't be so quick to assign blame.)
There was something else that bothered me about today's senseless violence. It's the fact that it happens so often. Sadly, violent episodes such as workplace shootings, which are often perpetrated by a lone gunman, have become so common that many of these incidents don't even make the national news. We don't always know why these gunmen decide to do it, just like we don't always know what their politics are. Some of these shooters have been mentally ill. Some were religious zealots. Some were just angry about whatever (a boss they hated, the unfairness of life in general). And contrary to internet myth, few of the mass shooters of the past several decades were immigrants: most were born here, and a majority were white males.
But whatever the race or color or ideology of the shooters, we find they all had one thing in common: they all had NO trouble getting guns, whether assault rifles or handguns; and these mass shooters all had NO trouble getting lots of ammunition. But every time some of us try to discuss what could be done to prevent further mass violence, the conversation goes nowhere. Why? In large part because our country and its politics are dominated by a small but influential group of "Second Amendment Absolutists." Encouraged by the National Rifle Association, these are people who believe there should be no limitation on gun ownership, and they reject even the smallest restriction on what they see as their total right. No matter how much gun violence out there, their answer is that more "good guys with guns" are the solution.
Of course, this answer is very beneficial for the NRA, and for the small percentage of gun owners who share the view that more is better: I read one report from 2016 that said only three percent of American adults own half of America's guns. Meanwhile, as soon as anyone dares to ask why the average person really needs assault weapons and high capacity magazines, the Absolutists scream that their rights are under attack. And as soon as any politician dares to question why more and higher-powered weapons are a good thing, the NRA spends its money (and its considerable influence) making sure that politician is defeated in the next election.
No, I am not opposed to gun ownership, and no I am not against the Second Amendment. I am, however, against the current extreme interpretation of it. I have never heard one good reason why anyone other than a member of law enforcement or the military needs an assault rifle. When such weapons were briefly banned, somehow the republic did not fall. Sport shooters continued to compete. Hunters continued to hunt. I agree that banning assault weapons is not a magical cure, but when it was tried, some studies suggested it did reduce certain kinds of violent crimes. (Common sense would dictate that not having access to semi-automatic weapons and large capacity magazines would result in fewer people get hit by someone attempting a mass shooting.)
But people who love their guns don't want to have a discussion about reducing gun violence. Any time such a discussion begins, it usually ends with both sides being incredibly frustrated. One thing I do know: encouraging more gun ownership is no guarantee that there will be less crime. And another thing I know: unless our politicians begin to show some courage and not bend to the will of the NRA, violent incidents will continue. Pundits will choose sides, accusations will fly, and absolutely nothing will change. Evidently, that's okay with most people, but it's not okay with me. And what about you, dear readers? Is the status quo okay with you? And why is discussing ways to reduce gun violence the conversation we never seem to have?
Spot-on Donna! NO, the status quo is not okay with me. As to your last question, the tax-exempt NRA scares the pants off of our elected officials more and more every year. It's sickening!ReplyDelete
Thank you Donna for calling it like it is. Respect.
Still full of crap Donna....why don't you write an article about CNN and their lies??? Good place to start .ReplyDelete
And you're still being rude, rather than having a conversation. The CNN story you're probably referring to has been well-reported; and three people resigned. (Story was probably true, but not enough sourcing.) What makes CNN a topic for this blog post, and why do you think they "lie"? If they aren't speaking adoringly of Mr. Trump, that means they are liars? Really?Delete
You are a liberal sounding board. Will you admit now that CNN publishes fake news all the time? If their sources were not accurate then why do the story?ReplyDelete
Nonsense, T-bone. I am not a liberal anything. I try to be fair to the facts. You know I am center-left on many issues, but center-right on a few. As for CNN, the story never got on the air-- it was briefly on their website, and it shouldn't have been because it wasn't ready. They retracted it and that was the end of things. It does not prove they "publish fake news"-- that's a Trump claim, and there's no evidence to support it. 99% of what they report is accurate. In the case of the web story, they also apologized. More than most right-wing sources would do-- I've seen and heard a lot of misinformation on Fox News, but they never apologize and they never correct it. Sad.ReplyDelete
BINGO Donna! I had the same discussion with someone on Yahoo! CNN retracted the story and disciplined the three staff members involved accordingly.Delete
Contrary to popular belief, CNN is definitely not "liberal". They're moderate, and always have been. Excellent response Donna. Respect.
Write your next column about Loretta Lynch. Or how liberal Democrats have destroyed the state of Illinois. Also give me examples of Foxnews misinformation. I'm not letting you off the hook on broad statements. And you are nuts to think the mainstream media is not full left. Don't pee on me and tell me it's raining.ReplyDelete
What would you like me to say about Loretta Lynch? As for Fox News misinformation, let's start with the myth that President Obama wasn't born in the USA. Most of the Fox News misinformation is myths and conspiracy theories from their commentators. There have been entire academic studies of all the misinformation on Fox News, even though I know you probably believe every bit of it.) In fairness, their news reporters are decent folks, and I even know a couple of them. They frame everything from a pro-Republican point of view, but they try to be fair to the facts. And no, the mainstream media is not "full left." It's corporate. It serves the sponsors and tries to get ratings. Are there some liberal commentators? Of course. But there are conservative commentators too. Again, so what?ReplyDelete
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It is no wonder people don't read your claptrap.ReplyDelete
"People" do, evidently. You've certainly read it. But if it's such "claptrap," feel free to continue to ignore it. Thanks.Delete