Thursday, April 18, 2013

Collateral Damage

(Source: Washington Post)
As I simmered at the irresponsibility of Wednesday's ratings-driven media, a much stronger metaphorical punch to the gut was in store: thanks to a minority of Senators in Congress, expanded background checks for the purchase of guns was defeated. Not a limit on clip size or ammunition or assault weapons. A simple background check that would keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill (while strictly outlawing a national gun registry) was deemed too intrusive on this population's ability to own firearms.

Never mind that over 90% of Americans support a background check on gun sales. Never mind that only about 35% of American households even own guns. Never mind that current NRA president Wayne LaPierre supported universal background checks back in 1999. All of this does not matter.

To those 46 senators who voted against the clear will of the American people, who looked gun violence victims and their loved ones in the face and decided to vote against a commonsense measure to help prevent future tragedies, who listened to a vocal minority and lobby in a cowardly dereliction of duty: I am embarrassed for you. There is no rational argument against this.

If you are a member of the NRA you are part of the problem. Your financial support helps fund the campaigns that help intimidate weak-willed members of Congress into voting against the American people's wishes. This was not a difficult issue; when was the last time this country backed something at a rate of 90%? If you are part of the majority of NRA members who support universal background checks and do not leave the organization, you are no better than the senators who voted against this bill.

But here's what is the most insulting thing for the American people. Everyone opposed to these measures is saying the same thing: those gun deaths that occur, year in year out, whether by mass shooting or homicide or accident are simply collateral damage. They are collateral damage in the name of easy access to guns. They are collateral damage in the name of a perverted reading of the 2nd Amendment. They are collateral damage in the name of irrational paranoia. The victims of Columbine are collateral damage. The victims of Aurora are collateral damage. The 20 dead first graders at Sandy Hook? A necessary sacrifice in the name of "gun rights." Shameful indeed.

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