BY JULIE SEYLER
In the wake of the horror of Newtown, there have been reports that the pro-gun lobby is open to reform. A front page headline in The New York Times on Tuesday December 18, 2012 proclaimed “Pro-Gun Democrats Signaling Openness to Limits”. What about pro-gun Republicans? We can’t unite on the idea that the death of innocents because of way-too-loose gun laws is unacceptable?
The front page also had a story on the first of the two Newtown funerals – two little boys. It has all been said and said and repeated, but in the solitude of my living room, the tears streamed down my face. Again.
Buried within the paper was the headline “Silent Since Shootings, N.R.A, Could Face Challenge to Political Power.” That sounded promising, until you get behind the facts of the N.R.A. The article summarized the status of the N.R.A., including its game-plan strategy when the country is confronted by gun killings. Rather than promoting legislation that might actually make it impossible for these situations to occur, the N.R.A. passionately besieges Congress to defeat laws that would require background checks before a gun may be purchased, and relentlessly pushes for legislation that would permit unfettered access to buying, owning and carrying guns. What sane person would not find this utterly abominable, especially in light of what we have experienced as a nation over the past 13 years?
On April 20, 1999 two high school seniors carrying, between them, a 9-mm semi-automatic handgun and a 12-gauge double-barrel sawed-off shotgun, a 9-mm carbine rifle and a 12-gauge pump sawed-off shotgun killed 13 people at a high school in Columbine, Ohio. At that time I was still way on the left side of 50, and the call for gun reform was as loud and clear as it is today. But we haven’t tightened the laws, they’ve actually gotten weaker. Why? Because the N.R.A. got stronger.
Eight years later, on April 16, 2007, 32 people were gunned down on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, in Blacksburg, Virginia. This guy had gotten his hands on a .22-caliber Walther P22 semi-automatic handgun and a 9mm semi-automatic Glock 19 handgun. But while I had crossed over to the right side of 50, nothing had changed on the gun control front. In fact, the Times articles reported that after this massacre, “Congress did manage to pass a modest measure that was designed to provide money to states to improve the federal background check system. But the N.R.A. secured a broad concession in the legislation, which pushed states to allow people with histories of mental illness to petition to have their gun rights restored.” The N.R.A. wanted to make sure that if you were diagnosed with a mental instability, you still had a right to obtain a gun. Let me clarify, not “obtain” a gun, simply the right to petition to have these rights restored. What??? And our elected senators and representatives didn’t have a hissing fit?
On January 8, 2011, I was older, and maybe a tad bit wiser, but we as a country remained statically childish. We had done nothing to tighten the regulations on guns. So a guy with a Glock 19 loaded with a high capacity magazine shot Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, killed six people and wounded 13 others. It made sense to try to get Congress to ban magazines. But no, we did not pass this law because there was a lack of bi-partisan support.
So I am 57, and am reading about children at an elementary school who needlessly die because a 20-year-old kid had access to a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle and two handguns — a Glock 10 mm and a Sig Sauer 9 mm.
How do they do it? How does the N.R.A continue to roll on, increasing its budget and its supporters year after year, pushing Congress again and again to pass laws that will allow individuals to purchase and pack a handgun into their pocket and carry it concealed, or otherwise, into parking lots, bars and shopping malls. The country gets older, and loses its muscle and backbone. It makes my stomach turn.
According to the Times article, the N.R.A.’s strategy is to simply lay low after one of these incidents. Their Web site and Twitter feed goes momentarily dead. For example, on December 19, their Facebook page craftily posted this statement that “Out of respect for the families, and as a matter of common decency, we have given time for mourning, prayer and a full investigation of the facts before commenting.”
What coy manipulative scaredy-cats. They stampede for laws allowing people to not only readily get their hands on firearms, but to feel perfectly comfortable and justified in using them. Then they sheepishly declare silence as “a matter of common decency” in the wake of tragedy. They cannot face the music when their fervent push for gun liberalization laws leads to a massacre of children. Perhaps we are finally ready as a country to SCREAM OUT-NO MORE
And one last tidbit about the N.R.A:
The Times also reported that after the N.R.A. does their “silent act,” they “slow-roll any legislative push for a response.” I was not sure about the phrase “slow roll”, so I Googled it, and came up with this definition from a poker Web site:
To take an inordinate amount of time to call an all-in bet as the last player to act and nobody else besides the all-in player remaining in the hand, all while holding the nuts. It is considered very unsportsmanlike.
Yes, the N.R.A. is unsportsmanlike.
anita jaffe said:
NRA has spoken!!! More guns is their solution. “Let s have armed guards at all schools and of course warning signs “no guns allowed with 50 feet? of school” Problem solved! See how easy that was.
It is time for us all to be loud and clear that we believe owning a gun is a crime. Mothers against drunk driving did it and we all must put every pressure on every law maker and demand our voice be heard and NRA stopped’
Julie s excellent statement is a perfect rallying cry.
You must have your head in the sand and definetly need to move to another country.Gun control is one thing–but what you suggest are the words of an idiot that has obviously not read our constitution
Ellen Beller said:
We had Columbine and the world remained silent,then we had a mad person who murdered innocent people in their movie seats. Two conventions (both parties) followed and it was never brought to the forefront. I understand that the gun lobby has powerful money behind them but until Congress works for us and not the lobbyists nothing will ever change.
Frank Terranella said:
Taking their cue from 1st Amendment proponents who argue that the solution to defamation is more speech, the NRA says the solution to violence by guns is more guns. I have come to think that both are wrong. Any absolute right is evil, whether it’s freedom of speech or the right to bear arms. We need to use common sense in both cases. Yes I know it’s scary to some people to actually have to think rather than have a knee-jerk reaction, but that’s what adults do.
Bob Smith said:
Very well said, and all too horribly true. When the dust settles, and our collective memories across the country (except for Newtown) fade regarding this latest obscene bloodletting, will we go back to gun business as usual? I certainly hope not, but if the past is any indication, we probably will.
Liz Perwin said:
You nailed it Julie, and it makes me sick to realize that once again economic interests of the NRA trump our compassion and sanity regarding gun restriction. What sane person …. is right. This is not sanity, its greed. I too have been crying; it makes me so unbelievably sad. I think we need a March on Washington because the right to bear arms has become UNBEARABLE! Timed for Inauguration weekend. (But I don’t know how to start a march.).
I can only hope that the New Age-ers are right and this isn’t the end of the world, but the birth of a new awareness.
THANKS for this great new blog!