Poll after poll shows that the vast majority of Americans support gun control reform, including but not limited to universal background checks, longer waiting periods, ending the gus show exceptions, and stricter licensing. In Florida, slight movement for change happened after the Parkland massacre, but in Congress, Republicans have blocked all efforts at reform, fearful of offending the NRA and gun manufacturers who give generously to their campaigns. Rather that any real change, this politicians mutter bullshit comments of "thoughts and prayers' and obfuscate the real issue by citing mental illness and every other imaginable excuse other than the obvious one: Americans have too many guns and little is done to seriously impose liability on gun owners and gun manufacturers. While I do not advocate single issue voting, a politicians stance on gun control needs to be much more important if common sense change is to occur. A column in the New York Times looks at the issue. Here are highlights:
The school shooting has become an American motif, a previously unthinkable option for the odd, the alienated and the spurned, a way to find voice through violence.We had yet another one last week in Santa Fe, Texas, where a student killed 10 people and injured 13 others. After the shooting, Paige Curry, a student at the school, offered a chilling assessment of our current predication.
A television news reporter asked: “Was there a part of you that was like, ‘This isn’t real, this would not happen at my school?’ ” Paige responded, shaking her head, an uncomfortable, reflexive smile on her face that mocked the naïveté of the question: “No, there wasn’t.” The reporter pressed: “Why so?” Paige continued: “It’s been happening everywhere. I’ve always kind of felt like eventually it was going to happen here, too.”
Schools across the country are preparing for this morbid eventuality. According to a 2015-16 Crime and Safety Survey by the National Center for Education Statistics, 92 percent of public schools have a written plan describing procedures to be performed in the event of an active shooter . . .
These preparations — sheltering in place, ducking for cover, running for your life — have become a routine part of our children’s educational experience. This is not normal and must never be accepted as such. Neither are these shootings normal. This is all insanity.
We have too many guns in this country, including too many based on combat weapons, and as a result we have too many shootings and deaths.
Many of us know this. We also know that legislators in Washington, as well as Donald Trump himself, are so beholden to the National Rifle Association that little to nothing will be done to stem the real problem: Guns and their availability.
Instead, politicians talk about tangential issues like the mentally ill, the “hardening” of soft targets like schools, and putting even more guns in people’s hands, like the lunacy of arming teachers.
Trump promised in his inauguration speech to end this “American carnage,” but “gun deaths are up over 12 percent year-over-year. Firearm injuries are up nearly 8 percent. The number of children under the age of 12 shot by a gun has increased by 16 percent . . . . Yes, gun violence is actually on the rise.
But as politicians in Washington have made clear that they have no desire to address this issue, no desire to stand up to the N.R.A., no desire to stop treating these deaths as collateral damage, those seeking change must change tactics.
People seeking common sense gun control must become single-issue voters on gun control. Support for more restrictions may not be the only reason to vote for a candidate, but it must be sufficient to vote against one.
We have to stop waiting for politicians to display courage and instead start to instill fear in them.
As an individual voter, you don’t need to have a slate of reforms in mind, you only have to vote consistently for candidates who are committed to reviewing the issue and advancing smart, effective policy.
This is now about the long game. The N.R.A. didn’t amass its clout overnight, and the building of a contingent of politicians committed to gun control also won’t come overnight. But it can, and indeed must, be done.
Students like Paige shouldn’t simply assume that one day a fellow student will show up with a gun and an appetite for death, and that there is nothing Washington is willing to do to prevent it.
Most candidates have websites that will state their positions. Check them out. Any candidate that says they are states they are strong advocates of the 2nd Amendment needs to be targeted for defeat. It is really that simple. Oh, and let them know why you will vote for their opponent.