Saturday, December 22, 2012

America Held Hostage by the Gun Lobby

by Sunnyjane

Can we truly say that, as a nation, we are meeting our obligations [to our children]?  The answer is “no.”   
President Barack Obama, December 16, 2012, Newtown, Connecticut

Visions of Sugarplums Shattered Forever

The world did a very convincing imitation of coming to an end on Friday, December 14, when in under ten minutes, twenty first-grade children and six adults were methodically gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  The shooter had earlier killed his mother at their home, and he killed himself in the classroom.

The weapon of choice on that horrific morning was a legally purchased Bushmaster .223 Remington SuperLight Carbine Semiautomatic Rifle. Police also found that the shooter had two handguns, a Glock and a Sig Sauer, and numerous rounds of ammunition.

There are Santa Claus surprises hidden away in Newtown basements, attics, and garages that will never take their rightful place under the family Christmas tree.  Packages wrapped in papers depicting Santas, snowmen, or angles, with carefully printed Chase...Olivia...James...Madeline... gift tags attached will never be joyfully opened in the just-dawning hours of December 25, 2012.  
The Enablers: The Supreme Court, the NRA, and the Congress

The Battle for the Ban on Assault Weapons is Joined

In the last thirty years there have been sixty-seven mass murders committed in the U.S.  Of the 147 weapons used in these atrocities, over seventy percent were semi-automatic weapons, including 67 handguns and 35 rifles.  Most were obtained legally. 

After a ten-year ban on semi-automatic weapons was signed by President Bill Clinton in 1994, there was a decided drop in gun fatalities and 45% fewer assault weapons were found at crime scenes.  When the ban expired in 2004 -- an election year, unfortunately -- chicken-hearted Democrats were reluctant to press for an extension.  Even though President George W. Bush half-hardheartedly said he would sign it if it arrived on his desk, Republicans pretty much ignored the whole thing.  Tom DeLay, then-House Majority Leader, called it feel-good legislation and refused to bring it before the House for a vote.  [In January 2011, DeLay was sentenced to three years in prison for a scheme to influence elections during 2003; he is still free pending appeals.]

As Business Insider recently reported, Since then, killers have used semiautomatics to target victims en masse at Virginia Tech; the Fort Hood military base; an Aurora, Colo. movie theater; a Sikh temple in Wisconsin; and now an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.

The country must demand life-saving, commonsense legislation that would again ban semi-automatic weapons and the high-capacity magazines that feed them. 

It will not be bloodless battle.

The Far-Right Pushes Back -- Ad Nauseam

Barely had the last shot been fired at Sandy Hook Elementary School when the far-right crawled out from under their moss-covered boulders and began opining obnoxiously as to why this tragedy took place and how it could have been avoided.  You could easily take your regularly prescribed medications by the timing of these people.

The Dodge City Defense: In another blame-the-victims rant, Rep. Louis Gohmert of Texas, who obviously has not had his rabies booster shot this year, howled that the only way to prevent mass murder is for more people to carry guns:  Christ, I wish to God she [the principal at Sandy Hook] had had an m-4 in her office, locked up so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out ... and takes him out and takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids.  This is so bogus an argument that it hardly bears discussing.  Like the argument that concealed weapon carriers can prevent violence, it's a Hollywood-made fantasy.  An excellent video on this topic was produced by ABC News titled, Proof that Concealed Carry permit holders live in a dream world.  It effectively destroys the notion that even people with extensive gun training can react sufficiently in a sudden gun situation.  Most of the "concealed weapon holders" are "killed" during the scenarios set up in the film.  [H/T to Kathleen's Facebook friend, Marie.] 

The wrongheaded idea that Everybody outta be packing heat, Sheriff mentality of the Old West is so dangerous that, were it not so serious, it would be outright laughable.  It would be a good idea if Mr. Gohmert and all his gun-totting buddies took part in a similar hands-on exercise and see how many of them could "survive."

The Christianista Cant:  Loud-mouthed Bryan Fischer, the American Family Association's watchdog of all things spew-worthy, let us know that  God did not protect the  Connecticut shooting victims because schools have banned prayers. The always-sensitive Victoria Jackson took great pleasure in quoting her dear friend Jim Riley: Wasn't the Connecticut killer just doing what abortionists do every day? It's a wonder we don't have more 20 year old "dads" doing what women and doctors have been an accomplice to for years in America. When you forget the TEN COMMANDMENTS, people, THIS is what you get."   And, if you're up for it, dear readers, a pastor in Tennessee bleated to his congregation that all mass shootings occur because of government “mind-control centers” that teach “junk about evolution” and “how to be a homo.” Pastor Morris also takes a firm stance against “governmental schools."

You will note that there is not one mention of access to guns in all these ridiculous far-right rants.

The Perils of Sidewalk Psychiatry and Dime-store Diagnoses

Speaking out on why Adam Lanza took the lives of twenty-seven people in the waning days of 2012 is a slippery slope.  We simply don't know and are not qualified to diagnose the actions that brought on such behavior.  Even qualified members of the mental health profession cannot say, because it takes long hours of clinical interaction with a patient to evaluate their mental and emotional health.

Speculating from the street corner is also counterproductive to the issue of gun control.  This is a theme the NRA is just salivating to have introduced during the gun-control discussions because it breathes life into their guns-don't-kill-people-only-people-kill-people mantra.  Shortly after the shootings, on-site media began to report that Adam Lanza had everything from autism, Asperger's syndrome, ADD, ADHD, etc.  

In addition to these diagnoses, we're hearing from an unnamed uncle that Lanza was taking an anti-psychotic medication, and from a plumber who says the twenty-year-old shooter played a violent video game for hours at a time.

While there is no doubt that Adam Lanza had mental or emotional issues, he had access to guns!  That is the bottom line, and that fact should not be allowed to become buried by the gun enthusiasts, Second Amendment groups, gun lobbyists, and politicians who benefit from the largess of the National Rampage Association.  

An Important Lesson From Australia NOT Learned

In June 2012, this post on the massacre at Port Arthur in Tasmania, Australia, was published on Politicalgates.  In it I wrote:

One of the visitors this day calmly ate his lunch, then took an AR15 semi-automatic assault rifle from his sports bag and, with deadly precision, began indiscriminately shooting men, women, and children. Before the bloodbath ended, thirty-five people in Port Arthur were dead and twenty-one were wounded.  At the time, it was the deadliest mass murder in modern history perpetrated by a lone gunman.

This is the same type of weapon used at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. 

Please retweet: America was warned about mass murderers with semiautomatic weapons:


We can make a difference.  Ask all Americans to put a candle in their windows on New Year's Eve to signify our hope -- and our expectation -- for a life-saving gun ban in 2013.  

The time is NOW.

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