January 24, 2011
Let’s Finally Stop Sweeping the Guns Under the Rug
Since the Tucson massacre, the issue of gun control has risen to the top of the news pile, and has been the focus of several interviews on primetime news programs and an avalanche of articles in the major print publications across the country. We have had impassioned pleas from visiting French philosopher, Bernard-Henri Levy (CNN Parker/Spitzer) and just tonight, an excellent overview by Katie Couric with NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg (CBS Evening News/Katie Couric).
In the last few decades, close to half a million Americans have been murdered with guns, and every day, 34 more, are added to that number. Who can forget Columbine and Virginia Tech? And I can readily name five other shooting incidents, since Tucson, including two at schools here in Los Angeles.
No, things are not okay in America!
I’m sure it is the hope of many of us, that after the gunning down of Congresswoman Giffords, and the death of so many innocents, including little Christina Green, we won’t just sweep the guns under the rug and move on the next horror of the hour, as we are so much in the habit of doing.
Theoretically, it should be simple enough to make the kinds of changes we need: to at the very least, enforce the existing gun laws and restore the ban on assault weapons that expired in 2004. But since this is America, anything to do with guns seems well beyond the realm of common sense and basic morality. Nope, this is not the place for the average reasonable man or woman, this is the domain of the NRA. What should be a few, relatively, simple decisions made to protect the lives of innocent citizens, is instead a complicated political battle. Meanwhile, every day 34 more lives are lost.
This past week, as I wondered where the next shooting would be, if I would be among the next group of terrified parents waiting to learn if my child was the latest victim at school, or as I started looking over my shoulder in parking lots and askance at strange men, who may or may not be carrying a concealed weapon, “If he starts shooting I could duck behind that car,” I knew there had to be something we could do.
I believe there is almost always a lesson to be learned from our experiences, individually and collectively. Perhaps it is time for us to learn that we can no longer sweep this overwhelmingly, crucial issue under the rug and pretend things are okay. Neither can we cower in fear, or pass the buck and leave things up to those in Washington. We are a democracy. That places the burden of power with us, the people, whether we exercise it or not. So we must act!
A little research reveals that Bloomberg’s non-partisan Mayors Against Illegal Guns and the national campaign to Fix Gun Checks is an organization that is worthy of support. If you haven’t already done so, I urge you to click on the link www.fixgunchecks.org and add your voice to the petition to urge Congress to “keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.” And then urge your friends to do the same. It is not close to enough, but it is a step in the right direction.