Thoughts and Prayers are not Enough

By now I’m sure you’ve heard about the terrible shootings in El Paso and Dayton yesterday/last night.  These shootings follow on the shooting on July 28 in Gilroy, California.  So, about 32 dead and 54 injured combined in mass shootings in about a week.  I saw a tweet which pointed out that the US has had 250 shootings in 2019 and the next highest number in a country was 3.

Usually, I don’t find it useful to point out the Hilary Clinton/Barack Obama rule of hypocrisy with regard to what Republicans would do.  You know, for example, how Republicans would scream bloody hell if President Clinton or Obama had done or said any single thing of the thousands of things Trump has done and said and about which they have said nothing.  Well, consider if these shootings had been done by other that white men.  President Trump would be instituting martial law and Republicans would be calling it a national emergency.  Just saying.

I heard a clip from Pete Buttigieg on Fox this morning talking about the shootings.  He pointed out the usual Democratic talking points about mass shootings, but he also brought it to a place that I don’t think has been usual in the past.  He went after the NRA and gun manufacturers, tying it to the corruption of our political system by money from big business is a smart move.  Hearing that coming from the more moderate Mayor Pete, I expect Elizabeth Warren to jump on board, since that’s definitely her lane.  And this is an area where she can differentiate herself from Bernie, since he has a mixed past on gun rights.

It also makes me wonder if these three shootings, with sufficient pressure from Democratic politicians, can’t be the place where something can get done.  I think there could be a consensus on certain gun control measures.  Background checks.  Maybe assault rifles.  The NRA has been able to shut even those kinds of things down with their influence over legislators.  Now the NRA is scandal-plagued and, perhaps, Republicans won’t be able to get away with doing nothing.  Maybe it’s just wishful thinking.  And if Republicans continue to stonewall on this, Democrats should be merciless in attacking them non-stop for the next 15 months or so.  Let’s see if we can’t get some forward progress on gun control out of these tragedies.

One thought on “Thoughts and Prayers are not Enough

  1. The interesting thing about the NRA-as-bogeyman approach (not that you’re taking that, but it comes to mind on occasions such as these) is that the NRA really doesn’t contribute vast sums of money. (Indeed, about 60% of the top 50 political donors are on Team Blue, per OpenSecrets.org) It delivers the votes of its members. So when Team Blue folks demonize the NRA, what they’re decrying is the simple fact that there are a lot of motivated voters who disagree.

    As for the problem itself, it seems to me that the ultimate question is whether or not individuals have a right to self-defense. If they do, then are they limited to muscle power (presumably including knives and such, even though that would still privilege physical strength and therefore generally privilege men over women)? If that is not agreeable, then guns will enter the picture.

    Although I am not a fan of guns, and as you know, although I have been affected by gun violence, I do think that we live in a world in which we must have a right of self-defense. The fact is that the police do not prevent crime — they clean up afterward and chase down malefactors. (Indeed, per the Castle Rock v. Gonzales decision, the police can’t even be expected to prevent crime.)

    The other point of interest to me is that while the US has always been an armed society, and have indeed had deranged or evil individuals doing horrible things, the frequency of those people doing this has increased. That suggests to me that the problem is psychological or spiritual. I know that is a version of the truism that “guns don’t kill people — people kill people”, but I also know that the root of the word truism is true. There were guns in my family’s house for decades. It took my brother to kill Mom and Dad. It took these other horrible people to make Gilroy, El Paso, Dayton, or any of the rest of our recent parade of horribles. The fault is not in our stars, nor even in our technology, but in our souls.

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