Saturday, June 13, 2009

Why Have We Stopped Talking about Guns?

The title is a question Bill Moyers asks in this piece that appeared in Matt Taibbi's blog, The Smirking Chimp. Why indeed? Because the people who represent our interests in Washington, Congress, have completely sold their souls to the gun lobby. There's not the slightest ripple of interest being expressed in official Washington about somehow reining in the continuing insanity of letting just about anybody, so long as they can reach the counter, buy a hand gun. Not content with finally "winning" their decades-long battle to have the plain language of the 2nd Amendment contorted to their point of view by a complacent Supreme Court,* the NRA has continued to press for further "rights" for gun owners--like to carry a concealed handgun into the National Parks, into restaurants that serve alcohol, onto college campuses. Some nut in Virginia who embraces these views just won the Democratic primary for governor. He also opposes laws to limit the purchase of handguns by individuals to one per month.

Moyers laments the latest firearm killings: the recruiter in Arkansas, the security guard in the Holocaust museum, the abortion doctor in Kansas . . . these will be as forgotten as the multiple victims of crazed guys with guns who have already made the news this year. But the tone of the piece is almost resigned. What we do now is the same thing that our president says to do: pray for the victims and be sorry for their families. But we don't do anything else. Just as we're perfectly content to watch billions being pissed away in the Middle East wars, not to mention the carnage, we're content to let the gun nuts triumph. Staunch opposition to the spread of violence--remember that campaign promise by Obama?--is a pipe dream. Like others, you may remember it, but he doesn't.

The stark facts about guns still have not changed. "There are already some 200 million, privately owned firearms in America. Every year there are 30,000 gun deaths and in some years more than 400,000 non-fatal, gun-related assaults." These numbers are appalling. But nobody cares.

*There's an excellent piece here about this decision that explains why it's wrong but also the limits it still imposes on gun ownership. It's these limits that the NRA is now going to make a full time job of challenging.
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