By Brigitte L. Nacos
With a touch of indignation in his voice veteran newsman Bob Schieffer told his CBS News audience this morning that the National Rifle Association is the most influential among the mighty lobbies in Washington. Of course, this is absolutely true. And it is equally true that politicians on both sides of the aisle shake in their boots, when the topic of effective gun control comes up.
And they shut up.
With the exception of Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy whose husband was killed in a multiple shooting incident in a Long Island Railroad train and who has relentlessly fought for sensible gun control.
President Obama’s words yesterday reflected the heart-breaking sentiments of many, many Americans. “We’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics,” he said.
But these words are not enough in the face of still another unspeakable massacre.
President Obama must embrace Mayor Michel Bloomberg’s categorical pro-gun-control stand and force members of congress to follow the will of the vast majority of Americans who are in favor of gun control.
The gun fanatics like to tell us that guns do not kill—that people kill.
The enablers of these armed madmen do not acknowledge that there are far more incidents of public shootings in states without gun-control than in those that have restrictions on gun ownership.
Why in heaven do we Americans allow assault weapons in the hands of literally anyone who wants them?
Yesterday, the day of the Newtown school shooting, the state of Michigan passed a bill that allows the carrying of concealed weapons in previously off-limits areas, including schools. The gun-happy Michigan legislators did not pause when they learned of the mass shooting in Connecticut. Instead, Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger claimed that the new law might have been “the difference between life and death for many innocent bystanders.”
Can you believe such nonsense? Does this guy tell us to arm our children and send them to school with concealed weapons on their hips—so that they can defend themselves against bad guys with semiautomatic weapons?
In the aftermath of the latest mass shooting, there have once again been many calls for a public debate on gun control.
Forget it. We have had enough debates. They always follow one more of these shootings. And are forgotten a few days later.
Unless we Americans accept multiple shootings in public places—in schools, movie theaters, shopping centers, at workplaces—as normal parts of our daily lives, we must demand actions.
President Obama must put gun control high on his agenda and force Congress to deal with legislation he must propose.
We must demand that our own Senators and Representatives forget about being “primaried” in their next election campaign by opponents supported by the National Rifle Association, Tea Partiers, and other right-extremists.
We must campaign and vote against those who back the gun lobby out of conviction or out of fear.
Otherwise all of us are responsible for this shame of our nation.