After Sandy Hook, everyone was horrified and glued to their televisions watching details of the carnage emerge. I’d say especially horrified because this particular mass shooting involved kids. Several news shows on MSNBC were pointing out that this was the perfect time to reform gun laws. Not just because the nation was gripped by the gruesome tragedy, but because the NRA had just financially backed many candidates in the last election and their candidates had mostly lost despite their hefty campaign donations. I believe it was Rachel Maddow who claimed that while once extremely influential, these election losses proved that the NRA had lost much of it’s power and was now a “paper tiger” not to be feared any longer. That moment in 2012 passed. Many other mass shootings, which other countries miraculously don’t seem to have, have happened since then.
Last night I heard a statistic on Chris Hayes’ MSNBC show that 90% of the country wants gun laws reformed. But somehow, what was a mere “paper tiger” years ago, still controls enough of our legislators to ensure that no reforms are made. This is a central theme in our government–our legislators refuse to enact policies which we the people want. We give them our votes and they give us nothing.Trust me, 90% of us rarely agree on anything. But a huge percentage of us want to leave Social Security alone, yet there are Republicans who want to privatize it and even Obama proposed–in a move which proved he is no champion of the 99%–chained CPI cuts to the very popular program. Americans have said that they’re weary of war, but that doesn’t stop us from jumping into every conflict we can. Everyone in both parties agree that we need to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and that mom & pop businesses are the backbone of the American economy which need help now. Yet nothing is done to help either.
But there’s always money for new weapons and new wars. Right now, the US-backed Saudi attacks on Yemen have been called war crimes by Amnesty International, but we don’t hear much about that. The US is selling and giving the Saudis weapons, just as we’ve distributed so many weapons that many have fallen into hands of ISIS who are now using our own weapons against us! If our foreign policy is murder, bullying and arming brutal countries so they can commit war crimes, why should we expect freedom from mass shootings here at home? Kids shot down at school? Nothing done. Gunmen spraying bullets on military bases in Chattanooga, DC’s Navy Yard and at Fort Hood? Well, we support the troops but not enough to keep guns from lunatics. Blacks gunned down in church by a white supremacist? Nothing done. Blacks routinely gunned down by the very agency which is supposed to protect us–the police. Nothing done. And now, live, on air murders of news anchors. Is that twisted enough to be a catalyst for clearly needed change?
We’re a sick, violent nation to permit this. But the US makes a fortune from manufacturing weapons. Both at home and abroad. It’s almost foolish to expect that anything will be done to reform gun laws because weapon sales make too much money and a lot of that goes to our legislators. It’s time for our legislators to do what we want, rather than do whatever lobbyists bribe them to do. I don’t think that the average US citizen wants a country or a world in which death reigns, but our “leaders” certainly do.