Posted this on FaceBook this morning:
I am watching a CNN interview with a GOP House Representative from Nebraska. He is opposed to the pending gun control legislation that would make background checks necessary for ALL gun purchases. One of his nonsensical points of opposition is that requiring a background check for even private gun sales is onerous, and puts the burden on the law abiding citizen gun owner. He denied that assault weapons, such as the AR-15 (used in numerous mass shootings, including the most recent one in Boulder) are weapons of war.
His most ridiculous contention was that a private citizen should be allowed to sell a gun to their family member or friend because, well, they know each other and can vouch for the buyer. He then went on to confuse the First and Second Amendments as being infringed if such a requirement was put into effect, but I think he caught himself after having done so multiple times. Yay for him. There was simply no reasoning with him, and I am sure he is one of many legislators who feel this way.
One of the most distressing lines of resistance he presented was in response to the interviewer pointing out that proposed legislation is calling for extending the waiting period before a gun purchase is approved. This, of course, would have delayed the Boulder shooter from purchasing one of the weapons he used in his assault. Admittedly, that alone would not have prevented the incident, but it might have helped, at least in principle.
The Nebraska Representative waxed poetic about the onerous burden that background checks in private sales would place on law abiding private citizens, but then he went totally over the edge by trying to make a case for women who are victims of stalking or domestic violence. He said that a woman could lose her life, and of course this has happened, while waiting for her fun sale to be approved. A delay might cost her her life, so you see, this is onerous.
OK, dumb ass, if a woman loses her life due to sexual assault, or domestic violence, or stalking…let’s get this straight. Her life is lost because a perpetrator took it, not because there is legislation that prevents her from purchasing a firearm. She is killed because someone else took her life. She dies because someone else – probably, or at least most likely, a man in the case of sexual abuse or domestic violence -committed a homicide. She should not be in the position of needing a firearm to be protected by the law. Remember that? The law. In so many cases, law abiding citizens who purchase guns for their personal protection are killed by that gun, because it’s available at the scene of a lesser crime.
The interviewer persisted with this guy, and asked why someone might possibly need an AR-15, or any rapid-fire assault weapon like it. He said it’s a right to purchase whatever we want. We shouldn’t be able to question someone’s motives…or their mental health…about what they purchase. Let’s face it. We are doomed with thinking like this.
Let’s also face this – even this type of legislation regarding background checks, or any other that attempts to provide rational gun control is virtually useless in America today. If someone really wants to acquire an AR-15, or a military-grade assault weapon, they are going to get one. There are numerous underground methods to acquire weapons like that, in quantity, and legislation is not going to be able to stop that. Unless we can change the hearts and minds of people. nothing is going to change.
As I write this, I guarantee you there are private militias out in rural areas, in the woods, in the forests, in the swamps, in the hills of various states…practicing maneuvers, rehearsing. They are getting ready for…whatever they have in their heads is coming. Some have been open about preparing for a race war. Others, just generic invasion by undesirable elements. Some of the insurrectionists on January 6th made reference to having made preparation for an armageddon-like scenario that would follow the interruption of government. These folks are not idiosyncrasies. They are not alone.
Rev. William Barber, II of the Poor Peoples Campaign has been saying for years that America has a “heart problem”. As a collective, our heart has become cold and bitter and devoid of empathy and compassion. He says we need a defibrillator. We need people to come together and challenge the policies and rhetoric that promotes this, and demand that we embrace the empathy and compassion that has made us who we are. He says that we need to shock the heart of the country back into a healthy rhythm.
That’s all very poetic and metaphoric, of course, but there may be something very practical about it. When you see something, say something…that’s one of those little ways that one person can make a difference. Pay it forward. There’s another one. Do the right thing, put yourself in someone else’s shoes for a minute. There’s some more. Instead of looking for grandiose solutions, and dramatic strides, perhaps just the small things, the one-on-one things can accumulate and make a difference. Perhaps.
We’ve got to do something before we go down in flames. And I’m not going down without a fight. That’s how I roll, that’s how I’ve always rolled. Resilience is great, but you have to take a shot if you’re going to have a chance for a rebound. That means speaking when you need to speak, and speaking the truth when you do. It means keeping your eye on the prize and not getting bogged down in the little things, stuff that’s meant to distract you, stuff that just makes you feel good for the short-term. It means having faith in something beyond your own ability, and your own accomplishments. It means giving a shit about something that’s not here yet.
Have a new vision. Don’t give up. It’s important.