To be resolved, a person or group must decide on a firm course of action to solve a problem and never vary off course until they achieve their goal. A year ago the nation reeled in shock, overwhelming grief, and anger that a madman used a battlefield assault weapon to shoot his way into a public elementary school to massacre 20 precious innocent children and six adults who attempted to protect their charges. Many Americans were mistaken in believing that the tragedy would move members of Congress to finally address the proliferation of guns; particularly assault weapons and high capacity magazines and resolve the nation would never again be overwhelmed with grief because of their representatives’ inaction.
Yesterday President Obama dedicated his weekly radio address to the nation to remember the senseless slaughter in Newtown Connecticut one year ago and reiterated what he said then; that the nation “must do more to prevent future tragedies” like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School and insisted “these tragedies must end. The President said, “More than the tragedy itself, that’s how Newtown will be remembered. Beneath the sadness, we also felt a sense of resolve – that these tragedies must end, and that to end them, we must change; that’s the example we should continue to follow, because we haven’t yet done enough to make our communities and our country safer.” The President’s words were a stark reminder of the sadness most of the nation felt, but the only part of his address that rings true to many Americans is that the “sense of resolve that these tragedies must end” fell victim to a powerful lobby, an un-American organization, and a segment of the population that would not allow the nation to do anything “to make our communities and our country safer.”
The real tragedy of the Newtown massacre was that despite scores of legislators saying it was finally time to move and craft legislation to address the all-too-frequent occurrences of mass gun violence, there has been absolutely nothing done. It is true that in a state like Colorado the Democratic majority passed four sensible gun control laws after two of the deadliest massacres in the nation, but the idea of universal background checks on gun purchases and gun magazines limited to 15 rounds went too far. The National Rifle Association (NRA), American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and the Koch brothers acted swiftly to recall two state legislators and teach them, and the rest of the nation, that there is a steep price to pay for even attempting to do anything “to make our communities and our country safer;” particularly when it runs contrary to the will of the dark money masters who run this country.
The NRA released a statement after the recall results were tallied that read, “the recall of Colorado Senate President John Morse sent a clear message to the Senate leader that he is not accountable to the social engineering agendas of anti-gun activists,” but to the Koch brothers, ALEC, and the NRA. It is apparent that lawmakers in Congress are also accountable to the Kochs, ALEC, and the NRA because despite overwhelming support among the population for a single gun safety measure, background checks for gun purchases, Republican gun-fanatics in the Senate prevented the measure from getting by the 60 vote majority needed to avoid a filibuster. There were Republicans who supported the background check legislation, but as one Republican Senator said, “it didn’t pass because there were some on my side who did not want to be seen helping the president do something he wanted to get done, just because the president wanted to do it.” The truth is that Americans overwhelmingly (90%) wanted Congress “to do something they wanted to get done” to prevent another Newtown massacre, but Republicans, even those supporting background checks, were more terrified of disobeying the NRA, Koch brothers, and ALEC than they were the will of the people.
To be fair to Republicans in the House, they did pass one, and only one, gun control measure just recently. However, it was a ban on plastic guns to prevent those Islamic terrorists from sneaking a gun past security checkpoints, but it is highly unlikely they will address any other gun control legislation. Earlier in the year, Speaker of the House John Boehner said he would not commit the House to a vote on a background check bill if it passed in the Senate until it faced a review, but he did say that in the meantime “we’re going to continue to have hearings looking at the source of violence in our country.” Never mind that the source of violence in the country is the proliferation of guns, but Americans can rest easy that if legislation ever gets through the Senate, House Republicans will review it, consult with the NRA, Koch brothers, and ALEC and let it languish; likely while they review the source of violence in our country.
The reason there was no action on gun control after the Newtown massacre was that the gun-rights lobby outspent gun-control advocates at both the state and federal level. In fact, as 90% of the population supported the simplest of gun safety measures, around the country gun-rights fanatics outspent gun-control backers by $10 million, and states passed more than twice as many laws expanding gun owners’ rights than they did gun-control measures. Money talks in America, and it is especially true when it comes from the likes of the NRA, ALEC, and the Koch brothers. To make matters worse, the NRA keeps a scorecard to hold over Republican legislators’ heads as leverage if they dare support even simple measures like background checks, and it certainly affects Democrats who, if not worried about a failing grade from the NRA, face recall efforts for voting against the gun fanatics and for the constituents’ safety.
It is a sad commentary on America that after Sandy Hook, within three months of the massacre states considered more than 1,000 pieces of legislation; more than half to expand gun rights, and the other half to curtail them. By the end of this year, only 43 gun control laws passed and a quarter of them were in California; Colorado passed four and it cost two state senators their jobs and a third resigned to preserve a Democratic majority in the legislature. It is important to remember that after Sandy Hook, with 90% of the population supporting background checks, the President’s most stringent gun control request, background checks at gun shows and for online sales, failed in the Democratic-controlled Senate due to fervent opposition from gun-rights groups.
There is little hope for any gun control legislation in 2014 because as midterm elections loom large, the NRA and a new 501(c)(4) non-profit, National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR), which touts itself as to the right of the NRA is poised to outspend even the powerful NRA. The group’s source of funding is secret (501 dark money) and its leadership has close ties to Ron and Rand Paul who led the filibuster effort in the Senate to defeat the Toomey-Manchin background check amendment.
When Americans heed President Obama’s advice to remember the tragedy that occurred in Newtown Connecticut last year, they may grieve for the 20 children and six adults who were slaughtered like animals. However, the real tragedy is that the gun fanatics and lobbyists have the real power in America in the form of limitless dark money and report cards to keep track of which legislator followed the will of 90% of the population and who obeyed the gun fanatics of America; the NRA, Koch brothers, ALEC, and now NAGR. Sadly, those report cards will be no consolation for the next group of survivors grieving their sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers who will be victims of the what House Republicans will pretend to be looking at; the source of violence in our country, the proliferation of guns.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.