It is, as we’ve seen in the past, impossible to negotiate with terrorists, and that’s what these people are. Just a week ago, Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) gun control legislation was essentially neutered in an effort to make it more marketable. House Majority Leader Harry Reid opted to remove the oft-controversial assault weapons ban and magazine capacity limits, citing the fact that the bill lacked the necessary 60 votes to avoid a filibuster.
We’re catering to the fringes of society, here. Catering to the groveling fanatics who constantly think—misguidedly—that the government is trying to take their guns away. These are the same people who view the second amendment as being more important to our society than the first, even in the face of a majority of Americans who support gun control measures according to a recent Pew poll.
To any outside observer this debate is simply preposterous. If the massacre of dozens of schoolchildren and schoolteachers cannot sway public opinion in favor of more intelligent regulations of these weapons of mass destruction, then what will? How many people need to die before the American people, as a majority, look at themselves and ask: what have we wrought?
It is admirable what Dianne Feinstein and her allies in Congress are trying to do, but bowing out to the fringe lunacy is, in itself, lunacy. Feinstein herself acknowledges what everyone already knew, “The enemies on this are very powerful. I’ve known this all my life.”
So, what do we do? How do we get the sensible among us to stand up and demand change? To say that we won’t take it anymore? Well, you counter the money that the NRA and other lobbying groups are able to throw at the issue with more money from the other side.
Recently, Michael R. Bloomberg, mayor of New York, has stepped up with his own fortune to try and sway public opinion, as well as the opinion of several “swing” Senators. He said, of his decision, “The N.R.A. has just had this field to itself. It’s the only one that’s been speaking out. It’s time for another voice.”
And the victims of these crimes need to be given a voice. Each time this country is subject to another gun massacre, voices cry out in the night, but are soon cast down to a whimper as groups like the NRA suggest that the only way to prevent more shootings is to add more guns into the mix. I don’t need to highlight the terrible logical progression there. It is patently obvious and patently absurd.
Bloomberg’s campaign is a start, no doubt, and every single effort like this begins with small steps, but an issue like this demands swift and comprehensive change. I know I’ve talked about incremental change for other issues like gay marriage, and even two weeks ago I mentioned incremental change for gun control, but the truth of the matter is that not all issues are created equal. Gun violence, in the eyes of myself, and the eyes of many, is an issue that demands action.
The second amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the right of citizens to bear arms in order to maintain a well-regulated militia, but over the decades and centuries this maxim has been warped and loosened to allow gun owners free reign over the issue and conversation. I’ll level with proponents. I have only small qualms about some gun ownership, but suggesting that one needs assault weapons, which are tantamount to those used in the military, to protect one’s home is simply ludicrous.
And so I stand with Dianne Feinstein and Michael Bloomberg on this issue. It has been too long that the NRA, and the fringe groups at the edge of society have been dictating the terms of this hostage situation. You can’t, it seems, argue with idiots any more than you can negotiate with terrorists. We have both groups working in tandem to ensure that everyone has access to the weapon of their choosing, whether they intend to kill themselves or murder any number of innocents.
This country demands change as it has done over and over again for decades. It seems as though change cannot come soon enough, though. One has to wonder how many more gun deaths we will see before we get meaningful conversation on the topic, as well as meaningful change.