Friday, June 17, 2016
Why The Fight On Guns Must Go On
Posted: Friday, June 17, 2016 12:15 am
After Orlando, I want to write yet another column on the need for gun control. I want to express for the umpteenth time my rage, my anger, my sorrow and my desire for long-overdue changes in the attitude toward guns in this country.
Then I stop and ask myself — why? This love affair America has with guns is not going to change. The number of mass shootings is only going to get worse, largely because across the country it is much too easy to purchase weapons that should only be used during times of war.
Our federal government is comprised of those concerned primarily with their own political futures. America today is about winning. Just ask the Republican nominee for president.
“We will have so much winning if I get elected that you may get bored with the winning,” Donald Trump has told us. “Believe me, I agree, you’ll never get bored with winning. We never get bored. We are going to turn this country around.”
Yeah — winning. That’s what we are all about today.
The NRA is winning. The gun lobby is winning. The politicians who receive money and influence from those entities are winning. They are winning big, in both the legislative arena and the realm of public opinion. They are literally beating the snot out of their “competition.”
They are why we can’t pass any kind of serious or meaningful restrictions on guns. They are why it’s impossible to even bring any type of gun legislation to the floor of either the House or Senate for a vote. They only care about winning, and the only way they continue to win is if Americans continue to have easy access to deadly weapons.
Because — and make no mistake about this — a majority of our citizens believe that is important. More important than almost anything else. They measure their freedom largely by how big a weapon they can own, how much ammunition they can shoot and how much damage they can do when they strike their target.
It’s how they win.
Oh sure, they’ll tell you it’s about freedom. It’s about liberty, revolution and true citizenship. It’s about that most sacred part of the Constitution — the 2nd Amendment. You know, the one written when the most dangerous weapon in the world was a cannon.
The presumptive Republican nominee for president tells anyone who listens that our problem is we need more guns. We should allow them to be carried into movie theaters. Into grocery stores. Into nightclubs, elementary schools and even churches. More guns will make us safer, will make America great again.
So, why should I bother? How can I even begin to bring about change? Though there are plenty of people who believe in things like national databases, detailed background checks, uniform national gun laws, we are clearly and without a doubt outnumbered. We can’t even raise the topic to the level of debate, never mind legislative or regulatory action. So why?
Then, I remember.
I look at the faces of my five grandchildren. The beautiful, innocent faces. The smiles of those as yet untouched by the violent, vindictive mood that has gripped their homeland. The eyes that shine with trust, with hope, with love.
They are why. And they are all the reason I need.
I tremble at the thought of my grandchildren growing up in a land that values guns so disproportionately. Where massive gun violence is met with nothing but excuses about what we cannot do. Where the amendment to the Constitution meant to protect us is consistently used to kill us.
Our leaders hold moments of silence after each mass shooting, then remain silent when they should be proposing new gun regulations. Their cowardice is appalling, even when they attempt to wrap it in the cloth of patriotism and freedom.
After Columbine, after Sandy Hook, after Orlando — we must stop using the 2nd Amendment as an excuse.
We must not sit passively by and leave our children a world where Donald Trump trades guns for power. We must raise our voices. We must fight the fight.
We owe them that. We all owe our children and grandchildren that. We must care more about people than guns.
That way, everyone wins.
Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and longtime local official. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter at @Billinsidelook.