It is obscene and pathetic that the unbelievably weak gun control legislation requiring background checks was defeated by filibuster yesterday. Legislation to stop straw purchases went down in flames. One can only hope that the righteous outrage we feel will translate to votes when those who voted NO run for re-election.
Lies and obfuscation were used to achieve this result. The filibuster has destroyed the last vestiges of actual democratic process.
I think my exchange here (first comments) with sonrouge clearly demonstrates the moral poverty of the libertarian viewpoint. Intellectual poverty is shown by the cherry-picking and willful misunderstanding of the founding documents of the country he lives in. He wants all his "rights", but has no sense of social or civil obligations. ( I mean, really, in this day and age, objecting "to licensing in general"?!?)
This shallow, Fox-ian, quasi-libertarian view permeates the vast majority of arguments I've heard against gun control. There is a sense of fear driving the torrent of insubstantial rationalizations that flow from those who defend the status quo. When it is honestly articulated, the fear is that the Federal Government will "take away all the guns. . ." leaving us all powerless against an oppressive dictatorship. Lets consider that scenario. The FBI estimates that there are over 200 million privately-owned firearms in the US. If you add those owned by the military, law enforcement agencies and museums, there is probably about 1 gun per person in the country. Would it even be possible
to outlaw and confiscate guns? The idea is absurd, yet any movement towards common sense gun regulation is vociferously resisted.
Who benefits from the lack of regulations affecting gun sales? We see that there is no shortage of guns in circulation. The primary beneficiaries of the situation are gun manufacturers and dealers, a multi-billion dollar industry. If they spend a paltry few millions to influence the debate it means nothing to them; it is just business to protect profits.
The gun lobby is brilliant, playing on the fears and insecurities of (primarily) white men who feel dis-empowered in todays USA. They manipulate elections by threatening to 'primary' any Congressman or Senator who doesn't toe the line against gun control. These representatives abandon whatever shreds of conscience they may have in pursuit of re-election. They believe they are being pragmatic, in some cases, seeing gun control as one issue among many which they can use 'strategically' in bartering a vote.
Then, of course, at this time we have an extreme minority who will do nothing that might accrue to the 'success' of the current President. Mitch O'Connell and John Boehner have shown time and again their cynical disregard for the country as a whole, every time they might consider compromise. With leaders like these who needs enemies?!? Their heedless, wholly political decisions and actions have damaged the economy, the country's credit rating and the country's prestige around the world. Why would they consider the views of the majority of the country? Why would they start caring now? What matters to them, the next massacre or the next election cycle? The 30,000 gun deaths every year or their job security?
The only path to real change is to remove the obstructionists from office. With the current, nationwide, Republican (exclusively) push to reduce voting participation, and their (again, exclusively Republican) extreme gerrymandering, this will be more difficult, but not yet impossible. Talk to your neighbors, blog to the country and ask everyone you know to be engaged in the political process. If the people lead the leaders must follow.