Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Why the Silence?

So, why the silence?

I realize it has been a month since I wrote a blog.  Please understand, this is not for lack of thinking.  I am thinking about many blog worthy topics.  I even have a draft of one blog saved that I return to from time to time, trying to figure out how to express my thoughts on one of those conundrum topics that dogs our society.

I also have the occasional fleeting thought in the morning--and muse: that would make a good blog.  But by evening, the thought has flown, and--try as I might--I can't summon it back into my brain.  So, the topic goes unaddressed, the thought unexpressed.

So, today, an event happened--and it was obvious that silence was not the appropriate response. So, what happened?  A shooting in a school. A student killed by gunshot from a fellow student.  A teacher threatened and chased by the gun wielder.  A school in lock-down.  Frantic parents gathered just hoping to catch a glimpse of their child.

So, you say? Well, your lack of interest is understandable, if you think of how many SCHOOL shootings there have been, since Adam Lanza bashed his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School and shot and killed 20 students and 6 adults.  That was in December, 2012--LESS THAN TWO YEARS AGO.

Since then, there have been 74 shootings in school--in less than two year.  A map here shows the locations of these incidents.

Less than a month ago, when the troubled young man Elliott Rodger went on his stabbing and shooting rampage, Richard Martinez, the anguished father of one of the victims, asked "When will this insanity stop?"

Well, if you were making policy for the NRA, you would do everything in your power to make sure it never stops.  In fact, what you would do is move beyond blocking any reasonable gun control measure and begin to advocate for open carry laws in as many states as possible.  After all, as Wayne LaPierre, the head of the NRA, said--the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

So to make sure that good guy with a gun has a gun at all times, make sure that open carry laws are passed everywhere.  There is, of course, a HUGE problem with this reasoning.

Jon Stewart illustrated the problem so brilliantly. He points out that this "perpetual violence" cycle is in fact an excellent "business plan for arms dealers."

Stewart's observations were downright prescient given the story from this past Sunday (June 8) when Jerad and Amanda Miller walked into a local restaurant in Las Vegas, walked past two policemen eating lunch, then turned around and shot the policemen, killing both.  They then took the police service weapons and left to continuing shooting and killing a block away.  Well, two bad guys with guns shot and killed two good guys with guns.  So much for the "only thing that stops a bad guy."  Sounds like an absolute illustration of a cycle of "perpetual violence."

So, why the silence?

Why are so many of us intimidated by the advocates of ever-expanding gun rights? Why does an organization with a membership of about 3 million (despite Wayne LaPierre's claim of 4.5 million) hold such sway over a nation of over 300 million?

Why has a Constitutional amendment that has an introductory phrase, that most grammarians would suggest applies to the interpretation of the remainder of the statement, become bastardized and transmogrified into an assertion of absolute right to own guns that MUST NOT IN ANY WAY BE MODERATED?  Every other one of the original Bill of Rights has been debated, moderated and interpreted.

How did freedom to own guns become more sacrosanct than freedom of religion? freedom of speech? freedom peaceably to assemble? freedom from unreasonable search and seizure? freedom from cruel and unusual punishment?

So many people over the decades have raised their voices in protest against the unrestrained right to own guns.  James and Sarah Brady.  Gabrielle Gifford and Mark Kelly.  Parents of students at Columbine High School.  Carolyn McCarthy.  The friends and family of Virginia Tech shootings. The entire community of Newtown (Sandy Hook Elementary School). Richard Martinez. They have raised their voices in anguish, in sorrow, in pleading. They ask why?  They urge us to do something. They want us to vow "never again."

I realize I haven't named all the places where mass shootings have occurred over the decades or all the people whose lives have been inexorably changed forever.

So, why our silence?

The people who craft and pass the laws that govern gun control are hearing someone's voice.  If the only voice they hear comes from the NRA, we know what the response will be.  So, why our silence?