Warren Blumenfeld's Blog

Social Justice, Intersections in Forms of Social Oppression, Bullying Prevention

Guns in the Hands of People Kill People

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My grief and anger collide from that primordial place deep within the recesses of my being as I learn more about the horrific events recounted by close eyewitnesses and the loved ones of the numerous dead and wounded. Pictures of a deceased young woman who narrowly escaped another spraying of bullets just last month in a Toronto shopping mall, this time, bullets ended her promising life as she attended a film premiere in Aurora, Colorado.

I thought back to the very first thing that caught my eye as I entered the grounds of the Iowa Republican Party Presidential Straw Poll last summer. Three young children, I would guess between the ages of 4 -7, sporting day-glow orange baseball caps with “NRA” [National Rifle Association] scrawled atop, and round stickers on their small T-shirts announcing “GUNS SAVE LIVES.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, though, gun related violence has reached epidemic proportions in our country by snuffing out the lives of over 30,000 people and wounding approximately another 60,000 annually. Each year, over 100,000 people are affected in some way by gun violence. Many of the guns used in these killings reach military level weapons power, guns which currently remain legal as we have seen in the Aurora tragedy.

Should any limits be placed on the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, which reads: “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”?

Politicians, primarily Republicans in Congress, have proposed the passage and enactment of a “Balanced Budget” amendment, a “Marriage Protection” (only one man and one woman) amendment to the Constitution, plus numerous budgets over the years ending or reducing human services and entitlement programs. Instead, I propose we reevaluate the political right’s obsession with the so-called “freedom” to bear arms because it is not only “criminals who kill people” as Second Amendment advocates claim.

If Republicans in Congress and in state legislatures throughout the country spent as much time attempting to save human lives from gun violence as they do in their attempts to push through so-called “Voter ID” laws for the purpose of disenfranchising poor, working class, elderly people, people with disabilities, US naturalized citizens some who have limited English language skills — often Democratic voting blocks – then maybe we would have comprehensive gun control.

If Republicans in Congress spent as much time in their attempts to save human lives from gun violence as they do in their attempts to make sure that Democratic sponsored jobs bills are not passed resulting in the US infrastructure turning to dust and keeping the unemployment rates higher for the purpose of derailing President Barack Obama’s chances for a second term, then maybe we would have comprehensive gun control.

If Republicans in Congress and in state legislatures throughout the country spent as much time attempting to save human lives from gun violence as they do in their attempts to pass punitive, dehumanizing, and, yes, racist anti-immigration measures, then maybe we would have comprehensive gun control.

If Republicans in Congress and in state legislatures throughout the country spent as much time attempting to save human lives from gun violence as they do in their attempts to restrict and eliminate women’s rights to control their reproductive freedoms, then maybe we would have comprehensive gun control.

If Republicans in Congress and in state legislatures throughout the country spent as much time attempting to save human lives from gun violence as they do in their attempts to push through so-called “Marriage Defense“ laws and state constitutional amendments, then maybe we would have comprehensive gun control.

If Republicans in Congress and in state legislatures throughout the country spent as much time attempting to save human lives from gun violence as they do in their attempts to privatize government services and programs like public education, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs, and in downsizing the ranks of local police, fire fighters, and teachers, then maybe we would have comprehensive gun control.

If Republicans in Congress and in state legislatures throughout the country spent as much time attempting to save human lives from gun violence as they do in their attempts to pass laws mandating English as the “official” national and states’ language, then maybe we would have comprehensive gun control.

If Republicans in Congress and in state legislatures throughout the country spent as much time attempting to save human lives from gun violence as they do in their attempts to kill labor unions and their rights of collective bargaining, then maybe we would have comprehensive gun control.

If Republicans in Congress and in state legislatures throughout the country spent as much time attempting to save human lives from gun violence as they do in their attempts to investigate, profile, and demonize hard working Muslim Americans, then maybe we would have comprehensive gun control.

If Republicans in Congress and in state legislatures throughout the country spent as much time attempting to save human lives from gun violence as they do in their attempts to abolish appropriate governmental regulations of the banking industry, businesses, and consumer and environmental protections, then maybe we would have comprehensive gun control.

If Republicans in Congress and in state legislatures throughout the country spent as much time attempting to save human lives from gun violence as they do in their attempts to obstruct all proposals for genuine and equitable universal health care, then maybe we would have comprehensive gun control.

If Republicans in Congress and in state legislatures throughout the country spent as much time attempting to save human lives from gun violence as they do in their attempts to ensure perpetual tax breaks for the rich and super rich, then maybe we would have comprehensive gun control.

But as we all know, the chances for comprehensive gun control in the United States is only a pipe dream since the NRA controls Congress and state legislatures, for if they did not, we would have seen effective laws passed years ago resulting in countless lives saved.

How many more Columbines and Auroras; Fort Hoods; Virginia Techs; Northern Illinois Universities; Phoenix, AZ parking lots; Pennsylvania Amish school children; Santana High Schools; Springfield Oregon high schools; Jonesboro, AR middle schools; Universities of Texas; Honolulu, HI Xerox Corporations; Atlanta brokerage offices; US postal offices; Omaha, NBs; Red Lake, MNs; Brookfield, WIs; Binghamton NYs; Carthage, NCs; how many more dead to urban and suburban violence; how many more gun-induced killings to domestic violence; how many more accidental killing; and how many more Gabby Giffords and Harvey Milks, Trayvon Martins and Lawrence Kings, the famous and the not-so-famous will it take for this country and its politicians to wake up to the reality that, contrary to the NRA’s assertions, guns in the hands of anyone, in any and all stations of life, kill people?

 

Written by Warren Blumenfeld

July 21st, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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