Is a nation aberrant, or simply not paying attention, when it allows its least compassionate and most ill-informed people to make its rules? Is a democracy cowardly, or simply stunningly self-absorbed, when it cedes life and death decisions to an organization willing to see thousands of people die annually to flaunt how many politicians it controls? No American can offer a rationale for legalizing automatic or semi-automatic weapon ownership by private individuals. No sober person can justify the purchase of thousands of rounds of ammunition by anyone but police and gun-club owners. And how are super-sized ammunition clips helpful to anyone but gangsters?
Even when our permissiveness results in inevitable tragedies like Columbine, Gabby Gifford and Aurora, these subjects are not even open for discussion. Fox News informs us that “this is not the right time for discussions on gun control.” By our neglect we grant one interest group – the NRA –the power of life and death over our 12,000 of our loved-ones each year. If you think that sounds exaggerated, please study the yearly murder rate statistics by country to get a glimpse of what makes America truly exceptional.
As frequently happens in difficult times, N.Y. Mayor Michael Bloomberg is the only political leader with enough courage to defy those with so little regard for reasonable solutions. Apparently being rich, smart and successful doesn’t mean you are obligated to spend all of your time attacking the defenseless. By reducing the number of guns, New York City has achieved the lowest crime rate among the 10 largest cities in the United States since 2005. It’s worth debating whether such a policy could work for the nation.
As long as the two major political parties perpetuate their joint policy (perhaps the only thing they agree on) of obsequiousness toward the frothing-at-the-mouth fringe led by Wayne LaPierre, change is impossible. The NRA’s totalitarian power, like quantum mechanics, is not meant for mere mortals to comprehend. Nor, presumably, is Congress’s penchant for osculating the gluteus maximus of those who finance them and scorning those who elect them.
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The writer lives in Pawleys Island.