Here are five easy points and one hard one for legislators:
- Nobody thinks it’s a good idea for violent criminals to possess firearms.
- Nobody thinks it’s a good idea for mentally unstable or mentally challenged people to possess firearms.
- Almost nobody thinks it’s a good idea for any civilian American to possess automatic weapons. Or tanks or mortars or field artillery or atomic weapons.
- Almost nobody thinks it’s a good idea for ever-more Americans to be armed and carrying heat, because that would bring us back to the Wild West days that produced thousands upon thousands of dead bodies.
- Almost nobody thinks it’s a good idea for it to be legal to sell firearms outside of licensed gun shops and do it in the absence of a background check. The latest statistic on this is that 91% of Americans want universal background checks. Clearly, this is not a partisan issue.
- This is the hard one. Nobody but you thinks your political career is more important than the lives of the people at a holiday party in San Bernadino or the kids at Sandy Hook Elementary School or the people watching a Batman movie in Aurora, CO or the kids at Columbine High School or Virginia Tech or Texas Tech or Umpqua Community College. Nobody but you thinks your political career is more important than the lives of the soldiers at Ft. Hood or the church goers in Charleston, SC or any of the lives of the over 406,000 people killed by gun violence in America since 2001. Nobody. Not even your mother.
So, get over yourself and the importance to you of your political career. Reach down and find the courage to do the right thing. Do what your constituents want you to do.
If you still can’t find the motivation to turn your back on the threats of NRA campaign dollars going to a rival because you stood up for what is right, try this out.
On October 22, 2014 there were shootings in Parliament in Ottawa, Canada. Imagine for a moment that the scene were instead on the floor of the House or Senate. A gunman has overpowered guards and is inside the chamber firing away at aides and your colleagues and his gun has shifted to point at you. Do you think that at that moment you might wish that you had passed sensible gun safety legislation so that a habitual troublemaker and offender like Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the perp in Ottawa, couldn’t get a gun? I bet you would.
That’s right: it’s really personal when the gun is aimed at your chest. That’s how personal it was for shoppers at the Clackamus Town Center Mall in Portland, OR on December 11, 2012.
So, take this on as something personal. Do the right thing before the wrong thing is done to yet more innocent Americans. Did I mention that those Americans are more important than your political career? Just ask your mom.
Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.
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Copyright 2019 by Jack Altschuler
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