Mass shootings will not stop by themselves and the legislators in Washington have long exchanged their duty – to protect The People – for campaign financing support (from the gun industry). Fortunately, there are two extremely effective solutions which could incentivize the legislators to do what they were elected to do in the first place, to defend the interests of The People.
- Vote ALL Republicans and the Democrats against gun reforms out of office. As of this writing, all Republican Representatives including those who bid to become the next president are against any initiative which would provide some protection from the recurring mass shootings in the country. More on that later.
- Arrange for ALL Republicans and the Democrats against gun reforms to experience mass shooting. I know what that sounds like but desperate circumstances call for unorthodox measures. It’s much too easy not to care when you are not affected. If you or your child were gunned down by a mass shooter, it’s certain your opposition to gun control would change immediately. Why not extend the same courtesy to those in Washington who have been dragging their feet, protecting the gun industry! We’ll come back to that later.
Just a couple weeks ago, on October 2, 2015 in a small town in Oregon, at Umpqua Community College Campus where learning should have been the only excitement happening, Chris Harper Mercer, a 26 year old young man, also a student at the college stormed into the English class, in session, and opened fire indiscriminately according to survivors. Nine people were killed and a score of others injured. Confronted by law enforcement, Chris turned the gun on himself and committed suicide.
That sounds like the script for a movie, except that it’s not. Instead, it is the horror story which has become common currency in America. And every time such tragedy happens, there is always the group which automatically shifts into overdrive to prevent any new law, any new legislation, any new restriction regarding gun control from even being debated let alone enacted. That group, under the banner of the National Rifle Association (NRA) makes millions of dollars selling weapons to anyone who asks for one; to such group, the lives of those lost in tragedy such as the latest shooting at the Umpqua community college are just part of the equation in the fortune amassing scheme. Sadly, most people who own guns are so gullible, they buy into the argument that any gun legislation would strip them off their freedom to bear arms. Their Representatives, most of which are Republicans (98% of both Houses), have been NRA spoke persons in Washington, thus opposing any attempt by Democrats including the President to pass comprehensive legislation that would have made it a tad more difficult for just anyone to acquire automatic weapons. To illustrate how much Republican Representatives have been accomplices in the blood shedding and murders of our young children through mass shooting, consider the following:
In April 2013, the last time votes for stricter gun legislation were held in the Houses in Washington, 221 Republicans in Congress (98%) voted against gun reforms; only three Republican Representatives – 1% – (Peter King of District 2 in NY, Michael Grimm of District 11 in NY and Mike Fitzpatrick of District 8 in PA) voted for gun reforms and believed it is worth shielding the lives of our young children from mass shooting. On the Democrat side in Congress, 154 Representatives (81%) voted for gun reforms; 16 Democrat Representatives (8.3%) joined the rank of Republicans who couldn’t care less about the murdering of our children. Both on the Republican and the Democrat sides, there were a few Representatives who couldn’t make up their minds (the Undecided) whether it was worth saving the lives of our children. Yep! The Representatives you elected to work on behalf of “The People”.
It was no different in the Senate; 41 Republican Senators representing 91% voted against gun reforms; only two – 4% – (Mark Kirk, junior Senator of Illinois and Susan Collins, Senior Senator of Maine) voted to save our children. On the Democrat side, we notice the same pattern as in Congress; 41 Senators (91%) voted to have gun reforms; four – 8% – (Mark Begich, junior Senator of Alaska; Mark Pryor, senior Senator of Arkansas; Max Baucus, senior Senator of Montana and Heidi Heitkamp, junior Senator of North Dakota) couldn’t come up with any reason to help spare the lives of our children. Bluntly speaking, the Representatives you have sent to Washington are fully responsible for the gun problem in the country. There was not a SINGLE Republican in the Senate who voted to allow background check on people who wish to acquire automatic weapons. On the Democrat side, all but four (the same four senators who voted against gun reforms) voted to allow background check.
Note: as I am doing research for this article, another shooting at Northern Arizona University which left 1 person dead and three others injured occurred, just days (Oct 9) after the mass shooting in Oregon. It should not be surprising that by the time I complete my research and finish writing this article, other shootings may have occurred. Mass shooting is a lifestyle in America, courtesy of your elected Representatives.
Although the situation seems hopeless on the surface in light of all those shootings which have taken the lives of our children prematurely, and in the shadow of the billion dollar gun industry which owns almost every Republican Representative (and a small group of Democrats’) in Washington, there are ways to resolve those lingering and vexing problems. It is no longer cute (as if it has ever been) to stand on the sideline watching a good cockfight (I mean useless debates) in Washington; it is no longer morally acceptable for any conscientious individual to simply shrug it off on the face of those tragedies. No one is immune; you’ve been lucky thus far, your children may have been spared when it happened at his/her school. Maybe it has yet to happen at the school where your children go to; what’s certain is if you do nothing, mass shooting will continue to happen again and again and again. You may not be so lucky next time; your children may run of luck too and their lives may be taken away in an instant. Would it continue to be okay for your Representatives to protect the gun industry then?
Contrary to the legislators in Australia who chose to represent the interests of the people who elected them in office – they put their political careers on hold to end mass shooting in the country – it seems that no amount of loss of lives, no degree of affliction, pain and suffering would move the Republican Representatives in Washington to change their position on the gun issue. It is not out of principle; it’s not out of belief and it’s not even out of conviction they hold their position, not that any of it should matter considering what’s at stake. It is simply because they want to secure financing support for their election and re-election campaigns. Yep! It matters very little – if at all – how many of our children are slaughtered in those massacres, as long as the Representatives are successful securing financing support for their political campaigns.
Don’t take my word for it. According to New York Daily News, NRA spent $15 million to oust President Obama in 2012 (can you guess why?) To NRA’s shame and all the Republican Representatives in Washington who supported that initiative, NRA big spending against gun reforms came at the heel of the Sandy Hook Elementary school massacre which left 26 people dead (20 children & 6 adults) and a score of others injured. And that was only the beginning of a major effort by NRA supported by the Republicans to squash any initiative by anyone who would support strict gun legislation.
Aided by the 2010 Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission – the Supreme Court ruled that political spending is protected under the First Amendment; translation: corporations and unions could spend unlimited amounts of money on political activities – the NRA has since poured well over $46 million helping to elect & re-elect Republicans, to lobby against gun legislation and to warrant inaction in Washington vis-à-vis any gun reform initiative. Thus far, despite the many tragedies which have happened since Sandy Hook massacre – according to an October 11, 2015 article in The Guardian, there have been 1,000 mass shootings – it seems unlikely anything will be done.
The Republican Representatives are completely unfazed by those tragedies; even after one of their colleagues, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (and others with her at the time; six were killed and 13 injured), was gunned down in January 2011 by the 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner, a high school dropout, no action was taken in Washington to prevent the re-occurrence of similar tragedies. We should not therefore expect a change of heart on the part of the Republicans; however, there are at least two major propositions which will incentivize members of both Houses to pass legislation which will help to curb the culture of mass shooting in the country:
1) Vote ALL Republicans and the Democrats against gun reforms out of office
This incentive should be good enough to get things done and it is also the easiest to implement. It is very simple but it requires the participation of all conscientious individuals who care for the safety of their children. While I acknowledge the difficulty of voting against your party, it is worth every bit of your moral conscience. You should not wait until you or your children become victims in order to do what’s morally right. This vote (against your Republican Representative) should not be regarded as a Party vote but rather a vote to get something done about a critical issue, gun reforms. You already know where your Republican Representatives stand; they have voted every time against any gun reform legislation; the only possible way to have this issue resolved once and for all is to vote them out of office. It’s hard but it must be done. If you find yourself trying to find a reason to keep your Representatives in office, it’s because you’ve already made up your mind not to help solve the gun issue. Your Republican Representatives will not suddenly have a change of heart. We have already traveled that road before and we know exactly where it leads to, nowhere. If you decide (with your vote) to keep them in office or you decide to do nothing, do not pretend to feel bad about victims of mass shooting; do not pretend to sympathize with them. Hopefully, the next mass shooting – as it will eventually happen – would only hit those who have refused to vote their Republican Representatives out of office in order to resolve the gun issue in the country. Hopefully, only those (and their families) would become victims of such tragedies. As harsh as that may sound, your action (or inaction) carries consequences. If keeping your Representative in Washington is more important to you than your safety and that of your loved ones, when tragedy occurs in your backyard – as it will eventually – remember that you too are responsible for the tragedy.
2) Expose ALL Republicans and the Democrats against gun reforms to mass shooters
That sounds extreme, and it is; so is the callousness of the legislators in Washington who have opposed any solution to the gun problem; so is their indifference to the slaughtering of our children. Maybe mass shooters should now target those legislators. If all the tragedies since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre were to happen to legislators, would we still have to deal with the gun problem in America? If they were the victims (injured and dead) of those tragedies, would they still favor the gun industry over their own lives? Of course not! So, why are they so indifferent? To those legislators, your lives (and those of your children) do not matter much. But if their own lives were at stake, they would want to do something about the gun problem quickly. So, why not implore mass shooters to aim their automatic weapons at those legislators?
Mass shootings cannot be wished away. They will continue to claim our lives and those of our children. Gun related deaths have claimed to date more lives than terrorist attacks; yet, our government has spent billions of dollars yearly to prevent another terrorist attack all the meanwhile completely ignoring daily casualties inflicted to our children by gun related incidents. Republican Representatives and a few Democrats have violated the terms of their employment; they have failed to safeguard the interests of The People. Their employments must be terminated; it is well overdue. We must now find suitable candidates who can do the job without compromising their integrity. Our safety and that of our children are at stake.