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April 18, 2013

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Flannista

I watched Obama's remarks yesterday and again this morning via the link embedded in this post. I don't see outrage. I was stunned yesterday when I learned that all proposals on gun control -- particularly the one on background checks -- had been defeated.

Flannista

I have to confess that I did not contact my Congressperson or do anything to help these proposals pass. Can anyone tell me specifically what a person like me can do to defeat the well-financed NRA?

Flannista

Hey Andrew Breitbart, to quote Sista C, "Bring it".

treesta

I also watched Obama's remarks yesterday. What I saw was a man who has taken on a cause, not because it was in his political best interests, but because it was the right thing to do. He spoke from the heart. He has comforted too many grieving families during his time in office. It is his moral responsibility to do everything he can to minimize the deaths due to gun violence in this country. This is one issue where I believe he will stand his ground and speak bluntly, no matter the political fall-out.

Flannista

You're right, treesta. I completely agree with you.

I heard that Senator McConnell, the Republican Leader of the Senate, refused to meet with the Newtown families. Did the Republicans not learn anything from the results of last November's election?

Flannista

As you know, the Sassistas! seldom post about politics mostly because I no longer watch or read much news because real life has enough of its own sadnesses and disappointments to deal with. I don't want to add to them right now. The defeat of gun control, however, was a real shocker to me.

treesta

I was reading the 'Moms Demand Action' facebook site. One individual called the office of Senator Mark Pryor. As soon as she mentioned 'common sense action on gun control', they hung up on her.

Obama was right. It is up to the American people now. We must take the time to call, write, or email our elected officials. We must take the time to participate in rallies. We must keep talking about this issue.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/files/2012/12/firearm-OECD-UN-data3.jpg

Flannista

Gabby Giffords response to yesterday's gun control defeat -- an editorial in today's New York Times (in its entirety here):

*****

SENATORS say they fear the N.R.A. and the gun lobby. But I think that fear must be nothing compared to the fear the first graders in Sandy Hook Elementary School felt as their lives ended in a hail of bullets. The fear that those children who survived the massacre must feel every time they remember their teachers stacking them into closets and bathrooms, whispering that they loved them, so that love would be the last thing the students heard if the gunman found them.

On Wednesday, a minority of senators gave into fear and blocked common-sense legislation that would have made it harder for criminals and people with dangerous mental illnesses to get hold of deadly firearms — a bill that could prevent future tragedies like those in Newtown, Conn., Aurora, Colo., Blacksburg, Va., and too many communities to count.

Some of the senators who voted against the background-check amendments have met with grieving parents whose children were murdered at Sandy Hook, in Newtown. Some of the senators who voted no have also looked into my eyes as I talked about my experience being shot in the head at point-blank range in suburban Tucson two years ago, and expressed sympathy for the 18 other people shot besides me, 6 of whom died. These senators have heard from their constituents — who polls show overwhelmingly favored expanding background checks. And still these senators decided to do nothing. Shame on them.

I watch TV and read the papers like everyone else. We know what we’re going to hear: vague platitudes like “tough vote” and “complicated issue.” I was elected six times to represent southern Arizona, in the State Legislature and then in Congress. I know what a complicated issue is; I know what it feels like to take a tough vote. This was neither. These senators made their decision based on political fear and on cold calculations about the money of special interests like the National Rifle Association, which in the last election cycle spent around $25 million on contributions, lobbying and outside spending.

Speaking is physically difficult for me. But my feelings are clear: I’m furious. I will not rest until we have righted the wrong these senators have done, and until we have changed our laws so we can look parents in the face and say: We are trying to keep your children safe. We cannot allow the status quo — desperately protected by the gun lobby so that they can make more money by spreading fear and misinformation — to go on.

I am asking every reasonable American to help me tell the truth about the cowardice these senators demonstrated. I am asking for mothers to stop these lawmakers at the grocery store and tell them: You’ve lost my vote. I am asking activists to unsubscribe from these senators’ e-mail lists and to stop giving them money. I’m asking citizens to go to their offices and say: You’ve disappointed me, and there will be consequences.

People have told me that I’m courageous, but I have seen greater courage. Gabe Zimmerman, my friend and staff member in whose honor we dedicated a room in the United States Capitol this week, saw me shot in the head and saw the shooter turn his gunfire on others. Gabe ran toward me as I lay bleeding. Toward gunfire. And then the gunman shot him, and then Gabe died. His body lay on the pavement in front of the Safeway for hours.

I have thought a lot about why Gabe ran toward me when he could have run away. Service was part of his life, but it was also his job. The senators who voted against background checks for online and gun-show sales, and those who voted against checks to screen out would-be gun buyers with mental illness, failed to do their job.

They looked at these most benign and practical of solutions, offered by moderates from each party, and then they looked over their shoulder at the powerful, shadowy gun lobby — and brought shame on themselves and our government itself by choosing to do nothing.

They will try to hide their decision behind grand talk, behind willfully false accounts of what the bill might have done — trust me, I know how politicians talk when they want to distract you — but their decision was based on a misplaced sense of self-interest. I say misplaced, because to preserve their dignity and their legacy, they should have heeded the voices of their constituents. They should have honored the legacy of the thousands of victims of gun violence and their families, who have begged for action, not because it would bring their loved ones back, but so that others might be spared their agony.

This defeat is only the latest chapter of what I’ve always known would be a long, hard haul. Our democracy’s history is littered with names we neither remember nor celebrate — people who stood in the way of progress while protecting the powerful. On Wednesday, a number of senators voted to join that list.

Mark my words: if we cannot make our communities safer with the Congress we have now, we will use every means available to make sure we have a different Congress, one that puts communities’ interests ahead of the gun lobby’s. To do nothing while others are in danger is not the American way.
*****

treesta

Preach it, Gabby Giffords.

frida

I think it would be useful to have a list of all the senators and their votes...So we can begin to write letters...And I do not think that the second amendment gives any rights on individual gun ownership; at any rate, why does an American citizen need an assault rifle?

treesta

frida, I don't know if you're on facebook, but the group Moms Demand Action has published a list of the senators who voted no yesterday. I 'shared' it on facebook. Unfortunately, I cannot access that from school, or I'd publish it now.

treesta

I just looked up the Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in American website, where I found this:

"Pat Maisch is a gun violence survivor and American hero who wrestled the third magazine clip away from the shooter in Tucson. After the Senate voted against background checks yesterday, Pat shouted, "Shame on you!" from the Senate Gallery. She was escorted out by security and then guess what happened... The Senate staff ran a background check on her."

Ironic.

Flannista

What you shared in your 9:09 a.m. comment infuriates me, treesta. Just really pisses me off.

Flannista

The 45 Senators who voted against background checks:

1. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
2. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
3. Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY)
4. Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT)
5. Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK)
6. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO)
7. Sen. John Boozman (R-AR)
8. Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)
9. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
10. Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN)
11. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK)
12. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)
13. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN)
14. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)
15. Sen. Michael Crapo (R-ID)
16. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)
17. Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY)
18. Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE)
19. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
20. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
21. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA)
22. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
23. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
24. Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV)
25. Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND)
26. Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)
27. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
28. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE)
29. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)
30. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT)
31. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
32. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS)
33. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
34. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)
35. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)
36. Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR)
37. Sen. James Risch (R-ID)
38. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS)
39. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)
40. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC)
41. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
42. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL)
43. Sen. John Thune (R-SD)
44. Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)
45. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS)

Flannista

A dear beloved who regularly reads Sassistas! but does not comment just emailed me and told me that Andrew Breitbart died a year ago. The Breitbart blog is still alive and well, however, and that is where I read the commentary I linked to in today's post.

All apologies.

PEACEsista

I'm with Gabby Giffords:

"Mark my words: if we cannot make our communities safer with the Congress we have now, we will use every means available to make sure we have a different Congress, one that puts communities’ interests ahead of the gun lobby’s. To do nothing while others are in danger is not the American way."

According to Terry Tempest Williams the best way to get the word out and be heard on important issues these days is to use the opinion pages of your local newspapers. I have used this tool.

When Obama was first elected, there was a run on guns and ammunition at our local gun stores, which was featured in a local news story. I wrote an opinion piece, which was published, saying that I did NOT feel safer knowing that local citizens were stockpiling guns and ammunition and citing statistics on violent crime and suicide. I also highlighted the fact that my well-trained military sons were not allowed to have possession of their weapons when stationed on U.S. bases, a fact that is still ironic to me. Citizens can possess all the guns they want, while the people we pay to protect us have their weapons locked in an armory. Go figure.

So, call or write your senators, to express your thanks, or your disgust, at their position on this issue, but also use the public forums to let them know that the public WILL have their way on this issue. Use newspapers, facebook and twitter to let Congress know how you feel. This issue is NOT going away. The NRA may be able to influence the Senate, but they will NOT silence the majority of US citizens and they do NOT speak for us.

babysis

At the risk of being forever vilified, I don't think either of your options are very outrageous. It is easy (and completely genuine) to be saddened, horrified, and even outraged over gun (or any) violence.

It is not easy (read: impossible) to prevent violence by gun control legislation. It simply does not and will not work. It can fool one into thinking they are really helping the problem, or it can be used as a purely political tactic certain to pull on the deepest of emotions in us all.

treesta

Not vilifying in the least, babysis. In fact, thank you for your courage to state your views when, in this forum at least so far, your views are in the minority. I simply disagree. Passionately disagree. There must be reasons why tens of thousands of people our killed in this country every year by gun violence, when the numbers are a fraction of that in other countries - even accounting for differences in size populations, the difference is staggering. The easy accessibility of guns of all kinds, including assault weapons has to be a factor. I have a friend who lives in Australia. She chimed in on this discussion shortly after the Newtown shootings. Australia responded to a string of mass shootings in their country several years ago by implementing gun control laws, and the death rate in that country dropped significantly.

Besides, for our children's sake, we must implement what we can. As Obama said once again yesterday, if it saves even one life, even a few hundred lives, we have to try.

PEACEsista

babysis: thank you for your honesty. I have no interest in vilifying you for your opinion, but I agree with treesta's noting of the facts regarding gun legislation. It is no secret that we are the most violent nation in the world regarding gun homicides. Believe me, living in Wyoming, I have been on the receiving end of vilification for my opinion on guns, which diverges from roughly 95% of the citizens of this state.

When a gun registry law passes, I fully expect that there will be a law proposed in the Wyoming legislature to secede from the union, or some such nonsense. In the past session, they proposed a law stating that Wyoming would not be governed by any federal gun legislation. Sanity prevailed and it failed.

Sista C

No, no villains here. But the cow's done out'a the barn on this one, and has been for a long time. If not one more gun was ever sold in this country, there'd be more than enough to go around for a good long while. Thing is, the more violence there is involving guns, the more people figure they need one to protect themselves FROM that violence. They want a fighting chance, so to speak. I'm not saying that I'm necessarily against gun legislation, nobody needs a damn assault rifle. Just don't go thinking that legislation is going to keep guns out of the hands of the bad guys.

Flannista

Sista C: define "bad guys".

Flannista

Even in the hands of "good guys", guns can escalate a crime situation unnecessarily. "Good guys" can become enraged, drunk, etc. and easy access to a gun can turn a mere drunken brawl to a murder spree.

PEACEsista

Which explains why the homicide rate is higher in my low-population state than it is in many others ... a lot of good guys and bad guys with guns ... and a lot of alcohol consumed. We also have a higher suicide rate. The most "successful" way to commit suicide is with a gun.

Matissta

When I was flying back on Tuesday from NY, I overheard a conversation. A military guy in his early 30's was talking loudly on the phone. (Recently NY passed the "toughest" gun laws in the country, although I don't know all of the details.)

He asked whomever he was speaking with if he was going to register his guns which is required by this new law. And then he responds, "I have over 30 guns, including assalt weapons. There's no way I'm going to register them." He goes on to say, "It's such bullsh!t." And I'm thinking to myself, "if you're a law-abiding citizen what's the problem? They're not saying they're going to take the guns from you, they just want you to register them."

He also went on to say that "Cuomo is mafia." Whatever that means, I guess this guy thinks anyone who's Italian is mafia. Needless to say, I had to stop myself from approaching him and saying something. But it gives you an idea of how this guy thinks.

babysis

I respect your passionately held opinions and appreciate the tolerance for mine. What to that "cow outta the barn" dilemma? Why would it not eventually follow that the solution is to disarm the public entirely? I know that won't happen, but it sounds like it could be proposed and supported by many. Which is why most of the skyrocketing gun sales are about fear of the government rather than of bad guys. Which leads to even more good and bad guys consuming alcohol and killing people on purpose or by accident.

There is no quick or easy fix, but gun control is a drop in the bucket and may cause more problems than it addresses. The root of the problem is better addressed by poetry in treesta's school in my opinion. How our culture views the dignity of life will not change with more gun control. It might even become far more violent and bloody in the long run. Someone intent on hurting or killing doesn't need a gun, as we know too well from Boston this week.

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