Tragedy unfolds in our country from the barrel of a gun every single day. One that will live in our hearts until infinity happened just before Christmas(!) when a crazed, "brilliant" boy shot and killed 26 people in a public school. Twenty of them were young children. He used a Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle. He got it from his mother's house. He used it to murder his mother.
At first, outcry flooded our landscape. The tide was powerful. President Obama cried on television. Talking heads couldn't stop shaking their skulls spewing passion about how the violence must stop. The President and others have asked us to write our representatives in support of the new bill that Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has introduced. The NRA president has suggested we put armed guards in every school. He conveniently forgets Columbine where there was an armed guard.
Senator Feinstein's bill (S 150) regulates all semi-automatic weapons in the hands of civilians; requires universal background checks (no exceptions); bans magazines with more than 10 rounds. The bill is supported by an impressive list of police chiefs, cities, mayors, etc. Yet, there are both Republicans and Democrats who believe they can go against public opinion that supports stricter gun regulation and try to gut the provisions of this bill. There are over 2,000 weapons not affected. No matter. No matter that these legislators do not honor the dead who are the result of massive gun violence in our culture. Not their problem.
I have yet to understand why anyone would need a semi-automatic weapon that can fire dozens of rounds per minute (depending on the speed of your trigger finger) for any other purpose other than killing people. Or an automatic weapon which fires ad infinitum with just the flick of a finger. If you believe that you are legitimately arming yourself to the teeth because you must prepare to fight a "tyrannical" government, may I suggest that your AK-47 isn't going to hold up very well against an armored tank or supersonic jets bombing the crap out of your location. Maybe you believe that your assault weapon can defend against a sophisticated drone targeting you and your colleagues. Perhaps it is time to find another way to fight the "good fight" and allow sane citizens to move on to protect our children from those with fantasies of blowing up human flesh and lives.
According to govtrak.us, this bill stands a 10 percent chance of getting out of committee; a 1 percent chance of passing and becoming law. Let's increase those odds. Write your representative? Okay. But I believe that in order for us to really be heard we must speak as one community. Why not petition our government to support Senator Feinstein's bill. Why not bring up this issue at town meetings and vote on a non-binding resolution to support Senator Feinstein's bill? Who knows, maybe the seed we plant with this resolution will soar across our land with all the passion and love that we have for our children. Maybe our voices will finally be heard. Worth a try. We have nothing to lose but our fear. During times of disaster we look to our government for help.
Today our government needs our help.
Follow Jack Schimmelman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/mervie2