This week in April is a bad one. Even before the tragic events at the Boston Marathon Monday or before the explosion in West, Texas, this week in April was full of tragedy. With a presidential assassination, school shootings, bombings and failed raids, American had been put through the ringer.
Which is part of the reason why I think the failure to pass the gun control measure hit me and many other Americans particularly hard. This measure, which failed by six votes, didn't take away people's guns. It didn't make it harder for law abiding citizens to acquire weapons. All it was going to do was expand background checks. That's it. It should have been a no brainer, especially when recent polling shows upwards of 90 percent of Americans support stricter background checks.
This vote happened a day after the six year anniversary of the Virginia Tech shooting, in which 32 people were killed and 17 more were injured, making it the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history. The shooter (and I purposely do not use his name) did go through the background checks required of him, but lied on them. He did not disclose he had been court ordered to seek mental healthcare. Someone who had the obvious mental illnesses he had should under no circumstances have been allowed to purchase the weapons and ammunition he did.
Stricter and more expanded background checks (in addition to beefing up our mental healthcare system) would have been a step in the right direction to prevent tragedies like what happened at Virginia Tech again.
This vote also took place three days before the 14th anniversary of the mass shooting at Columbine High School, where 12 students and teachers were killed and 21 more injured. The shooters of that massacre were able to acquire their weaponry with relative ease. This shooting had such an effect on people that even the NRA, at the time, supported instant background checks as a way to save lives.
Oh how times have changed.
The thing that I think disgusts me the most is many of these Senators met with victims of gun violence and their families, including survivors of what happened in Sandy Hook. They looked these people in the eye as they shared stories and pictures of their loved ones who had lost their lives due to gun violence, and yet, could not vote for something the vast majority of Americans (and NRA members) want. It is disgusting, and shows the perverse power the lobbying industry has on our elected representatives. They've shown time and time again that they are not representatives of the people, but representatives of lobbyists and special interest groups.
They underestimate us regular citizens.
They underestimate how angry we are when we see our children dying in their classrooms. They underestimate how heartbroken we are to hear tales from cities of 6-month-olds dying from stray bullets. They underestimate how fed up we are with this system, and they underestimate how much we want gun control.
They also underestimate our ability to remember. We won't forget this. All of the members of the Senate who voted no on this will be up for reelection at some point. I don't care what they do from now until that day comes. I will remember who voted against common sense and I'll let my ballot do the talking for me.
For now what happened is unfortunately just another sad event scarring the week of April 15th. Because while no one lost their lives immediately, our Senators have shown they don't want to do whatever they can to prevent future tragedies, and if we've learned anything this week, it's that there are sick, twisted, individuals who will do whatever they can to harm us. That won't change because of a piece of paper, and unfortunately will never change. However, doing whatever we can to make it harder for people to commit acts of violence should be a priority.
Gun control laws will pass. It's what the people want and it's only a matter of time until the outrage becomes so great that it has to happen. If this Congress won't take the steps to do it, then we'll keep voting until we get one who will.
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