The headlines in the case were sadly familiar. An angry adult armed with a gun used it to shoot and kill an unarmed black teenager he thought seemed "bad" -- this time, because the teenager and his friends were sitting in a car listening to music the grownup didn't like. In this outrageous Florida case, a middle-aged white man, Michael Dunn, was convicted of three counts of attempted murder and one count of shooting a gun into an occupied car. Jurors agreed he faced no threat after he was annoyed by loud music -- coming from a car he had deliberately chosen to park next to -- and then started an argument, pulled a gun on the car's black teens, and fired three shots at the young men inside the car as they tried to drive away from him.
The United States Senate's failure to pass common sense gun safety measures -- the Manchin-Toomey Amendment to expand background checks to keep guns away from underage or dangerous people, and amendments to ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines designed only to kill as many human beings as possible -- is a moral failure of great magnitude. Once again the safety of children has been sacrificed by political leaders in service to the gun lobby. As Americans do we value guns more than the lives of children? Do we really want to continue to have political leaders who kowtow to the threats and money and half-truths of the gun lobby and who think their political jobs are more important than the right of children to live and learn and grow up in safety?