About this poem: I wrote this after the Virginia Tech shootings. And to my incredible sadness, it is not only still applicable today, but may be even more so with murderers using social media and news outlets to distribute their self-portraits, manifestos and, most recently, videos of their murders.
In the five days the nation spent grieving Alison and Adam's deaths, 440 other Americans died by guns. And yet, as a nation we do nothing, except watch the special interest gun industry get away with murder without any accountability while their NRA shills buy and intimidate cowardly members of Congress.
If we develop young boys into testosterone-fueled, entitled "winners" who succeed by suppressing real feelings and behaving aggressively, we shouldn't be surprised when they act as they have been conditioned to act.
His name was Bill Stewart, a courageous ABC newsman. According to published reports and to interviews conducted with journalists who covered the story, Stewart was executed by Nicaragua's National Guard during the Civil War of 1979. As a CBS News correspondent myself covering that war, I was in Nicaragua the day Stewart was killed
It will be interesting to watch pro-gun zealots spin the news about how guns protect us from crime when gun sales continue to soar but so does violent crime.
We are wrapping up a long, cruel summer of senseless, preventable gun violence. Americans are being gunned down in our churches, schools, movie theaters, military recruitment centers, workplaces, and homes. Which is why we're turning September 10 into a national day of action to make good on our pledge to do "whatever it takes."
No one I know ever threatened another person with a gun. The few violent men I knew fought with their fists. Pulling a gun to settle a score wouldn't be worth the shame. Guns were for targets and critters. It seems like some kind of mythical world now.
Colleges and universities are soft targets for legislators; it doesn't take much moral courage for a Senator to beat up on a university that allows a predatory quarterback or arrogant frat boys to get away with horrible offenses against women. Shame on the university presidents who have looked the other way.
This week brought powerful reminders of what happens when a government fails its citizens. On Wednesday, as the nation continued to mark the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's unnecessarily tragic destruction of a uniquely American city, the nation woke to yet another uniquely American tragedy, as two Roanoke-based news staffers -- reporter Alison Parker, and cameraman Adam Ward -- were gunned down on live television. It was the beginning of a news cycle we know all too well: shock, outrage, calls for sensible guns laws, and then, if past is prologue, nothing. Since the Newtown shootings in 2012, nearly 85,000 Americans have been killed by guns -- yet common sense gun legislation proposed at the time by President Obama continues to languish. On Thursday, the president called Katrina "a man-made disaster, a failure of government to look out for its own citizens." The same could be said of Roanoke.
"We're Number 1!" (We must be so proud...)
I have no doubt that some additional legislation, such as background checks, will help stem the tide of this endless gun violence. But the real answer is in repealing existing legislation -- the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.
Tightening security in theaters will ensure even fewer people go, and movie theaters will deteriorate more. It is an ineffective, knee jerk, band aid reaction to what is hopefully a passing copycat lunatic fad. However, theaters across the country are setting new security measures in stone.
Surely there are children who saw the screenshots from the cover of the New York Daily News, and are asking their parents tough questions this week. But their curiosity and questioning should not make us afraid.
As we mourn the dead and remember the innocent lives taken by Williams, we also need to be careful not to let one man's drastic actions allow us to ignore those who speak out about racism, homophobia, and other types of bigotry.
You'll find no shortage of articles, liberal and conservative, that claim gun sales are still booming, even after the Newtown, Connecticut shooting. They rarely, if ever, cite gun sales statistics. They note membership in a gun group like the NRA. Or they'll list background check data.
The failure to implement even the most general or common sense reforms in the light of 800 mass shootings is an absolute refusal to lead on the part of Congress. It's a flat out disregard for the safety of American citizens. It's shameful political cowardice.