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This is What Democracy Looks Like
Today's Note From a Madman
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Waiting for the Polls
I'm sure that all of the 2008 Presidential candidates, Democrat and Republican alike, are waiting for the nen Pew-Zogby-Fox News-USA Today-Abbott and Costello polls to come out on gun control after the Virginia Tech massacre took the lives of some 34 people. And I'm sure that most of the candidates are waiting to hear from the snippets of American society which is reflected by these polls before they say, "We have to do something." But imagine if every single candidate came out in some kind of '08 conference call; did their condemning of the attack and attacker; offered their hollow condolences and said, in union, loud enough for all to hear, "WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING!"
Why, something might actually get done.
In fact, if ALL of the candidates would come right out and say "This is unacceptable - we can have guns AND a sensible way to control them,"; and pointed their words towards the NRA, leaving them without a candidate to push their agenda, maybe the rest of the American people would follow suit.
As it stands, many of our possible would-be leaders, are remaining committedly non-committal on any gun control legislation that should have convinced them after the murders of two days ago.
"I think that people who want to take this within 24 hours of the event and make it their political hobby horse to ride ... I've got nothing but loathing for them. To those who want to try to make this into some little crusade, I say take that elsewhere."
-Virginia Governor Tim Kaine (DEMOCRAT)
What Gov. Kaine, whose address to the students and faculty of Virginia Tech at yesterday's convocation was hopeful, mesmerizing and downright uplifting in the face of such a horrible catastrophe, fails to mention is that this is just the time and the event necessary to wake people up in regards to some kind of sensible legislation on gun control.
I know that the vast majority of Americans with guns are responsible. But this has nothing to do with reality. The argument that "Guns don't kill people - People kill people," is disingenuous. People with guns kill people and we need to make sure that an unhappy, young man with a gripe (or several gripes) has a hard time at getting his hands on a concealed weapon.
Do we have proof that harder-to-get gun laws would have made a difference at Virginia Tech. Of course not. But, perhaps, had the assailant been able to only get his hands on a single shot shotgun instead of two 19-clip handguns, someone on the campus would have noticed him. As it was, all he had to do was walk across campus and kill 31 of the 34 who ended up dead (which included his taking his own life).
The NRA and the Bush administration are going to look at the gun debate in a similar light: Advise us all to do and say nothing until we get all the facts when, in fact, they'll just hope the whole debate will fade away.
I think when a guy walks in and shoots 32 people it's going to cause there to be a lot of policy debate. Now is not the time to do the debate until we're actually certain about what happened and after we help people get over their grieving."
I disagree. Now is the time to begin the debate. Now is the time for REAL, national gun legislation. Now is the time for reform.
Let's get everybody involved: The NRA; the Brady campaign to Prevent Gun Violence; the President; the '08 Presidential candidate; congress; and every individual citizen who cares, which is probably all of us.
It's time for the like of Rev. Al Sharpton and Rev. Jesse Jackson to use their influence in regards to this matter, too. After all, don't guns kill a disproportionate number of young, urban black males today?
It's time for the likes of CNN, MSNBC and even Fox News Channel to use their influence and speak about the issue, not just give it a little face time and then get back to Anna Nicole Smith's baby's daddy.
Jay Leno (of all people) asked the hard question to Tim Russert on his Tonight show last night. Why haven't, with all of the past gun violence, hadn't we done something in the past? The reason can be stated in three letters: N-R-A. We have to get beyond their objections, work with their leadership and get real gun legislation now. The main stream media needs to take that first step towards that end.
And on a personal note:
My high school Alma Mater, Edward R. Murrow H.S. in Brooklyn, NY, has won (or has been the co-winner) of the last four National High School Chess Championships. (They shared the title this year and two years ago with a team from Arizona.) And congratulations to Senior Alex Lenderman, who was named the national scholastic chess champion with 6.5 points.
Murrow is one of those harder-to-get-into New York City high schools (now, not when I was in school) and doesn't support any athletic teams. As a member of its second graduating class (1978), I just thought I'd say, "Way to go guys!"