The latest ugliness of assault and murder against a group of people–the attack at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino CA–results in more calls for reasonable gun control by many.
But here’s the deal. No one in the Republican leadership–Congress or the Presidential candidates–is saying anything about control. They express sympathy for the community, and those who grieve the loss of loved ones, but not a word about doing something to stem the tide.
And you know what is really outrageous? Congress has not even given terror-fighting agencies the authority to deny guns to those on the nation’s no-fly list. What’s more, they have refused for decades to put any funding into research on gun violence.
That’s the power of the gun lobby, particularly the NRA (National Rifle Association). They claim to represent gun owners and hunters. I have known a lot of hunters in my lifetime, and I feel certain that most of them would agree that denying guns to people our government, for security reasons, doesn’t let fly around the country is a reasonable measure. And I believe most of them would think that research into ways to deal with, and respond to, gun violence is a reasonable measure.
But the NRA and others have terrorized the GOP, and some Democrats, into thinking that any departure from gun lobby orthodoxy is political suicide. I want to blame the NRA because they bear great responsibility.
But the ones I really blame are the spineless legislators and leaders who refuse to act, again and again, in the face of rising violence through the ready availability of hand guns and assault rifles. There are so many different types of people who commit these horrific acts–mentally unstable, angry religious extremists, sullen former spouses and employees, abortion haters–but they all have one thing in common.They can easily get their hands on guns. Guns are the common denominator. In the case of San Bernardino, these included assault weapons.
Why can anyone other than police and soldiers get access to assault rifles? Why is everyone who wants to buy a gun not subject to a background check? Such checks will not prevent law-abiding people from getting guns, but they can help make sure others do not.
I don’t like to call people names, and certainly not whole groups of people. So I won’t use a label on these leaders who fail to lead, but I will name their behavior: cowardice.
I don’t know how many of them actually own guns, or use them, but what I see are people who are supposed to be out front leading who are, instead, standing behind cover provided by the political guns of the NRA.
In my book, that’s cowardice.
How many more of these horrific situations–how many more school children, college students, public employees (including police of course), people with developmental disabilities (as in San Bernardino), ordinary citizens, mothers and fathers, will we have to lose before they find their spines?
I am praying that one of them, just one, breaks ranks and moves from cowardice into bravery–maybe even acting with courage and conviction like the police officers and emergency personnel, and many civilians who reach out to help, who have to respond when yet another gun-toting killer strikes.
That’s called leadership.