Tuesday, January 05, 2016

President Obama and Gun Control

I was proud today to say that I have consistently supported President Obama throughout the seven years of his presidency. His speech on gun control justified that support. We saw a man who cares deeply about the outrageous gun deaths in this country, especially those of the children at Sandy Hook—no, I don’t think even calloused politicians can cry on demand, and yet he wiped away tears as he spoke of that massacre. He presented sensible plans—small steps—toward controlling guns in this country without taking them away from responsible citizens, and, no, it’s not the slippery slope. In spite of what so many have shrilled, he is not coming for everyone’s guns. But it is appalling that we are the only advanced nation with a gun death record so high. You are much more likely to be killed by your neighbor than an ISIS terrorist.

I got some ugly emails already: “Obama is a fraud,” “the only thing he’s compassionate about is the money he gets from the NRA.” The latter amused me—shoe on the wrong foot. Members of the Republican party get NRA funds, not the president. I did hear here and there today that longtime members are dropping out of the NRA. Frankly, from my point of view, I wish we’d follow Australia’s example—after one horrific mass shooting, they outlawed all guns. Haven’t had another mass shooting since, and that was in the ‘90s. I know however some people want to hunt, some farmers in Texas and probably elsewhere need guns to protect their crops and animals against wild hogs. There is however no reason for citizens to have military style weapons. Some people want to protect their families—I’m okay with that as long as they are responsible gun owners, but I don’t know how you separate the wheat from the chaff. How many children have you heard of who picked up a loaded gun carelessly left lying about and shot either themselves or a sibling?

A mass hysteria has swept this country. People are obsessed with their right to bear arms, and in the process they distort the 2nd Amendment and the intent of the Founders who wrote it. What’s worse is that this hysteria has extended to a kind of “us vs. them” attitude, where people see the government as the big enemy. The Oregon self-styled militia is an extreme example of this kind of thinking.

Do you want to live in a hostile, armed society? I don’t. I keep hearing the President wondering aloud how this became such a partisan issue? Do I know what to do about it? Not a clue, although I thought the speech today was a good start. Do I sometimes want to abandon ship and move to Scotland? You bet!

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