Another school shooting.
After Sandy Hook–after the mass murder of first-graders–I thought that at long last something, anything, might be attempted by our esteemed Congress to stem the epidemic of gun violence.
It turns out I’m a babe in the woods.
And the wolf in the woods? You’re probably voting for him.
It would be perfectly sensible to carry a firearm if you found yourself in the woods. Especially if there were wolves. But on a school campus? Not so much.
And the woods are a perfectly sensible place for wolves. But in Congress? Not so much.
Is it going to require some maniacal gunman to somehow actually burst into the House or Senate chamber and shower the place with lead–like a school massacre–before Congress pays more than lip service to ending gun violence?
Or would Congress, in the case of our maniacal gunman, just maintain the swaybacked Republican logic that representatives should arm themselves–like teachers, potentially–by carrying guns into their chambers?
I am past outraged by all the egregious Congressional “thoughts and prayers,” as always, in the aftermath of one of these ghastly episodes. Substitute “Abbott and Costello.” That’d be about as heartfelt as “thoughts and prayers.”
I’m very sorry, ma’am, to confirm that your six-year-old son, Lance, is not among the survivors. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Now, can you tell me who’s on first?
With apologies to Joe DiMaggio and Paul Simon, who our nation turns its lonely eyes to is Congress.
“Just one word…plastics.”
What we have now is a plastic Congress. Not plastic in the sense of its industrial meaning, a “malleable synthetic material,” which could actually be a good thing, but more in a derogatory late mid-century sense meaning “phony.”
But wait, it gets worse. Not only does Congress ignore us–it heists our collective credit card.
Congress is magnificently adept at running up taxpayer debt–Put it on the plastic!–with one hand, while, with the other hand palm-up, collecting all manner of contributions behind its back.
Here’s where it becomes so difficult for Congress to act against gun violence.
It’s not that the Second Amendment remains a particularly thorny legal knot. Between 1791 and 2008 it may have been debated whether the amendment should pertain to individual or state–militia–rights, but in 2008 the Supreme Court (District of Columbia v Heller) voted 5-4 to overturn a handgun ban in the nation’s capital.
According to The Guardian: “The conservative justice Antonin Scalia wrote the opinion in narrow but unprecedented terms: for the first time in the country’s history, the supreme court explicitly affirmed an individual’s right to keep a weapon at home for self-defense.”
Whatever your own take on the language of the Second Amendment–“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed”–the clause is settled law.
The difficulty Congress has with changing gun law is not legal, but financial.
Don’t take my word for it. The Fresno Bee saved me some legwork:
Here’s a…look at the hearts and prayers of the [Tulare and Kings County] member$ of the California congre$$ional delegation, via the campaign money they’ve accepted from gun right$ organization$, led by the National Rifle A$$ociation. The Center for Responsive Politics compiled the data, as of the end of 2017:
- Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield: $86,850
- David Valadao, R-Hanford, $49,200
- Devin Nunes, R-Tulare, $37,450
These men should apologize to their constituents, and the nation at large, return the loot and promise never again to accept their 30 pieces of silver. If they don’t, you should vote them out.
Here’s the link to the Center for Responsive Politics: https://www.opensecrets.org/industries/summary.php…
To put this into perspective–again from the Center for Responsive Politics–in 2016 the NRA spent $265 in favor of Hillary Clinton; of course, it spent $19,756,081 against her. It also spent $11,438,118 in support of the Orange Horror while not spending so much as a dime against him. That’s a single special interest group shunting $31,194,149 toward one candidate.
And we’re worried about Russian meddling in our presidential election? Who needs Russians while the NRA remains in the ascendant?
Still, with all this filthy lucre in our politics–blood money in our politicians’ pockets–I am also worried that, until the millennials finally vote en masse, gun violence will, ironically, remain a part of campus life.