Yesterday was a very sad day for most Americans. The US senate voted down a measure that would close a dangerous loophole and require stricter background checks for all ways to purchase a gun. I have no doubt that most of the nation wants this and yet our senators, alleged representatives of the people, couldn't muster the courage to take a positive step towards creating a more safe society while still allowing the average citizen to own a gun. This failure by the senate proves to me that our democracy is really not for the people by the people anymore...it's more for the people who BUY the people. The NRA's financial backing and political pressure has reared its ugly head in a profound manner in regards to this issue. There was a time when the NRA supported broad background checks. Now they are just digging in their heels in pure rebellion against this administration. And they do not care what the majority of average Americans want. And it is very troubling to me that it's all about money and political pressure from special interest groups, many who have no special interest in what I happen to think.
So here are some my struggles as they relate to this issue. The favorite line of the gun advocate is "Guns don't kill people. People kill people." OK. So, if that is the truth, (which in my mind is logic that defies reason), then why aren't gun advocates willing to encourage background checks on PEOPLE?
Additionally, when another tragic event occurs because of gun violence, in addition to the above (il)logic, the attention often turns to the mentally ill and how we as a society must do a better job of identifying the mentally ill. So again, why aren't gun advocates concerned with ensuring that a background check would help to identify those who are mentally ill thus denying them the right to carry a gun? If we really believe that it is often the mentally unstable who wreck havoc in our communities through violent use of guns, then why would we not want to do everything we can to keep guns out of their hands?
You cannot have it both ways...You cannot say that guns don't kill, people kill and then not take measures to protect the people, both the mentally unstable and criminally minded as well those who fall victim to those who unsafely gain access to guns.
So to the US Senate, members of the NRA, gun advocates and others who are content with the current gun laws in the US, help me understand what yesterday's vote accomplished in any positive, helpful way for the American people. You all are so afraid that your freedoms are going to be infringed upon. Well, guess what? The freedom that I desire to live in a non-violent, non-gun packing society has been totally undermined in the United States.
How do we return to a US Senate that honors the will of the people and finds the courage to stand up to big money and big pressure when it is clearly not in the interest of the general public to support it? I hope we will all take a look at who we have voted for and be courageous enough to make a change next time around. We have the power as the people. We just have to realize it.