(Although one of the Boston suspects was killed shortly after this blog was posted, the argument of this posting still stands.)
It's bad enough that the NRA has once again stopped a reasonable measure that could help protect us from being killed by guns in the hands of the wrong people. Yesterday they stopped even a mild measure in the Senate that would have expanded background checks to cover gun shows and some private sales. In the absence of such a measure, about half of all gun sales are now exempt from background checks. About 90% of Americans support the expanded background checks.
A majority of U.S. Senators voted for it yesterday. But under threats from the NRA, four Democratic senators voted against the measure, and 90% of the Republican senators also voted against it. It thus fell short of the 60 votes required for passage in this day of the filibuster and the control of the country by a minority.
As I said, this was bad enough. But things are even worse. Because of the NRA and its control in Washington, the law enforcement agencies trying to track down the Boston Marathon bomber will have a harder time. About thirty years ago law enforcement wanted to add a certain substance to the explosive powder used in bombs and in gunpowder. This substance allows the residue of an explosion to be traced and could thus help law enforcement track perpetrators of explosions.
But the NRA stepped in and lobbied against the use of this substance. And the NRA won. So did the perpetrators of crimes of violence using bombs as in Boston.
The rest of us lost.
We, the potential victims, are always losing. So are the little children we are supposed to protect. What kind of a people are we who can't even protect the little children? Why did little eight-year-old Mark have to die just because he was watching the finish of the Boston Marathon? And the twenty little first- graders in Newton?
Why aren't we angry? What aren't we organized and militant like the NRA? The NRA never sleeps. It is ever vigilant about imagined "threats to Second Amendment rights". By contrast we are sorrowful after one of these awful tragedies has occurred, but then we go back to sleep. When are we really going to wake up and move past sorrow to anger and stay there?
We too have rights. First and foremost are the rights to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". The right to be alive trumps any Second Amendment right, especially when no real Second Amendment right is being threatened. The NRA is always screaming that some gun safety measure may actually lead to the government taking guns away. It's flat out paranoia, all about the government coming to get them in black helicopters. I've been hearing about those black helicopters since the early 1970s. So where the hell are they?
Instead of black helicopters we get the black of funerals for gunshot victims, funerals for even little children.
It's heartbreaking. But it's also outrageous. And we should be very, very angry. We should be angry at ourselves that we don't get organized and do something to counteract the NRA.
Until then, the little children will die and we will be the ones to blame.