By Rosemary and Walter Brasch
A white racist with strong sympathies for the Confederacy and segregation walks into a black church in Charleston, S.C., talks with a welcoming congregation for about an hour, and then murders nine of them. The response by the nation is to discuss the Confederate battle flag, and why it should be removed from society.
An undocumented citizen who was deported five times gets a stolen handgun from a federal officer and murders a 32-year-old woman, who he did not know, in San Francisco. The response is to discuss immigration laws and practices.
In Chicago over the Fourth of July weekend, seven people were murdered, and 41 injured in 34 shooting incidents. In Baltimore, two unidentified men killed three people in a residential area near the University of Maryland; a fourth gunshot victim survived. In the first half of the year, there were 154 murders in Baltimore. In Allentown and Easton, Pa., three people were murdered; police believe the suspect, now in custody, may also have attempted to kill someone in New Jersey the week before. The response by the public is to escalate the discussion about gang violence.
Racism. Immigration. Gang violence.
What's missing in the discussion--the most obvious issue, the common thread-- is the use of guns.
Hate and fear supply the ammunition; people with guns carry out the execution of peace.
President Obama, in addressing the nation shortly after the murders at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church, alluded to the issue of guns. In a subsequent interview with radio host/comedian Marc Maron, They was more specific--"The grip of the NRA on Congress is extremely strong. I don't foresee any legislative action being taken in this Congress." The president also explained why there is almost no movement on responsible gun control legislation is because manufacturers--who donate millions to the NRA--"make out like bandits, partly because of this fear that's churned up that the federal government and the black helicopters are all coming to get your guns."
Conservatives attacked the President's comments; liberals proved the president's points by their cowardly silence.
The Democratic leadership and members of Congress could have said there is a high correlation between the amount of money the NRA pays to legislators and the stranglehold on allowing responsible gun ownership laws to emerge. But they didn't.
They could have said the NRA leadership and a minority of its members, paranoid and waving conspiracy theories as if they were confederate battle flags, have their hands firmly around the testicles of the law makers. But they didn't.
They could have said that in Mr. Obama's six years as president, not once did he or the government ever say the government should confiscate guns, but wanted sensible regulation at a level even less than required to get a driver's license. But they didn't say that, either.
If the Democratic leadership and elected legislators didn't wish to attack the stranglehold of the NRA, they could just have cited facts.
They could have said that 91 percent of all Americans believe there should be at least some restrictions, including mandatory gun locks to help prevent at least 1,500 injuries to children each year. But they didn't.
They could have spoken out about the necessity for background checks for all gun sales, including private sales at gun shows. But they didn't.