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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 9/21/13

Death Every Night in Chicago Yet the Gun Lobby Prevails

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Liberals, freedom fighters, and thinking citizens everywhere have nobly battled the forces of greed, the sources of corruption since civil life began. There were heroes then. In America, patriots tossed tea into the harbor. They fought the British to end oppression. Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, and unnamed multitudes were brave and restrained in their determination to end injustice. Americans have marched, chained themselves, written songs, poems, and essays, seeking to reach the good in the worst of money grubbers and self-servers. The poor in France would not surrender to the structures in society that held them bound. Even here in the twenty-first century, we have seen youthful occupiers, joining forces to force reason upon the unreasonable.Is it not time, then, to address the increasing strangle-hold of corporate interests, in particular the gun lobby, on our American way of life?

The gun lobby, including the National Rifle Association, is recognized by many pundits as having extraordinary influence over the Congress of the United States. The founding fathers, with the enthusiasm that comes when forming a new society in the new world, may have failed to anticipate the inherent dangers in a government that has complete faith and trust in lawmakers. With the Citizens United decision, a few short years ago, the situation was made more complex.   We wonder, does the gun lobby have an interest only in handguns and hunting rifles, or does their interest extend to the munitions of war? Some may see this as a time to rethink the role of the legislators, and the processes that led to the extreme partisanship that today interferes with politician's ability to maintain order, peace, and safety. How is it possible, with the daily reports of killing and bloodshed, from children, from babies, from couples at malls and movies, that the U.S. Government is now unable to pass a ban on murderous assault weapons?

CBS News reported today, Friday, September 20, that 23 persons were shot in Chicago, with three fatalities, between Thursday evening and Friday morning. On Thursday night 13 people including a 3 year old boy were shot in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. At 6:35 PM a teenaged boy was shot in the foot. He provided little information. At 6:52PM two men were shot; one in the stomach, the other to the thigh. Both were in their twenties. At 7:15 a man was shot in the stomach. At 10:30 a 21 year old man was shot in both legs. He said an attacker ran up to him, shot him, and then ran off. These were only a few of the reported shootings.

Wayne LaPierre - Lobbyist
Wayne LaPierre - Lobbyist
(Image by DonkeyHotey)
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Wayne LaPierre - Lobbyist by DonkeyHotey

Children in Chicago are afraid to go to the store; they are afraid to play in their yards, afraid to step off the block. Consider the plight of eleven year old Maria Rivera: frightened of the guns and gangs in Chicago's gang-rich Little Village neighborhood, Maria is a prisoner in her own home, where she spends her after school time indoors with her mother. She created an artwork for her fifth grade social studies project; it shows a little girl standing before a barred second floor window, looking out at the gangbangers and drug dealers on the street below. Maria told schoolmates, "I feel like a prisoner because I usually can't go outside."

The gun lobby, a terrible corporate force now dominating large parts of the American government, will quote passages written hundreds of years ago to suggest that the people have a free and unfettered right to arm themselves as if lions and bears were prowling the streets. But now, for perhaps the first time, the gun lobby can ignore critics of their profiteering. They have politicians and a vast array of media outlets bought and paid for. Now, they need not worry about the outcry from mothers and people in desperate areas; they merely sit and wait. They own the government, and nothing will stop them.

In the past, newspapers and pamphleteers gave a voice to those who reel in corruption. Brave reporters, like superheroes, pulled back dark curtains to expose the corruption in government, and among the manipulators who prey. Famed reporters in cities and towns said "no" to the evil and greedy. Where have these superheroes gone? Now the networks and the news providers claim a loyalty to bland coverage without direction. They say they only report, never take sides. When the good won't take sides, the evil prevails.

We have reached a point where every law passed, every decree placed forth, is tied to invisible strings of money, wealth, prestige, and power. It has become a foregone conclusion. We are a striated society, and among those who will suffer are those who approach the points of extreme wealth but haven't yet achieved that lofty stratum.

Even as politicians preach the need for education, schools are closed. As they close, pledges to "educate every child" become impossible to fulfill. Instead it becomes necessary to educate the children of the affluent, while discouraging the unmotivated or un-able. With fewer schools, the educable must be moderated. Those who are young and don't know to stay in school will be, of necessity, allowed to fade. They will go back to the mean streets to learn the ABCs of crime, drugs, killing, and pain.

There are no superhero daily reporters to note the unnecessary repairs, the unneeded and expensive equipment, and the ever increasing climate of corruption. The people are helpless now; no one hears and none takes the gauntlet. We are moved by forces over which we have no control.

So let's let the gun lobby prevail. Let's pretend the founding fathers were right in their ability to see a future much like the violent present in which they lived. Children are dying. A culture of death and pain is fostered and growing daily. Yet the Congress is unable to explain why the weapons of destruction should be delivered to the streets and to the baby killers.

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John Lake, born in Chicago, has worked in radio, motion pictures, and in the theater. His early anti-invasion of Iraq speeches were carried on major networks. Today's world needs honesty, integrity, and wisdom.
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Death Every Night in Chicago Yet the Gun Lobby Prevails

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