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How ALEC Thwarts Honest Debate About Gun Violence

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Cross-posted from The Nation

The first response of any country to violence of the sort seen in Connecticut must be one of horror.

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And sorrow.

President Obama showed that sorrow when he wiped his tears, like those so many Americans shed Friday.

But there is nothing more absurd than the suggestion that it is wrong to raise political concerns at a moment such as this.

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It is in a moment such as this that responsible nations examine themselves, their cultures, their laws.

Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich is right when he says, "There is an undercurrent of violence in our society that is becoming more powerful." He is right, as well, when he says, "We must reject violence and take an organized approach to averting violence."

This is about more than guns. It is about healthcare, particularly mental health care. It is about media.

And it is about the quality of our discourse -- what we allow ourselves to discuss, and how we discuss it.

California Congressman George Miller says: "We must come together as a nation to honestly discuss how to prevent people intent on carrying out these savage attacks from so easily obtaining guns and ammunition. The nation is ready for this conversation. More importantly, though, the safety of children and all Americans demands we have it."

So why don't we have that discussion?

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It is easy to blame the National Rifle Association.

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John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

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