My political thought of the day:
The US Senate rejected an amendment to require background checks today. I’m sincerely sorry it didn’t pass, although not heartbroken – as I’ve studied the issue, I’ve come to believe that background checks rely on the same good guy with a gun/bad guy with a gun dichotomy I find so ridiculous when spoken by NRA spokespersons. I much prefer efforts to emphasize the responsible part of responsible gun owners, like requiring anyone with small children in their house to secure those guns.
But rather than going down that rabbit hole I want to make four quick points:
1) The Second Amendment was never in jeopardy. Really. See that word well-regulated, right there in the text itself? It’s there for a reason.
2) Fifty-four Senators voted for it, and the measure failed anyway. Next time you complain how Congress can’t get anything done, check out an opinion poll and see how often 60% of Americans (let alone our elected representatives) agree on any issue. Requiring more than a simple majority for routine bills is tantamount to obstructionism these days.
3) To my fellow progressives: don’t beat up on those four Dems who voted against this measure, unless one of them represents you. If they do, fight like hell to get them out of office if you think they were wrong here because this issue really and truly matters. But this is the glory of representational democracy: those folks are accountable to the people who elected them. “Liberal” means different things in Massachusetts than it does in Missouri, and so a Democratic Senator from the latter state might believe he was truly representing his constituents. He might even have disagreed with the measure himself. That is his, and their, prerogative.
4) To the noble opposition, those Americans who oppose background checks but are committed to fighting this problem: Now that you won on this measure, what’s your plan? As I mentioned on my blog this morning (http://www.fidesquaerens.org/blog/?p=1834), more people have died from gun-wounds since the Newtown tragedy than died on 9/11. Twice as many *kids* have died since as died that day, and that’s not counting the 177 teens. Not all of these were murders, of course, but many of them were. In one upsetting story in my own NYC, an off-duty cop shot her one-year old kid and her boyfriend before committing suicide herself – yesterday. So my question to you is, if background checks aren’t the answer, what is? Are we expected to accept all these deaths as unavoidable? Or do you have a better plan than what the Dems have proposed? (Be specific.)
That’s a longer note than I usually offer, but I can’t reduce myself to a simple boo/yay on issues like this. They’re complicated, and that sometimes requires a few words.