Thursday, January 17, 2008

Quivering Before the Gun Lobby

The weak response to a question posed to the three Democratic presidential candidates present at the debate in Las Vegas, Nevada on January 15, 2008 ironically highlighted the importance of electing a Democrat as president this November. Tim Russert asked each about the national licensing and registration of handguns, which Hillary Clinton had advocated in her race for the Senate in 2000. Although Russert prefaced the question by noting "the leading cause for death among young black men is guns — death, homicide," each candidate indicated that he/she would not propose these measures.

The exchange reminded me of the murder of over 30 people on April 16, 2007 at Virginia Polytechnic Institue and State University by Seung Hui-Cho, the largest massacre by gun violence in American history. Then, reported The New York Times, several Democrats called "for measures to restrict gun sales, even as they proclaimed their support for the (largely misinterpreted, I believe) Second Amendment." But here is the statement given at the time by Saint McCain, now designated by the media as a "maverick" and the sole "adult" in the GOP race: "This brutal attack was not caused by nor should it lead to restrictions on the Second Amendment, which guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms.”

I think it generally has been recognized that not only a traumatic event could possibly move the United States government to enact meaningful, national gun control legislation. This would be a huge price to pay. Neverheless, perhaps we should remember that if we elect as president a Repub, such as the astonishingly cavalier John McCain, there may be no set of circumstances which inspire our elected officials to end the carnage.

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