Saturday, February 02, 2013

The Death March

Marco Rubio is the toast of the town, or at least of the Beltway and the mainstream media.   Here is a Republican the latter can rally around- he doesn't hate Hispanics! He even has mollified some of the sharpest critics of comprehensive immigration reform.   The far-right reported Wednesday

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) went on the so-called "Big Three" conservative talk radio shows on Tuesday to sell his comprehensive immigration reform plan on the day President Barack Obama gave an immigration speech in Las Vegas, Nevada and the day after a bipartisan group of senators announced a framework for immigration reform.

Rubio went on radio shows hosted by Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and Mark Levin. His appearance on Limbaugh's and Levin's programs were important because, while Hannity has expressed support for immigration reform, Limbaugh and Levin have been critical of such efforts, with Limbaugh calling the plan "amnesty" just a day before Rubio appeared on the program. He was received favorably by the two conservative firebrands, who have in the past ginned up significant opposition against so-called comprehensive immigration reform. 

As Limbaugh noted–and to Rubio's credit–Rubio at least appeared on conservative talk radio to discuss his proposals and ideas, which is something other Republicans who supported immigration reform legislation have not done in the past. 

“Here’s a guy who doesn’t fear talk radio, he embraced it,” Limbaugh said, of Rubio.

On Limbaugh's show, Rubio noted the immigration reform framework he supports requires the nation's borders to be secured before illegal immigrants are put on a path to citizenship and said he would not support a bill that extends Obamacare to illegal immigrants who may be granted temporary legal status...

On Mark Levin's show, Rubio said he would rather do immigration reform "right" than "fast" and said conservatism–along with a "vast majority of Americans"--is for legal immigration. 

Levin said Rubio comes off as a Senator who "tries to do the right thing."

While the Florida senator, currently one of the two leading candidates for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, strives to be seen as a leader of immigration reform, otherwise he remains, well, loathsome.    Following a town-hall meeting in Jacksonville on January 15, Rubio addressed the issue of gun violence or, as Repubs call it, "gun rights."     Local radio station WOKV reported

"The issue is not gun control.  The issue is violence," Rubio told reporters after his town hall meeting.

The issue is sure to take on a life of its own in the news media over the next couple of days as President Obama hears suggestions from the Vice President's task force on stricter gun contro laws and curbing violence.  He'll also explore several options that would not require him to pass anything through Congress to enact.

Sen. Rubio says the discussion should center around what is happening in this country that is fostering a culture of violence and causing people to carry out shooting massacres like those in Aurora, Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut. 

"Ultimately, violence is violence, whether it's carried out with a bomb, a knife, or a gun.That's the problem is that we have increased violence in our society."

Rubio says he obviously wants to see something done to keep guns out of the hands dangerous people so we don’t have another Newtown or Aurora, but says he won’t support anything that undermines your second amendment rights

"If there are reasonable things that we can do that protect the second amendment right to bare arms but keep guns out of the hands of criminals, we should explore those things.  But to somehow undermine the ability of law-abiding citizens to exercise their second amendment right in exchange for things that won't work, I mean, that's not something I'll support.

Ultimately, violence is violence, whether it's carried out with a bomb, a knife, or a gun. That's the problem is that we have increased violence in our society.  On the same day in which a man with two semi-automatic weapons killed twenty-seven of twenty-eight people he shot in an elementary school in Newton, Connecticut, a man with a knife attacked students a school in central China, leaving 22 children and one adult injured, according to state-run media reports.

The attack occurred at the gate of an elementary school in the village of Chengping, in Henan Province. Police arrested the attacker, who they identified as local resident Min Yingjun, 36.

Children as young as six were among those hospitalized after the attack, suffering injuries including slashes to the ears and head.

An official at Guangshan Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital, the local facility, told CBS News at least two students had been transferred to the larger city of Wuhan, not far from Chengping, for treatment. The editor of the local newspaper which first reported the story said none of the children had injuries severe enough to threaten their lives.

The attack marks the latest in a series of violent assaults at elementary schools in China. In 2010, a total of 18 children were killed in four separate attacks. On March 23 of that year, Zheng Minsheng attacked children at an elementary school in Fujian Province, killing eight.

In the United States of America, twenty-eight (28) persons were attacked and twenty-seven (27) killed.  In Chengping, China twenty-three (23) persons were attacked by knife and none (0) was killed. And that, apparently, is because"violence is violence, whether it's carried out with a bomb, a knife, or a gun."

Gun violence is an American malady, a distinctively American problem, which toll is now 1501 since the atrocity at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  A comparison of per capita gun deaths per 100,000 people in 22 "economically successful nations" finds that the rate ranges from .007 in Japan to 4.78 in Canada.... except in the U.S.A., in which there are 10.2 fatalities from firearms per 100,000 people.

The problem is that we have increased violence in our society.  Uh, no.  On October, 29 CNN inconveniently pointed out

Violent crime in the United States fell for the fifth consecutive year in 2011 with murder, rape and robbery all going down, although crime remains a serious problem in many urban areas, the FBI said on Monday.

The report of all crimes reported to police nationwide showed slightly more than 1.2 million violent incidents nationwide, while property crimes hit a nine-year low.

Compared with 2010, the new figures show violent crime down 3.8 percent overall. Property crime was down 0.5 percent.

Among violent incidents reported to police, murders were down about 0.7 percent, robberies dropped 4 percent, aggravated assaults declined 3.9 percent, and forcible rapes were down 2.5 percent.

But to somehow undermine the ability of law-abiding citizens to exercise their second amendment right in exchange for things that won't work, I mean, that's not something I'll support.  On Wednesday, Gabby Giffords' husband, Mark Kelly, recommended to the Senate Judiciary Committee

some ideas on how we can take responsibility. First, fixed on background checks. The holes and our laws make a mockery of the background check system. Congress should close the private sales loophole, and the dangers people entered into that system. Second, remove the limitations on collecting data and conducting scientific research on gun violence. Enact -- enact a tough federal gun trafficking statute, this is really important . And finally, let’s have a careful and civil conversation about the lethality of fire arms we permit to be legally bought and sold in this country.

Evidently, Senator Rubio believes there is something in proposals such as these which violates the right of the people to keep and bear arms as part of a well-regulated militia that's necessary to the security of a free state.   However, even Justice Scalia in District of Columbia vs. Heller suggested that only a prohibition of weapons in 'common use' at the time the Constitution was written runs afoul of the Second Amendment.

Wrapping oneself in the Second Amendment- or, rather, in what conservatives imagine it to be- continues as victims line the killing fields of the nation.  Senator Rubio and other Republicans are frightened that the Hispanic vote eventually will relegate them to minority-party status if they don't appear enlightened.   But no matter how much they wring their hands over immigration policy and proclaim their love for Mexicans, they they still march to the drumbeat of America's most powerful pro-crime lobby, the National Rifle Association.

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