Thursday, March 21, 2013

If Not Him, Who?

Astonished at the failure of the U.S. Senate to reimpose an assault weapons ban, highlighted by the decision by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to include the provision in a larger bill, Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News poses several good questions. Echoing the plea of the President following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, the columnist asks, rhetorically, "If not now for a ban for these weapons, when?"

Lupica's other good questions include

This is what an emotional President Obama said in a gym in Newtown, Conn., on a Sunday night in December, two days after 26 people — 20 of them children — were murdered in cold blood by Adam Lanza, all of the killing done by a semiautomatic rifle called the AR-15:

“We can’t tolerate this anymore. We are not doing enough and we will have to change.”
Then he looked out into the audience and into the faces of the families of the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School and said this to them, and to the country:

“I’ll use whatever power this office holds ... in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this.”

But what does the President say now to the families of the victims of Sandy Hook, and Aurora, Colo., and all the other victims of mass murders and glory killers in this country? What does he say now that it becomes clear that a ban on assault weapons won’t even be legitimately included in the gun legislation being shaped this week in the U.S. Senate?

Any fool knows that Lanza couldn’t possibly have killed as many children as quickly as he did on the morning of Dec. 14 without an assault weapon in his hands. So how does the President and any other big politician who allows the gun nuts from the National Rifle Association to win again answer the larger question about weapons that make killings like the elementary-school massacre ridiculously easy:

If not now for a ban for these weapons, when?

If Sandy Hook Elementary doesn’t make every member of Congress take a stand against assault weapons in this country, then what does? How many small coffins do we need the next time?

Oddly, it seems to have taken a sports guy not only to pose the right questions but to attempt to hold accountable the nation's Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and leader of the Free World.

There is no acceptable answer to these questions- none, that is, now that the President has decided his political capital is better spent on the push for comprehensive immigration reform.  None, that is, from the President who, following the massacre in Tucson, Arizona said nothing about the proliferation of firearms in American society or about gun safety, other than to suggest we pause before we continue the "conversation" about the latter.

And none, that is, from the President who actually did say "if not now, when?"  ... about health care and the deficit.

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