Friday, October 02, 2015

The Storm Before The Calm

Responding to yet another mass murder, this time in rural Oregon, right-wing author, commentator and blogger Michelle Malkin tweeted "There needs to be a mandatory waiting period imposed on anti-gun extremists commentating on breaking news crime incidents."

At first thought, it seems reasonable to allow a brief period of grieving for close friends and relatives of the victims.   However, it is clear that the motive of the pro-gun set is to suppress any and all talk of gun control legislation at any time.  National Public Radio in July reported

In the immediate aftermath of the massacre in Charleston, South Carolina, the US House of Representatives Appropriations Committee quietly rejected an amendment that would have allowed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study the underlying causes of gun violence.

Though gun violence and gun control has again come to the forefront of the American conversation, prohibition on gun research goes back decades.

Dr. Fred Rivara, a professor of Pediatrics and Epidemiology at the University of Washington at Seattle Children’s Hospital, has been involved with injury research for 30 years. He was part of a team that researched gun violence back in the 1990s and personally saw the chilling effects of the NRA’s lobbying arm. Rivara says that the NRA accused the CDC of trying to use science to promote gun control.

“As a result of that, many, many people stopped doing gun research, [and] the number of publications on firearm violence decreased dramatically,” he told The Takeaway in April. “It was really chilling in terms of our ability to conduct research on this very important problem"...

“The original concern from the National Rifle Association back in 1996, which Dr. Rivara mentioned, made that very implication,” says Zwillich. “The NRA complained to Congress that the CDC was using the results of its research to essentially advocate for gun control. They called it propaganda. And back at that time, Congress slashed the CDC’s funding by the exact amount that was used for gun-related public health research.”

With the chilling effect on research into the relationship between firearms and public health, there is little discussion on gun carnage between mass shootings, albeit a period of increasingly brief duration.  Thus in his powerful statement to the nation last night, President Obama noted

We spent over a $1 trillion and passed countless laws and devote entire agencies to preventing terrorist attacks on our soil, and rightfully so. And yet, we have a Congress that explicitly blocks us from even collecting data on how we could potentially reduce gun deaths. How can that be?

No legislation was passed even after the murder of eleven people in Charleston, South Carolina. And it's not as if nothing was done- the Battle Flag of Treason was taken down from the capitol in Charleston. Meanwhile, there was inaction on the state and national levels (map below via Vox)..

So here is a suggestion for compromise:  gun-control supporters refrain from their advocacy following the next, inevitable, incident of innocent people being wiped out by a fanatic with a firearm. In return, the Speaker of the House must allow to come to the floor whatever anti-gun murder bill is proposed by the Democratic minority.

Republicans might go for something like that, given that it could be easily circumvented.  A deal could be made, after which Carly Fiorina could be enlisted by her Party to deny any agreement was ever made and to swear there is a video somewhere to prove it.

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