From today's New York Times:
Each slaughter of innocents seems to get more appalling. A high school. A college campus. A movie theater. People meeting their congresswoman. A shopping mall in Oregon, just this Tuesday. On Friday, an elementary school classroom.I have little to add to the above because there really is nothing there that can be disputed, nothing there that hasn't been known for years. Over and over the same kind of incident has taken place, and over and other in response we've heard the same empty verbiage from the NRA and its allies, the same tired list of reasons why we shouldn't actually ever do anything effective that might have a chance of preventing these atrocities from happening, atrocities that would set us on a swift path to war if they were perpetrated by a foreign country, but which we're seemingly willing to aid and abet at home. Enough is enough; it's time to draw the line. We don't need "a conversation" about gun control; we need gun control, the stricter the better, the sooner the better. And if you don't agree, don't waste your stale breath on me; try to square your consciences with the families of the victims.
People will want to know about the killer in Newtown, Conn. His background and his supposed motives. Did he show signs of violence? But what actually matters are the children. What are their names? What did they dream of becoming? Did they enjoy finger painting? Or tee ball?
All that is now torn away. There is no crime greater than violence against children, no sorrow greater than that of a parent who has lost a child, especially in this horrible way. Our hearts are broken for those parents who found out their children — little more than babies, really — were wounded or killed, and for those who agonized for hours before taking their traumatized children home.
President Obama said he had talked to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy of Connecticut and promised him the full resources of the federal government to investigate the killer and give succor to his victims. We have no doubt Mr. Obama will help in any way he can, for now, but what about addressing the problem of guns gone completely out of control, a problem that comes up each time a shooter opens fire on a roomful of people but then disappears again?
The assault weapons ban enacted under President Clinton was deficient and has expired. Mr. Obama talked about the need for "common sense" gun control after the movie theater slaughter in Aurora, Colo., and he hinted during the campaign that he might support a new assault weapons ban, presumably if someone else introduced it.
Republicans will never do that, because they are mired in an ideology that opposes any gun control. After each tragedy, including this one, some people litter the Internet with grotesque suggestions that it would be better if everyone (kindergarten teachers?) were armed. Far too many Democrats also live in fear of the gun lobby and will not support an assault weapons ban, or a ban on high-capacity bullet clips, or any one of a half-dozen other sensible ideas.
Mr. Obama said Friday that “we have been through this too many times” and that “we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.”
When will that day come? It did not come after the 1999 Columbine shooting, or the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, or the murders in Aurora last summer.
The more that we hear about gun control and nothing happens, the less we can believe it will ever come. Certainly, it will not unless Mr. Obama and Congressional leaders show the courage to make it happen.
For more information:
The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence
New Yorkers Against Gun Violence
Violence Policy Center
Charles Blow: "A Tragedy of Silence"
Larry Alan Burns: "A conservative case for an assault weapons ban"
Gail Collins: "Looking for America"
Adam Gopnik: "Newtown and the Madness of Guns"
Bob Herbert: "War at Home" (link now broken)
Nicholas Kristof: "Do We Have the Courage to Stop This?"
Journal News: "Editorial: Americans can change gun culture"