Last month I posted a piece here titled "Their Sandy". It ended with the line, "There but for the grace of G-d go I." I had incorrectly attributed it to the Bible, but the sentiment is one we should all carry. It should be the cornerstone of our policies, not as religious doctrine, mind you, but as we fulfill our charge to "form a more perfect union." The original post can be read here:
The idea is a simple one, really. The fact is that s@%t happens. It could just as easily happen to you as to the person it actually happened to. Hence, there but for the grace of God go I. Let's look at some examples of how this might play out, shall we? Take Newtown, many on the right point out that the weapons used were purchased legally, and nothing could have prevented this tragedy. Under the Assault Weapons Ban in place from 1994-2004, both the primary weapon, the Bushmaster, and the 30 round magazines were illegal. Those on the right will point out that Columbine occurred during the ban, and Virginia Tech was done with handguns, and how long does it take to change a magazine anyway?
Colin Ferguson, the Long Island Rail Road gunman, and Jared Loughner in Tucson were both stopped as they were attempting to reload their guns. There is a report that 11 students escaped a classroom while David Lanza reloaded, and that his Bushmaster jammed after several reloads and the only life lost after that was his. Imagine that despite every step we could possibly take, David Lanza would have wreaked havoc on Sandy Hook Elementary School, and due to the increased burdens we put on gun purchases the death toll was only 25 instead of 26.
Ask yourself, do I want to be the parent of one of the 25 or do I want to be the parent whose child survived? It is just that simple. If you are sitting there thinking that you would have been there with your own assault rifle putting a stop to the SOB, I call Bullpucky. It is not statistically correct to say that it doesn't happen, it is factually correct. There have been zero cases of a good guy with an assault weapon stopping a whack job with one. If it had happened we would know about it, but it hasn't. Ever. While I'm on the subject, more than 1 life would have been saved.
Several large banks just reached a settlement about 4.4 million homes that they illegally foreclosed on. A Republican elected official said that some people think we should regulate the banks, but I think our job is to help the banks (I'm probably paraphrasing). The banks received the equivalent of a slap on the wrist for their malfeasance. Do you think of the victims as "Losers?" Do you sit comfortably in your home with the knowledge that it did not happen to you?
Yesterday, a large swath of the Midwest was leveled by Tornadoes. Last year, it was Joplin, Missouri. We rebuild it. We do it because we can. We do it because it would have cost the residents of Joplin too much money, but the $200 million dollar pricetag spread over 300 million American taxpayers comes out to 66 cents apiece.
Last month, my flight home was delayed due to the sequester. A few days later, the head of the FAA was hauled before Congress to answer for these delays. He said that he had previously testified that major hubs would be affected which would create delays across he country. One Congressman said that he hadn't been specific "Lah-di-dah": Translation: You never said MY flight would be delayed.
Congress is upset when the effects of the sequester harm their donors- Not their constituents, mind you, but their donors. We are all watching the Congressional outrage when they talk about how government agencies need to prioritize and they have differing priorities. Benghazi is a perfect example. We did not spend enough on security in Libya, but we cut the State Department's security budget.
So, when someone's school is leveled by a natural disaster, when their home is illegally foreclosed on, when they get kicked off health insurance (ended by Obamacare), when they lose their job and are forced to flip burgers at McDonald's, when you want to cut unemployment benefits, put yourself in their shoes.
There but for the grace of God go I (or you).