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This past few weeks has brought us gun tragedies beyond what we could have dreamed possible. Gun owners, previously law abiding, killed. The present system is largely at fault.

Unfortunately, we share blame for this.

During the 80s and 90s, gun control was an issue of political combat. The right and left went back and forth. Us arguing that guns only lead to violence, they sticking their fingers in their ears and going LALALALA. We fought for the men and women and children that they and their NRA puppetmasters murdered. They fought for profits and their precious "rights", rights that caused the massacre we had today.

And then the late 90s happened. And a sort of detente settled over the land. We stopped pushing for more restrictions. We didn't even raise a fuss when in 2003 the assault weapons ban expired. We had "bigger things to worry about". Now we see the foolishness of our ways. We chose the easy road, one of not bringing up the elephant in the room, rather than confronting it for the good of our children and our grandchildren. We were weak. I don't like to admit I was wrong, but exchanging the lives of our countrymen and women for political expediency was one of the worst compromises we could have made.

We didn't push for anything when we had congress. It would have been a battle, but a battle we could have won. We could have banned assault weapons. We could have launched a national registry. We could have made the costs of owning a gun so onerous that the gunnies would have thrown their hands up and said "screw it". We could have banned gun shows and pulled the licenses of every gun dealer in America. We could have ended gun ownership in a generation.

We didn't. We were too busy to think of the men and women and children we helped kill. We let the NRA cabal dictate the terms of our engagement on the issue. Our cowardice, our inability to put the lives of our children ahead of our own petty convenience, helped the NRA murder those children today.

I blame President Clinton and Obama. I blame Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. But more than that, I blame myself. I never pushed it as an issue. I never demanded accountability for NRA murders when I spoke and wrote to my representatives. I never started a petition to drive the NRA manmen from the capital. I never spoke with my money. I am most at fault for this.

We must rectify this. President Obama must do whatever is in his (substantial) power to destroy the NRA and guns in America. He must do whatever it takes to get guns out of the hands of those who use them. He must toss aside political expediency and take on the most powerful criminal cartel in human history head on.

We have to back him up. We must make up for our past mistakes. We must look at those murdered children every day, and ask ourselves what we can do, today, to prevent that. That means writing, that means calling. That means talking to our friends. That means publicly shaming gun owners and gun stores. We must be on the front lines, so the president knows we have his back. So he knows that we are in this for the long haul. So he knows that we will fight with him, every day, to destroy gun ownership in America.

Will you step up with me and the President?

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Comment Preferences

  •  It was never a big issue for me either (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis

    And honestly, I am torn about some of the issues (although I am not torn about the fact that there is absolutely no reason that anyone needs an assault weapon). I never voted based on politicians' positions on gun control or pushed for gun control legislation, but maybe I should have.

    When I worked at a union, we spent a lot of time trying to convince members that the Democrats we supported would not take away their guns. And it made sense, politically...if we were willing to cede that issue we could get some members elected who would represent workers, or at least, represent them better than the other guys would. And I can't say I am completely ashamed of it, because the strategy worked to help Bob Casey defeat Rick Santorum and it helped Jim Webb defeat George Allen, and the list goes on.

    But you make a very good point that by agreeing to give up gun control to win elections, we are to blame too.

    We need to figure out a way to promote reasonable gun control restrictions without alienating the voters in rural districts and states whom we need to get a majority. Common sense says that you can ban semi-automatic assault weapons without impeding on peoples' hunting rights, but the level of paranoia is just insane. There needs to be a strong counterpart to the NRA that can run ads and targeted communication to gun owners encouraging them to support reasonable restrictions that don't infringe on or threaten their right to hunt.

    •  If we had a militia system like the Swiss do (0+ / 0-)

      then I'd be all for treating assault weapons accordingly; you maintain your personal weapon in your home and when you get out you can get it modified to remove the fully-automatic feature and keep it forever.  Most seem to be adults about the arrangement.

      But we don't have that system.  We have a bunch of civilians running around with weapons they're not even remotely qualified to use and justifying it with ridiculous vigilante fantasies.  And they're buying the kind of stuff that even the military won't give its people without a great deal of training and trust.

      Somehow, despite having a military assault rifle in just about every home, the Swiss don't do the kind of shit we do.  Why are we so immature about these things?

      "If Mitt takes office, sooner or later, the Zomnies will come for all of us." -Joss Whedon

      by quillsinister on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 12:03:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ok, "destroying guns" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis

    is hopelessly naive. But, I agree with your main point; there is more than enough blame to go around. Before we destroy guns we'll need to destroy the perceived need to have them and the inherent elements of human nature that lead so many to the point that they feel that need. That's a pretty steep climb.

    But.

     I'll raise this question here; how many hours of first person shooting "games" does it take to turn a child into a monster? Is there a correlation to violence as play and violence as solution? How many folks reading this have voted with their wallets FOR violence......

    in your movie ticket purchases, video games, books, television tuning-in or out?

    Just getting a handle on the knobs and dials.... Hey, don't touch that!

    by Old Lefty on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 10:21:45 PM PST

    •  I used to play Nintendo duck hunt as a kid (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Old Lefty, blueoasis

      And it never made me want to shoot people (or ducks, for that matter) in real life.

      Some of the video games out there today really do seem to encourage violence though. I don't think I support banning them but when I have kids someday I don't want them playing those games.

      •  My dad taught me to shoot when I was 5 (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueoasis, democrattotheend

        and gave me a 22 at 7. We shot real ducks and I've never shot anybody either. Banning guns or games will do nothing per se. I believe it is about building a society in which violence is not seen as amusement. Banning football would be a good start, but that's even less likely than destroying guns. We are indeed monkeys at heart and in every atom of our DNA. Starting with that understanding would be good, and then moving forward to become truly 'humane' beings would be even better.

        No one act, action or activity will fix this, but even small steps are better than none, and recognizing the root of the problem is the best place to start. Others have pointed the way;

        Aum shanti aum

        Just getting a handle on the knobs and dials.... Hey, don't touch that!

        by Old Lefty on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 10:46:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I don't think (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Old Lefty

      that first person shooting games are a significant factor, maybe not a factor at all.  I really don't.  On the off chance that a few mentally unstable people might be influenced enough by things like those and violent movies and so on to be pushed over the edge, I don't think I would argue much if people started advocating for pushing back the line of acceptable violence in entertainment.  But I wouldn't expect it to make a difference.

      I know too many gamers.  By some definitions I am one myself, though I don't find the usual-suspect game types appealing.  I do play games that involve player-on-player violence though -- as cartoonish as the graphics are, it's still trying to "kill" the other guy.  But in terms of motivation or reward, it's essentially just a game of tennis or chess with a thin layer of "high stakes" pasted on top.  It's just competition.  And the people I know who play the stuff I don't like are normal people, too.

      I think the problem with our culture is different and deeper from that.  While the glorification of guns found in some popular entertainment surely doesn't help things any, the root of it is how people relate to other people and to guns on a person-to-person level.  Guns  are discussed overwhelmingly as indispensable to personal safety.  Feel unsafe (rationally or not)?  Buy a gun.  Someone threatening you (seriously or not)?  Buy a gun.  They solve everything.  You NEED one (or five).  And don't let anyone question that either, because then they might be taken away, and guns are freedom.  Better buy some more, just in case.  Bigger clips and more ammo.  Ugh, I'm rambling.

      But the upshot of all of this is that both guns themselves and their level of importance to many (most?) Americans have been steadily increasing.  More and more people have them, more and more people have deadlier ones, more and more people have more of them.  Now when some random shithead wants to beat up his girlfriend, he's likelier to have a gun at hand.  Maybe even her gun.  When someone wants to grab some cash from the local convenience store to feed their drug addiction, well, their parents have a gun they can liberate for the cause.  When an evil bastard wants to shoot up an elementary school, the means are close at hand.  And when the drug gang needs more guns -- well, try a break-in at any given house in the suburbs.  They probably have five.

      Guns in rural areas were always common, mostly for hunting, to some extent for personal protection in places where police presence is distant.  Mobs in the cities would have them.  In small towns and in suburbs, though?  Not in my recollection.  And certainly not with anything like the kind of firepower that is commonplace now.

      I want fewer guns around.

      •  Well said (0+ / 0-)

        As not a gamer, I gotta say it freaks me out to see the ads with the raging cartoon violence. I can't gainsay your point though. Most of the gamers I know are not violent people, but it seems to me that a steady diet of that kind of stuff, especially for very young boys, cannot be beneficial over time.

        I live in a very rural place, with bears, mountain lions and as my cat found out two days ago, skunks, literally right outside the door. None of those bother me at all, and I've been deep in the woods alone and unarmed and face to face with each of these critters many times. None of them make me nearly as nervous as do some of my goofy, usually drunk and highly armed neighbors because the animals' motives and reactions are predictable and rational, as opposed to the peoples'.

        "Fear is the mind killer" as has been pointed out by others, and I think that fear, as a marketing tool, is the true enemy here. We are constantly bombarded with fearful messages of doomsday, terrorism, mass murder and hatred. Violence is marketed like a commodity and it makes me, and our society as a whole I think, sick. Limiting guns may be helpful, but I think a rejection of fear, fear mongering and mongerers would be equally if not more helpful.

        Thank you for your well stated and well reasoned response.

        Just getting a handle on the knobs and dials.... Hey, don't touch that!

        by Old Lefty on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 12:06:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  sporks - we stopped fighting because we (4+ / 0-)

    were getting our clock cleaned at the ballot box. Our passion for gun control on a national basis was making our candidates in the South, Southwest, and Rocky Mountain West uncompetitive. The Dem leadership realized that gun control was much better left to local and state governments who could tailor their laws to their local communities. The gun control laws for New York City don't need to be the same as Buffalo, Wyoming. All of a sudden the single issue voters who had been shunning our candidates realized that we had much in common and we started to be competitive in those regions where gun ownership is a way of life and citizens will vote based on this single issue.  

    If you want to push for national gun control, go for it. Just do it through non-partisan groups like the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Don't make this a partisan issue for the Democratic Party. I have already seen that movie, and I didn't like the ending.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 10:25:35 PM PST

  •  Obama is not going to kick us through the goal (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Old Lefty

    posts on this one.  We don't get to 'have his back'.  It's our problem.  There are action diaries on the rec. list.

    Hey, GOP - Get In, Sit Down, Shut up, & Hang On!

    by 88kathy on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 10:44:22 PM PST

  •  There's a problem (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    democrattotheend

    If you think the first black president can just try and call for real gun control in this country then you do not understand the South. There would literally be blood in the streets.

    I think the most effective path to take is at the lower levels. All of the real change we have seen in the past 15 years has all started out at the local level, and then grew as it caught on. Lobbyists poor tons of money into Congress and the White House, but it's a far different story if they would have to spend money in all fifty states as well.

    Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

    by moviemeister76 on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 10:54:24 PM PST

    •  I was thinking that too (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      moviemeister76

      But I didn't want to say it.

      But maybe this will give him an opening to push for renewal of the assault weapons ban, or at least a bill that would close the gun show and online loopholes. But even if he did, it probably wouldn't pass, and even if it passed, it very well might get overturned.

      I think you are right that our best hope is at the state and local level. The problem is, no matter what you do there are too many guns out there, and I am skeptical that those who want to use them for illegal purposes wouldn't be able to get them on the black market anyway. More restrictions might help because not all gun crimes are premeditated, but I think gun control is only part of the solution.

      •  Definitely agree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        democrattotheend

        There has to be a cultural change as well. One of the big factors that makes it difficult to compare the US's chances of ending gun violence compared to what Australia and Japan did is that the US is a massive country with millions of guns. Plus, most of the gun manufacturers are here. It's much easier for countries like Japan (which never really had a gun culture to begin with) and Australia to get most of the guns from the people and keep a lot of guns from coming in because they are islands which had to ship guns in. It's a whole different ball game when you are making guns by the buttload in your own country.

        Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

        by moviemeister76 on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 07:40:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Speak for yourself, but not for me. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis

    I am not in any way to blame for the gun problem in America. I have spoken out against guns for nearly fifty years. I have made myself very unpopular with the gun nuts who live around me in this part of Texas. I hate guns. Guns are instruments of evil. They are made for killing and they never should be in the hands of civilians. They should only be used for stopping those who use guns to kill or threaten ordinary human beings.

    Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

    by hestal on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 11:03:21 PM PST

  •  NRA is a lobby for criminals (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, condorcet, FloraLine

    http://www.salon.com/...

    This is the best argument we have against them. The NRA supports gun smuggling for cartels and criminal gangs. That's what's making the money for the gun manufactures. The NRA is against reasonable regulation, because they're money comes from the mob, cartels, and terrorists.  The real big buyer of guns.

    The NRA is funneling money from cartels to politicians.

    I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.

    by Futuristic Dreamer on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 11:51:20 PM PST

  •  I do not assume unearned guilt. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wordsinthewind

    Passing the plate full of guilt to everyone and insisting they eat some is one of the things Liberals do that Folks hate.

    You want to feel guilty? Knock yourself out with it - I will save France.

    I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

    by CherryTheTart on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 03:59:16 AM PST

  •  Bull. (0+ / 0-)

    Not one iota of guilt or blame.  

    When extra-terrestrial beings make their first appearance on our planet, and ask for representatives of our species to best exemplify humanity, I'm sending a nurse, a librarian, and a firefighter.

    by Wayward Son on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 04:33:47 AM PST

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