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Entries in Sandyhook (2)


Apathy is a warm gun

If it was true about Congress's failure to avoid sequester budget cuts, it's especially true about the U.S. Senate's epic miss on the background check amendment to the gun control bill last week.

Again, voters got the septic end of the stick. And who got to hold the clean end? That small, select group of campaign finance contributors--whose 'generosity' wields far greater force than 86% of Americans who support background checks.

What's more stunning than that injustice? Voters (you and I and everyone else we know) have no one to blame but themselves.

How could that be?

By and large, voters are not working together to draft candidates to run for public office. So, when a candidate for particular office emerges, he or she needs to reach the broadest audience of voters to win an election. That calls for mass communications--which requires immense financing. This is where the small, elite campaign finance community has emerged. Someone has to pay for those television and radio ads.

Most people have yet to acknowledge that between voters and wealthy campaign contributors lies a crucial fault line. The Senate's botching the background check amendment illustrates this influence gap. Very few elected officials are willing to talk about this--it would risk burning their own meal ticket.

Voters have surrendered their perogative as the majority interest in this nation; one that should be setting the terms over how much money a candidate can accept as a campaign contribution--that the amount should not wield a corrupting influence.

It goes without saying that very few voters would willingly elect a pederast or convicted felon to public office. The scruple is clearly defined. And though there is a general consensus about how much the current campaign finance system corrupts public policy, acknowledging this agreement is not enough.

It takes but a small, meaningful commitment by a pluralilty of voters to convey to all candidates for public office, challengers and incumbents alike: you're not a candidate worth our consideration if you accept any amount greater than $250 per campaign contribution.

If, ever, that day arrives, you'll observe a people taking responsibility for the republic and its destiny by which they live.


Nevermind what the NRA has to say about public safety or gun violence

Any sane person would have difficulty taking seriously what the National Rifle Association has to say about public safety and gun owner responsibility. Two months after the massacre of six school teachers and 20 children in Newtown, Conn., all the firearms trade group can offer are 'solutions' that ultimately fatten the bottom line for the companies they represent.

Consider the windfall of increased sales the industry enjoys each time one of our communities suffers yet another slaughter of innocent citizens. The spike in sales owes to the paranoia (no doubt flamed by right-wing talk radio) of ignorant people convinced that the government is just days away from outlawing guns.

Fat chance, as the NRA has bought off almost half the members of Congress. Also, its massive spending on issue ads and millions in independent expenditures for or against specific candidates, makes opposing the gun lobby a Sisyphean task. The scope and depth of NRA's influence over elections is unquestioned--a force that it wields in Congress in the name of 'individual freedom'. The freedom as an individual to avoid being shot, be damned.

The time is long past that we begin to acknowledge the vicious cycle of violence that benefits the NRA's business model. More guns in the hands of more people increases the frequency of bloodshed, whether or not the shooters possessed the firearms legally. A comparative look at gun fatalities between the U.S. and other industrialized nations, illustrates the peril of easy access to firearms.

It's a sweet spot the firearms industry occupies: given relaxed gun laws in a nation saturated with its product, such conditions improve the chances that someone mentally unfit (Newtown, Conn.; Aurora, Colo.; Oakpark, Wisc.; Tucson, Ariz.; Virginia Tech) will get his hands on a rifle or pistol. A meaningful segment of the population already worked up by talk radio, will do the NRA's bidding and move gun manufactuers further into the black--after victims of firearms violence have hemorrhaged red.

Perhaps it will take additional Sandyhook massacres before national consensus begins to recognize a callous, blood-shedding industry in operation. How many more lives must be snatched before voters see blood money in the hands of candidates for public office taking campaign dollars from the NRA?