Alan Zendell, May 31, 2022
When I was a chld, my father bought me a fish tank. He taught me how to keep it clean and how the filter worked, how to feed the fish, and how to recognize when a fish was about to spawn babies. “That’s really important,” he impressed on me, “because you have to net the babies and get them out of the main tank before their parents eat them.”
Eat their own babies? I didn’t believe it until I saw it happening, and then I was horrified, my first lesson in how cruel the world could be. But as frightened and disgusted as I was at the idea of babies being eaten by their parents, that was nothing compared to my reaction to the murder of ten students and one teacher at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colotado.
That was twenty-three years ago, and the Washington Post reported that since then, more than 311,000 children have directly experienced gun violence in 331 schools in the United States. There were 42 such incidents in 2021 and 24 so far in 2022. Overall, “at least 185 children, educators and other people have been killed in assaults, and another 369 have been injured.”
They were all horrific, but the two we most recalled until last week’s shooting in Uvalde, Texas, were the Valentine’s Day, 2018 murders at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in which 17 students were killed and the Sandy Hook Elementary School murders in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012 in which tweny children between six and seven years old were killed along with six adults. After each one, there was a flurry of gun control activism, but in every case, Republicans in the Senate, threatened with losing millions in contributions from the National Rifle Association and other right wing organizations blocked every attempt at reasonable reform, even taking a step backward when they allowed a ban on sales of assault weapons to expire in 2004.
It’s happening again in the wake of the Uvalde shooting. Two days ago, we heard Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz (R, TX) address the NRA convention and rail against all attempts to require unversal background checks and re-institute the ban on assault weapons. There’s a sense of inevitably born of experience that Congress will again do nothing, yet we, the people, continue to try to pressure them.
The Sandy Hook Foundation is dedicated to the Sandy Hook Promise that the fight against gun violence will never end until it is stopped. To that end, the foundation is circulating a petition around the internet. The objective is to get as many people as possible to sign on and register their support for sensible gun policies. Of course, it’s also a solicitation for donations, because the fight for gun control is essentially a battle of who has more money to buy the votes of Republican Senators, especial Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s. I signed it and donated, as did many of my family and friends. I urge you to click on the link and do likewise.
There’s another piece circulating on the internet that puts Republican resistance to gun control in perspective, compared to those same Senators’ undying efforts to prevent women from choosing to end pregnancies. Oddly, the same lawmakers who are unwilling to protect children from being murdered in schools, and who equate such murders with a woman’s right to end a pregnancy before a fetus matures, are willing to use police state tactics to restrict women’s ability to control their own bodies, although in both cases, large majorities of American voters oppose their actions.
I haven’t been able to identify the author, but it’s so right on, I will re-publish it here with an anonymous attribution:
“How about we treat every young man who wants to buy a gun like every woman who wants to get an abortion – mandatory 48-hour waiting period, parental permission, a note from his doctor proving he understands what he’s about to do, a video he has to watch about the effects of gun violence, an ultrasound wand up the ass (just because). Let’s close down all but one gun shop in every state and make him travel huindreds of miles, take time off work, and stay overnight in a strange town to get a gun. Make him walk through a gauntlet of people holding photos of loved ones who were shot to death, people who call him a murderer and beg him not to buy a gun.
“It makes more sense to do this with young men and guns than with women and health care, right? I mean, no woman getting an abortion has killed a room full of people in seconds, right?“