Toward the end of last week and the beginning of this week America was saddened once again when two of the most horrific mass killings in our history wrote yet another chapter.
As New Zealand was dealing very forcefully with with guns and doing what they can to stop another incident like what happened a couple of weeks ago. That is a response that the vast majority of sane citizens should expect from their government – that is if the government is “Of the people, by the people, and for the people.”
Meanwhile here in America what little we do is to make it easier for more people to get more guns. Iowa is once again trying to get on the train to get guns into everybody’s hands with the Republicans amendment to the state constitution. It is modeled after one clause of the second amendment of the constitution. Like most gun laws these days there is some mention of the right to own a gun, but nothing about a well regulated militia. There was once a time when being part of the militia was necessary to own a gun.
Last week we heard of the deaths by suicide of two students who survived the mass shooting just a little over a year ago. From NPR:
It’s impossible to say exactly what led these two young people to take their lives. Aiello was close friends with Meadow Pollack, one of the students killed in the attack.
Her parents say she struggled with “survivor’s guilt.” Shortly after her graduation, she shared a post about suicide prevention on her Facebook page with a hashtag, “asking for help is not a weakness.”
Les Gordon, a family therapist who counsels students and former students of the high school, says survivor’s guilt is a problem for many of his clients. “They wonder why they’re alive and their friend is not,” he says. “I’ve had kids just tell me that they should have been able to do something to stop the shooting.”
The effects of gun deaths don’t end when the victims die. Effects carry on and on and on. Every body who was involved in the deceased’s life replays the event in their head even for decades wondering what they could have done. Of course parents and siblings can never get it out of their minds. Relatives and friends will be similar.
That is for those who died. Seldom does every victim die, however. Whether a mass shooting or a single shooting, guns are meant to kill or at least inflict a lot of damage. We only get one life. Imagine that you are confined to a wheel chair paralyzed from the neck down when some perpetrator goes crazy and starts shooting. Do you remember Miya Rodolfo-Sioson who was shot at the U of Iowa when a graduate student went on a rampage late on a Friday afternoon back in November 1991?
Rodolfo-Sioson was paralyzed below the neck and spent her last 17 years in a wheel chair. As bad as that is by itself, in this society the victim often must pay for their care by themselves. Hard to do when you can’t work.
Republicans are doing all they can to end any government (meaning by extension WE collectively as a society) involvement in health care. What then happens to victims who need extensive and expensive care? Mother Jones did a great article on this nearly 4 years ago. This is a subject that is seldom covered in our press these days. It should be covered with every shooting. How much will we be paying as a society so the NRA can sell its fear and its guns?
The in depth article that Mother Jones did is still so relevant and still among the best pieces on the subject.
Gun violence is on my mind constantly. Our politicians gutlessly stand up and spew false platitudes about “gun rights” eager to get some of that NRA money in their election coffers. Often they are even more eager to get the NRA running campaign ads for them.
Strangely the same politicians who spew NRA talking points are stonewall silent when it comes to an ordinary citizen to live a life free from the terror of guns. The Preamble to the Constitution enshrines “domestic tranquility” and the “Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” Shooting each other at the rate of 140,000 + victims a year (40,000 deaths and 100,000 injured) is not “domestic tranquility.”
Those two clauses in the Preamble taken with the seemingly disappeared “militia” clause of the second amendment, one could reasonably conclude that our founders did not want us shooting each other.
We need a political class that has the guts to stand up to the NRA. But the NRA is awash in money (from Russia?) and people who vote and they deploy both when when elections come around. Thanks to Mother Jones once again we have some evidence that looks like the NRA conspires illegally in campaigns – especially for Republicans.
“The National Rifle Association appears to have illegally coordinated its political advertising with Republican candidates in at least three recent high-profile US Senate races, according to Federal Communications Commission records. In Senate races in Missouri and Montana in 2018 and North Carolina in 2016, the gun group’s advertising blitzes on behalf of GOP candidates Josh Hawley, Matt Rosendale, and Richard Burr were authorized by the very same media consultant that the candidates themselves used—an apparent violation of laws designed to prevent independent groups from synchronizing their efforts with political campaigns.
In December, the Trace and Mother Jones reported on a similar pattern of coordination between the NRA and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. In that case, Trump and the NRA hired affiliates of the same company—National Media Research, Planning and Placement—to direct their ad spending. Employees of that firm, operating under different corporate identities, placed ads for both Trump and the NRA on television stations across the country, with the apparent goal of reinforcing each other’s message.”
As you riff through this article remember that in 2014, the NRA backed our own Joni Ernst to the hilt. She has been working hard to pay them back much to Iowa’s detriment.
“Iowa Senator Joni Ernst is a national darling of the NRA’s effort to eliminate any and all meaningful gun safety laws that might keep children like those at Parkland, Florida from getting blown to pieces on a regular school day. Ernst received over $3.1 million in financial support from the NRA, the seventh-most of any senator, according to an analysis of campaign spending last October. Money from the gun rights organization poured into Iowa to help her get past the finish line in her race for Senate against Bruce Braley in 2014.
The NRA got what they paid for with Ernst, who then voted last February to stop a new rule that would have kept the mentally ill from obtaining guns through the background check system. Ernst voted in favor of House Joint Resolution 40, which sought to overturn a recent decision for the National Instant Criminal History Background Check System that would have kept people who considerable mental health issues from obtaining weapons. Both the House and Senate passed the resolution, and President Donald Trump signed it in February 2017.”
Just remember, shootings aren’t scheduled. With the proliferation of guns on the street the number of shootings will go up. Yes, even in small towns in Iowa.
And – oh yeah – in Connecticut the body of a parent of one of the victims of the Newtown massacre was found in his office in Newtown, an apparent suicide. Besides losing his daughter in the massacre, Jeremy Richman had been the victim of his grief and a harassment campaign by so called Sandy Hook hoaxers.