Former Rep. Steve Israel sums up why we’re not going to do anything about guns ever.
First, just like everything else in Washington, the gun lobby has become more polarized. The National Rifle Association, once a supporter of sensible gun-safety measures, is now forced to oppose them because of competing organizations. More moderation means less market share. The gun lobby is in a race to see who can become more brazen, more extreme.
Second, congressional redistricting has pulled Republicans so far to the right that anything less than total subservience to the gun lobby is viewed as supporting gun confiscation. The gun lobby score is a litmus test with zero margin for error.
Third, the problem is you, the reader. You’ve become inoculated. You’ll read this essay and others like it, and turn the page or click another link. You’ll watch or listen to the news and shake your head, then flip to another channel or another app. This horrific event will recede into our collective memory.
That’s what the gun lobbyists are counting on. They want you to forget. To accept the deaths of at least 58 children, parents, brothers, sisters, friends as the new normal. To turn this page with one hand, and use the other hand to vote for members of Congress who will rise in another moment of silence this week. And next week. And the foreseeable future.
Not that I’m in the mood to get all smug and say “Told you so,” but Mr. Israel is saying what I’ve been saying after every mass shooting since I started this blog: Gabby Giffords in Tucson, Sandy Hook, Orlando, and on and on. I grow tired of this repetition; of saying it.
I almost think that instead of coming back to the same points over and over again I should just provide a link to kittens falling into boxes or squirrels being ejected from bird feeders so you’ll have a place to go to until all the politicians with their “thoughts and prayers” and stories about the lives lost have moved on to the next distraction. Oh, look at the kitty. But then nothing really would change. We’d just keep doing this over and over.
I keep hoping that we will do something, and it’s beyond just hoping. I bring this up with every politician I meet; I make it part of who I vote for or against; I make sure that people who know me know that it’s the deal-breaker. It’s not because I wield so much influence; but no less than anyone else, either, and voices united — even against the gun lobby — will make a difference. The part I hate the most is that it doesn’t get noticed until there are body counts. And there are those every day.
So instead of just waiting, make your point and keep making it.