Saturday, April 13, 2013

What Will You Learn Today At Eags' Knee (Anth Other Low Joints)? Wayne LaPierre Is A Clown & Cruzer The Loser Is Worse Than Pond-Scum

Eags makes five salient points about the current gun-control debate. The point that most appealed to this blogger was that "[NRA mouthpiece] Wayne LaPierre is a clown." Close behind is the junior senator from Texas: Rafael Edward "Ted" Cruz (R-TX). When the Newtown parents of the victims came to Washington, DC during the debate about gun control, Cruzer the Loser proclaimed that " was wrong... to exploit this tragedy." Ah, the exquisite hypocrisy: Cruzer the Loser was one of the main wavers of the bloody shirt in the wake of the death of four men at Bengazi. The attack on the U.S. consulate in Bengazi was exploited by Cruzer the Loser in a failed attempt to derail the appointments of Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Charles (Chuck) Hegel,and CIA Director John Brennan. Exploiting tragedies is Cruzer the Loser's specialty. Cruzer the Loser gives pond-scum a bad name because he is slimier than scum. If this is (fair & balanced) hatred of Wayne LaPierre and Cruzer the Loser, so be it.

[x NY Fishwrap]
The Power Of Loss
By Timothy Egan

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Their grief is so immense, their sadness so deep, that when the parents of children slaughtered in Newtown, CT, tried this week to make a political point, most people could not see beyond the swollen red eyes. It was all hugs and pats and God forbid, we can only imagine if that had happened to us.

But if you listened to what this powerful lobby of the lost has been trying to say over the last few days, you heard several truths that may get through the fog of words concerning Americans and their guns. It’s a fog because the other lobby, the one that controls this issue with an iron fist, will not allow a real debate to take place.

First, regarding Nancy Lanza, mother of the boy who fired 154 rounds with his assault rifle, killing 26 innocents in five minutes. We shouldn’t judge her for arming her child, we’re told, shouldn’t second-guess her for storing weapons in his room, the gun safe in his room, the numerous magazines in his room. No harm there, because guns don’t kill people.

When asked to comment on this mother in a session with “60 Minutes,” the Newtown family members were measured but fair. “I think it’s pretty obvious to anyone who looks that something was very, very wrong in there,” said David Wheeler, who lost his 6-year-old son, Benjamin, in the shooting.

“I feel there is a huge, huge, gaping hole in the way that that child was parented,” said Jimmy Greene, whose 6-year-old daughter, Ana, was taken in Adam Lanza’s spree.

They deserve credit, these parents, for calling out negligence in a woman who otherwise showed admirable devotion to her son. Why give a boy with obvious mental problems the weaponry to shoot up a school? Or bring harm to himself and his family?

And yes, universal background checks will not prevent a sane and law-abiding suburban mom from arming her troubled boy; only common sense can do that. But based on the required background checks for licensed gun dealers that have already prevented a million people from legally purchasing firearms, a similar filter on unregulated purchases will keep many criminals and mentally ill people from getting guns. The same demons that haunted Adam Lanza can be found among some of those sniffing around gun shows, the freewheeling fairs of arms commerce.

No. 2: Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, among other politicians owned by the gun lobby, have decried the use of the Newtown parents to push legislation. It’s wrong, Cruz said again this week, “to exploit this tragedy.”

This is absurd. Human tragedies are the fuel of reform — they are the catalysts for new laws and changed attitudes. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911, which killed 146 garment workers in New York City, led to changes in building and fire codes that are with us still. The tampering of Tylenol capsules, a poison plot that killed seven people in 1982, was followed by wholesale makeovers in the way hundreds of products were packaged. And what was the overhaul in airport security, a system that has for more than a decade prevented a terrorist from ramming a plane into a building, but government “exploiting the tragedy” of 9/11?

That a new law will not stop every death is never a consideration, except with guns; here, perfection is supposed to prevail.

The one lawmaker most visibly moved by the human dimensions of the school shooting, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, choked back tears while talking with Newtown family members. A Democrat with an A rating from the National Rifle Association, Manchin fashioned a bipartisan approach to a new law, he said, because his heart was moved by these family members.

“I’m a parent and a grandfather — I had to do something,” he said. “I had to do something.”

No. 3: Wayne LaPierre is a clown. That’s what the governor of Connecticut, Dan Malloy, said a week ago about the leader of the gun lobby. “This guy is so out of whack, it’s unbelievable,” said Governor Malloy.

LaPierre’s job is to frighten people; more than a clown, he is the Kim Jong-un of American politics, saying things that are so outrageous that, by contrast, garden variety extremists don’t look so bad. Recently, of course, he suggested militarizing all elementary schools to prevent further shootings.

Manchin suggested that the gun lobby post the Senate bill online “and let N.R.A. members like myself vote on it.” LaPierre would never do that because he would be exposed as a fraud, for poll after poll shows that a huge majority of gun owners want expanded background checks.

But wait, LaPierre says closing gun sale loopholes would lead to a national registry. There’d be a list! He’s wrong. The bill calls for no registry. Still, let’s talk about lists: the one that exists for everyone with a driver’s license, everyone who applies for a passport, or pays taxes, or joins Netflix. Google and Facebook know far more about LaPierre’s members than the federal government ever will at the point of gun purchase. This is like arguing against streetlights because, well, people would be exposed.

Now the lie: that chestnut about American democracy and the “will of the people.” Senator Mitch McConnell used “will of the people” quite a bit in opposing President Obama over the years. But now, on something that 91 percent of Americans favor (in a recent Quinnipiac poll), McConnell and other senators refused to even let the people’s representatives have a debate on a gun bill. So much for the world’s greatest deliberative body.

But, in a sliver of hope, a majority, 68 senators in all, voted down the obstructionists Thursday — a procedural move that will allow debate. Not passage of the bill, mind you, just debate. How did this happen? Thank those families who put their grief on the line.

Bill Sherlach lost his wife, Mary, a psychologist, to Adam Lanza’s Bushmaster AR-15. He was in Washington this week, his broken heart on reluctant display. “We’re just private citizens,” he said, “who are now part of a club we never wanted to be in.” Ω

[Timothy Egan writes "Outposts," a column at the NY Fishwrap online. Egan — winner of both a Pulitzer Prize in 2001 as a member of a team of reporters who wrote the series "How Race Is Lived in America" and a National Book Award (The Worst Hard Time in 2006) — graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in journalism, and was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters by Whitman College in 2000 for his environmental writings. Egan's most recent book is The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America (2009).]

Copyright © 2013 The New York Times Company

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