October 1, 2017, isn’t that long ago when you think about it. That date is memorable because it was a day when 59 innocent people were gunned down by a deranged shooter at a music festival. The shooting captured the attention of people around the world because it was the largest mass murder in American history.
The average citizen can’t do much to avoid another such tragedy because we lack the power to stop such an event from happening. However, there is one group that could be effective in stopping a future mass killing if only they cared enough to do something. I refer to the members of the U.S. Congress. After so many national tragedies, this group of officials must rightfully be prepared to take the blame when the next one occurs, as it will.
I often wonder what it would take to get any Congress, Republican or Democrat, to make some modest changes in our gun laws. Back in 2011, Congress member Gabrielle Giffords was gunned down at a public function when she was performing the simple task of meeting with her constituents in a shopping center parking lot. Her colleagues in Washington expressed sorrow on this incident, welcomed her on her return and then went back
to doing nothing about the large number of guns that Americans own.
Most of us thought that the tragic death of 26 people in Sandy Hook, CT, would trigger a sincere effort to take guns out of the hands of people with emotional problems. Regrettably, that 2012 incident has faded away, except in the hearts and minds of the families who lost their loved ones. Did Congress rise to the occasion and deal with the issue of background checks and guns in the hands of sick people? You know the answer.
A little over a year ago, another deranged individual aimed a gun at a group of members of Congress who were at a softball practice. The major victim was a Congressman Steve Scalise, who is a member of the Republican leadership. Scalise won bipartisan support for this speedy recovery and his trauma was even highlighted on 60 Minutes. Did anything happen to change the gun laws after one of their own was shot? You know the answer.
After the Las Vega mass murder, everyone became aware of an item known as a bump stock. Attached to a semiautomatic weapon, it becomes an automatic weapon
capable of firing hundreds of bullets in a few seconds. The leaders of the House and Senate immediately pledged to find ways to block the sale of this $200 mass murder instrument. Did the Congress ever follow through to prevent future tragedies? You know the answer.
I am not an advocate of repealing the Second Amendment that gives citizens the “right to bear arms.” I am too much of a realist to think that could happen. But the greatest stain on American society is the continued failure of the people we elect and send to Washington to take some baby steps to make their country a little bit safer.
The views expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the publisher or Anton Media Group.