You might think your vote doesn’t matter, but it does.
When you stay home instead of going to the polls, the lobbyists and the big corporations get the people they want — people who won’t pass ANY gun safety laws; people who support fracking; people who will slash basic safety net programs and who refuse to expand Medicaid.
Yesterday, Richard Martinez, the father of a young man who was killed by an angry young man with three legally obtained semi-automatic weapons, said he will spend the rest of his life working for change.
He choked through tears that he wants this gun madness to stop, and he said, “My son is dead and there is nothing they could do to me that is worse than that.”
I’ve been saying that since my own son died from neglect because he couldn’t get access to health care, and I have worked for expanded access to health care.
Now Richard Martinez will work for sensible gun laws, and I am with him. He said he fears nothing because the worst thing that can happen to anyone has happened to him.
But every time it looks as though we might get just one piece of sensible legislation through, it falls flat.
What do get passed are laws allowing guns anywhere — in malls, in parks, in fast-food restaurants. And as soon as those laws are passed and signed, we see semi-automatic weapons strapped to people in line at Chick-fil-A and Sonic. A woman was shot at a Walmart when someone’s gun went off accidentally, although I hardly think of it as an accident when someone purposely takes a loaded gun shopping.
I am tired of the pro-gun talking points:
“Guns don’t kill people; people do.”
Answer: People with guns kill more people than anything else. In domestic disputes, if there’s no gun handy, it rarely ends in murder. If people with active mental illnesses couldn’t gain access to semi-automatic weapons, Richard’s son still would be alive, as would all the children in Newtown, Conn., not to mention the people who were in the theater at Aurora, Col., the people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin and on and on and on …
“Well then, why don’t we outlaw knives and cars? They kill people too.”
Answer: First of all, they don’t kill nearly as many people as guns do, and secondly, they have other uses; they are not manufactured solely for the purpose of killing people.
“I have a Second Amendment right to my guns.”
Answer: Not so much. The Second Amendment has been interpreted — after much lobbying by the gun industry — as meaning we all can have as many guns as we want, but the the amendment reads: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
That part about the well regulated militia? I don’t often hear mention of that when people argue the amendment gives all of us unfettered access to whatever guns we want to play with. The amendment was adopted because the United States had no standing army at the time and George Washington didn’t want one. The amendment should have been repealed when we established a standing army.
“We just need to keep guns out of the hands of people with mental illnesses.”
The young man who killed Richard’s son was deeply troubled. His family tried to intervene, but to no avail. He wanted to stop taking his medications, so he did. He was over 18 so no one could force him into treatment. And despite the young man’s history, he was able to buy three semi-automatic weapons. Maybe we could keep them out of the hands of people who have psychiatric issues, but we don’t.
The lack of willingness on the part of Congress to pass any kind of gun safety legislation because of their fear of the NRA and gun manufacturers speaks loudly about how important it is that we get out and vote for people with the guts to stand up to these greedy bastards.
I have said it again and again: I don’t object to people who want to hunt or target shoot owning guns, but I do want to see someone charged with murder every time a child is killed while playing with a gun. It’s no accident if there’s a loaded gun in the house and a child is killed while playing with it; the charge should be manslaughter, if not murder.
One final talking point:
“You’ll have to pry my gun out of my cold, dead hands.”