If you didn’t hear any sound bites from the Senate Judiciary hearing about gun control that took place yesterday, you must be living in a foreign country. Though I’m sure that most Europeans, and our neighbors to the south in Central America, as well as South America, heard something about the hearings.
Former Rep. Gabby Giffords testimony was dramatic, heartbreaking, compelling, and riveting, all at the same time. “Be bold, be courageous, Americans are counting on you,” she implored of the Senators present at the hearing, “You must act.” The former Congresswoman is still recovering from the assassination attempt in Tucson, and I think it’s impossible to ignore her passionate plea for sensible gun control legislation.
Gun nut Wayne La Pierre took issue with any testimony that advocated a sensible approach to gun control. This guy must live on another planet, and he’s not doing the National Rifle Association (NRA) any favors, anytime he opens his mouth.
I heard an interesting statistic yesterday. There are apparently an average of 30,000 Americans who die as a result of gun violence in the United States each year. 13,000 Americans are murdered, and 17,000 Americans use a gun to commit suicide. In my opinion, that means there are 30,000 deaths each year that are preventable.
While the Senate Judiciary Committee met in Washington, D.C., the Connecticut state legislature’s Bipartisan Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention and Children's Safety, convened a hearing in Newtown, Connecticut - not far from the site of the tragic Newtown massacre.
In The Connecticut Post, reporter Ken Dixon described the testimony in an article entitled “Violence in America rebuked at Newtown High hearing.”
The people of this wounded, shattered town spoke Wednesday night.
They want major changes in gun control, improvements in school security and more effective mental health programs to help prevent future shootings.
In the soul-searching after Adam Lanza's rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School, some said the culture of violence in America -- where the Internet and video games breed isolation and feed psychopathic urges in the 21st century -- must change.
In the auditorium at Newtown High School, for hours of recollections and testimony, they said that assault-style weapons should be banned and that doctors need to help police identify mentally disturbed patients who might become the next Adam Lanza.
Some called for a greater sense of community, where neighbors know each other's names and can reach out to one another in times of trouble and distress.
Others said the right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" trumps the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
David Wheeler, whose son Benjamin was killed that day, said that it's crucial to identify and monitor people in mental distress.
"We lost our Benjamin to an unstable, suicidal individual who had access to a weapon that has no place in a home," Wheeler said, calling it "unacceptable" that Lanza had access to the weapons of his mother, even if they were legally purchased.
"The right to life trumps the right to bear arms," Wheeler said. "Let's honor the founding fathers and get our priorities straight."I watched and listened to many talking heads on different cable news stations. While many “expert analysts” said that there’s a bipartisan consensus to mandate background checks, they said that an assault weapons ban is likely to fail. Considering that an overwhelming majority of Americans support the assault weapons ban, it’s going to be important for all of us to reach out to our members of Congress, to let them know that we expect them to do everything they can to pass this assault weapons ban.
I concur with David Wheeler completely. The right to life and living does trump anyone’s right to bear arms. I hope that Congress is listening, as they really do need to get their priorities straight.
And we need to give them a large dose of straight talk. Straight talk indeed!
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