Ready, Set, Done – Today, write about anything — but you must write for exactly ten minutes, no more, no less.
Garry and I have been watching the Ken Burns mini-series on The Roosevelts on PBS every night. Not surprisingly, my mother is much on my mind.
She was born in 1910 and died in 1982. Not an exceptionally long life — and I would have liked to have her around much longer — but what a time to be alive! Born into a world of horse and carriage, she died after seeing men walk on the moon.
My mother often talked about the days — the early, exciting days — immediately after Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s election as President. It was the depth of the Great Depression and the country was in terrible shape, the people depressed and frightened. When the National Recovery Act (NRA) passed into law she, along with hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers held a spontaneous parade. They literally danced in the streets.
She said: “Roosevelt didn’t end the depression. The depression hung around until finally it was ended by the war (World War II) … but he gave us hope. He made us feel that we could beat this thing. You have to understand,” she would say. “It was awful. People were hungry, not just out of money. Out of food, coal, hope. He gave us hope and at that time, in that place, hope was everything.”
When I watch something about that time in history, I always think of my mother. Young. Marching in the streets and celebrating because FDR was going to save America. Whatever else I learn in the course of studying the man and the times, my mother’s stories of living in those times trumps them. Hers is the voice I hear because she was the people.
Despite news stories that would suggest the opposite, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy are fond of pointing out that the city has endured less shootings than in recent years. If that is truly the case, then the shootings in past years was under reported by local media. You can believe that they are all over it now. Local news in most big cities follow the mantra, “If it bleeds, it leads,” and shootings have become the lead stories all too often in the Windy City and around America. Chicago has become the topic of national newscasts and unfortunate late night talk show jokes.
Mayor Emanuel and his predecessor, long time mayor Rich Daley, have worked hard to get guns off the streets and out of the hands of criminals. They worked to restrict gun sales, limit concealed carry and ban guns at certain locations. In light of gun violence, it seems logical that city leaders would lead the charge to get guns out of the hands of the type of people who would shoot up a city park. Unfortunately their efforts have met the fight to let criminals have their guns. “Who would be against the efforts of our elected officials to make the city streets safer?” you may ask. Is it just the gangs? Are the gangs using their drug profits to oppose the city in court? Is it the Mafia and their high-priced attorneys? Is it some Tea Party extremist? No, it is none of those although the last might be close. It is the National Rifle Association that is working hard to let criminals have guns and keep violence on main street America. They have money. They have lawyers and they like taking Chicago to court.
Yes, one of the roadblocks to taking guns away from criminals is the NRA. They will now point to recent shootings as proof that we can not have gun control. They will again try to force feed us the argument that gun control will mean that only criminals will have guns and we will all be at their mercy, as if we are not now. The NRA will use their usual scare tactics to defend their extreme position that actually allows criminals to get more and more guns. They will then attempt to sell us on the idea that all of those guns in the hands of criminals means we can not have gun control laws. Somehow they seem to think that arming the bad guys is proof that the good guys should not have to face any sort of restrictions on buying guns. If you think this philosophy is a bit twisted, you are right (or perhaps I meant left).
The “slippery slope” argument is at the top of the NRA’s philosophy about gun control laws. They seem to think that if there are any restrictions to buying guns, soon there will be more and more restrictions to follow and eventually all the good guys will have to give up their guns to the federal, state and local governments. It does not matter that this argument make no sense and the Second Amendment will protect them. They continue to fight the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago through misleading pronouncements and court challenges. Consider the common sense ideas of the state and city along with the extremist, Wild West position of the NRA.
Attempts at restricting private sale or transfer of guns to criminals have been challenged. Reporting lost or stolen guns has been challenged. Restricting concealed carry in certain public places has been challenged. The NRA has won a battle against the State of Illinois in Moore v. Madigan. That would be Lisa Madigan, Attorney General for the State of Illinois. They claimed that the State efforts to enforce its laws left people “defenseless” outside their own homes. They also backed McDonald v. Chicago in a fight against Chicago hand guns laws. Their direct fight in NRA v. Chicago was later consolidated with the McDonald case. While the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld the Chicago law, the fight went to the Supreme Court where the much of the Chicago ordinance was struck down, leaving the city to attempt a less restrictive ban in 2010.
The State of Illinois was forced in July to adopt a concealed weapons laws, which angered city officials. The law forced changes on the City of Chicago. City officials, however, refuse to roll over to the wishes of the NRA. They are now attempting to ban guns in bars and restaurants that sell alcohol. They feel guns and booze don’t mix. They expect the NRA to back the Dodge City mentality and challenge them in court. Apparently, there should be no checking of hand guns at the door, but Marshal Dillon is not around to toss the bad guys in jail like an episode of Gunsmoke so this may not go well. Perhaps all disputes will be settled by a duel in the street rather than shooting up Chicago saloons.
If Al Capone were still alive he would be proud of the efforts of the NRA to let Capone and Frank Nitti keep guns on the streets of Chicago. As for Eliot Ness, the NRA would keep him and the Untouchables busy in court with challenges over any attempts to enforce the law, even common sense laws.
Despite all the palaver that the availability of guns does not affect crime levels, this is so obviously ridiculous and self-serving by gun enthusiasts that it really isn’t worth arguing. I think everyone who hunts, competes in shooting sports and has some kind of genuine reason to own a weapon should be allowed to do so. I also think that all guns should be better regulated, insured, and kept track of. Here is an opinion from Richard Paschall, SUNDAY NIGHT BLOG. Well worth reading.
- Obama Blames the NRA for Gun Violence (thetruthaboutguns.com)
- NRA – Gun’s Don’t Kill People, Movies & Video Games Do. Say what now? (epicagames.com)
- NRA’s LaPierre blames poor security for Navy Yard shooting (cbsnews.com)
- NRA mantra of “Enforce Existing Gun Laws” comes back to bite them in the ass. (sipseystreetirregulars.blogspot.com)
My husband wants to know why a kindergarten teacher in a quiet Connecticut suburb owned two 9-mm hand guns and a semi-automatic rifle. He wants to know why are there no checks for mental stability for gun owners or background checks in most states to make sure that the purchaser is not an outright criminal.
I want to know how come a relatively small number of gun nuts are able to hold our entire nation hostage. I’m pretty sure the majority of Americans don’t believe that anyone who wants one should be allowed to own an arsenal. Most people have more sense that.
I don’t think people who hunt are the problem, either. I don’t hunt, but I don’t feel I can consume meat while simultaneously objecting to someone else shooting a deer. I am not sufficiently hypocritical for that. In any case, hunters usually respect weapons, were often raised in homes where hunting is a tradition and guns are not considered toys … and they don’t use semi-automatic rifles or assault weapons for deer hunting. Or any other kind of hunting.
So who are these people who have so much more power than their numbers or any commonsense, logic, or reason suggests? Why do they seem to own us? My gut tells me to follow the money because beneath and supporting every evil, somewhere there’s money involved. Usually a lot of money.
Why do we allow private people to buy these weapons? Why are they not held liable for the damage their weapons do, regardless of who is pulling the trigger?
Why? Anyone have an answer? Because my husband and I are pretty smart people, well-educated and reasonably sophisticated. He was a reporter for a lifetime and has seen more of these massacres than anyone should ever have to see. I read, research, and spend a lot of time looking for answers.
But neither one of us has answers this time. We just have questions. There are a lot of questions going around. Maybe it’s time to start formulating a few answers.
- The unanswerable question (lisagobrien.com)
- Questions I Ask Myself About Connecticut School Shooting by Juan Cole (zcommunications.org)
- The Unanswerable Questions (nancyaruegg.com)