“One crime was committed by a person motivated by no cause or political interest and driven only by personal demons. Another crime was committed by two people whose actions were clearly driven by their religious and political beliefs. Under these circumstances, which of these terrible tragedies do you think would be considered an incident that could only be properly understood as something that ought to spur the nation to specific political actions?”
via The Difference Between Newtown and Boston.
Jonathan Tobin outlines the problem with the differences in our national response.
Connecticut’s Senator Blumenthal published a letter in the Hartford Courant professing his shame at his colleagues and his disappointment at the failure of the Senate to pass “common sense” (talking point language from a careful ‘positioning’ document just like a ‘balanced’ approach to deficit reductions means higher taxes and no meaningful cuts in entitlement spending) gun control legislation. He vowed to fight on. He sent his letter to his constituents who have written him about gun violence. He sent it to me and here is my reply:
What common sense is there in enacting cynical, opportunistic legislation that does absolutely nothing to solve the problem it purports to address? SHAME ON YOU for trying to exploit tragedy to advance a disproven agenda that curtails constitutionally enumerated rights and does nothing to advance public safety. You know that all rifles, much less the cosmetically defined “assault weapons” are used in a single digit percentage of all gun crimes. You know that magazine size limitations will have no impact on criminals who have ready access to whatever size magazine they want but will ensure that law abiding citizens are overmatched or limited in their ability to protect themselves. You know that these same criminals will easily circumvent background checks and that of the “2 million people prevented by background checks from buying firearms” virtually none have been prosecuted – what do you think they did next? You know that, as your esteemed colleague Diane Feinstein admitted, background checks would not have succeeded in preventing the tragedies that you so shamelessly seek to exploit.
Why don’t you try to do something real about gun violence? The violence that disproportionally affects poor black males in our cities? Why don’t you stand up for mandatory sentencing to prevent recidivists from committing multiple gun crimes? We know these criminals can get guns. We know they use them in crimes. We know that they will do it again but we still let them go free.
Why don’t you help our country follow New York city’s successful implementation of ‘stop and frisk’ policies in our cities? Wouldn’t Bridgeport, Hartford and New Haven benefit from a reduction in gun violence? How about Chicago and its “tough gun laws?”
And when it comes to mass murderers, why don’t you advance better systems for mental health professionals to raise the alarm when they see patients who are likely to commit violent acts? Can you come up with a respectful, fair and thoughtful way to connect them to law enforcement officials and the NICs system?
I guess that would take uncommon courage, brains and effort – things utterly absent throughout your political career. “Common sense” as you define it is so much easier. Exploit a distraught mother – ask her to attend congressional hearings while she is still grieving and vulnerable and by all means have her talk to the press. Those are “common sense” ways to help her heal.
Told anybody about your distinguished military service in Vietnam lately?
Sincerely indignant and ashamed that you are my senator,
PS – To the staffer who may have actually read this before chalking up one “anti” and throwing it in the bin, I hope you are proud to be working for such an upstanding public figure…Go do something honorable with your life (isn’t that why you got into politics?) and dump this sorry hack Blumenthal.