In the aftermath of Monday’s mass shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington D.C., Mayor Michael Bloomberg is making yet another push for tougher gun purchase background checks.
“We don’t have all the facts about the shooter,” Mr. Bloomberg said at press conference today at City Hall, “but what we do know [is] what happened this week has happened before–and sadly it looks like it will happen again until we get serious about this issue of just too many guns around.”
Earlier this morning, Democratic lawmakers gathered in Washington D.C. to unveil the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013, which is legislation that would ban “military-style” assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips. The press conference announcing the bill featured New York Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, the legislation’s House sponsor, as its first speaker. Needless to say, Ms. McCarthy–whose husband was killed in a 1993 shooting spree on the Long Island Rail Road–made it clear it wasn’t going to be a speech that stuck to the script.
“This battle has been a very lonely battle for many, many years,” Ms. McCarthy began. “You know, a lot of words can be said. I’ve got a great speech here and my staff worked on it a long time and I’m probably going to do what they always tell me not to do. That means just talk from my heart.”
Ms. McCarthy expressed particular frustration that gun control legislation has stalled in Congress but argued that the recent massacre at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school would be the catalyst for change.
“What a wonder is a gun!
What a versatile invention!
First of all, when you’ve a gun—
Everybody pays attention.”
—Stephen Sondheim, Assassins
Last year I had the opportunity to review Candice Millard’s excellent history of the Garfield assassination, Destiny of the Republic. President Garfield’s killer, Charles J. Guiteau, has generally been characterized as “a disgruntled office-seeker,” but as Millard makes clear, he was barking mad. His own family was terrified of him and had been for years, but it proved impossible to find him any effective mental health care.
Finding a cheap handgun in the nation’s capital, on the other hand, proved very easy. One murdered president later, attention was paid.
That was 131 years ago. Little has changed. Getting effective, affordable mental health care is nearly as difficult for many Americans as it was in Garfield’s time, while guns are more ubiquitous and deadly than ever.
Thorns With Occasional Roses
The other day, driving to the local home center for some mulch and fertilizer, I absolutely solved the problem of gun proliferation in America once and for all. This was the morning after the tragic shooting in Aurora, Colo., and so I guess the subject was on my mind. When the traffic light turned green, I stepped on the gas and was nearly broadsided by a speeding Cockasaurus, running the red light going the other way.
Last weekend, Michelle Obama made a surprise visit to a hospital in Aurora, Colorado to meet with victims of last month’s movie theater shooting there. Her husband, President Barack Obama, also met with those affected by the horrific shooting just two days after it occurred. However, neither the president or the First Lady has visited Oak Creek, Wisconsin where six people were killed at a Sikh Temple sixteen days after the incident in Aurora. Amardeep Kaleka, whose father was killed at Oak Creek, said he finds it “strange” his community hasn’t received more support from President Obama and Mitt Romney.
“Why wouldn’t they, at some point, make a stand. Make a stand for everybody out there who’s ever been robbed, or gunned down or has faced this hatred,” Mr. Kaleka said.
Mr. Kaleka’s father, Satwant Singh Kaleka, was president of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. According to Mr. Kaleka, his father was shot eight times and lost all of his fingernails while wrestling with the gunman. Mr. Kaleka said he and other family members of the victims haven’t received any communication from President Obama beyond a single call to a “random” member of the congregation.
It seems in poor taste to run a fashion item about designers who cater to gun-concealing chinos and jackets while the Trayvon Martin case is still on the forefront of everyone’s minds, but you know what they say: Fashion trends (and bullets) stops for no man. Just like the skirt stories before them, a new ridiculous piece in The New York Times claims “Fashion Statement in Clear,” only to add “…the Gun Isn’t.”
Mayor Bloomberg has it exactly right. Those federal officials who refuse to crack down on the plague of illegal guns in New York City and elsewhere should get calls from the victims of gun violence at all hours of the night. The mayor and his colleagues elsewhere are all too familiar with late-night calls placed to the loved ones of police officers wounded or killed by sociopaths armed with assault weapons and other weapons of mass carnage.
Long Island congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy announced today that her campaign to ban high capacity ammunition magazines is gaining steam.
“The nation is recognizing that these devices facilitate mass carnage and their availability is a threat to public safety,” said Rep. Carolyn McCarthy. “We can save lives and reduce injuries by restricting access to high-capacity magazines Read More
There is little question that political discourse in the United States in the early 21st century will never be confused with the Lincoln-Douglas debate. Political combatants take an unseemly delight in characterizing opponents as enemies of the state, and reasonably decent public servants can expect to be labeled as pinheads and traitors, puppets of capital Read More
It seems like a no-brainer: Why not use modern technology to virtually stamp bullet casings, which often are the sole pieces of evidence left behind at a shooting scene? If those casings can be traced to the gun’s owner, wouldn’t it be easier to catch and jail assailants and murderers?
Dozens of police departments Read More