WASHINGTON D.C. – The shooting that took place in Orlando, Florida, on June 12, 2016, massacring more innocent American lives than any mass shooting in the history of a country plagued with violence and lack of gun control, provoked an immediate and bold act of change. Led by Rep. John Lewis, D-GA, who called for his constituents to sit with him in protest, just as he did a few decades earlier during the civil rights movement.
Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan turned the cameras off on those sitting in, calling the protest for gun control a publicity stunt and spat out the same acidic rhetoric that irritates the ear, similar to a relentless fly buzzing around, about protecting Americans’ constitutional rights. This was Ryan’s attempt to justify the complete and utter lack of action when it comes to stricter gun control, saying that nothing will be signed that may infringe on those rights.
The FBI watchlist, as with any government or man-made list, is prone to mistakes. A perfect example of that would be the members of Congress that are on the most recent watch list. It is true that those that are mistakenly put on the list have to go through a long tedious questioning process and a quick session of waterboarding, just to be sure, to get their name removed from the list.
However, in regards to gun control, Americans across the country have made their voices as loud and as clear as possible to Speaker Ryan:
When it comes to gun control in America, the risk of discomfort to the minimal amount of innocent people who, hypothetically, could be put on a watchlist due to a mistake made by the FBI. This would strip them of their second amendment right to purchase a military weapon. Meaning, weapons made for combat situations to kill enemies of a hundred or so in less time than it takes to read this sentence. A small price to pay and a risk the people are willing to take, instead of leaving the present gun control laws in place.
Americans could not be clearer when it comes to gun control and their words have been spoken loudly. They are fed up and want to change the same poor gun control laws that make it about as easy to purchase a gun, as a recruit of the Lord’s Resistance Army running amok in Uganda. Americans are begging for change to the gun control policy that leaves thousands of citizens vulnerable every time they go to a mall, see a movie, or enter the first line of an airport.
There has not been a single poll released since the Orlando shooting that says Congress has done the right thing concerning gun control. In fact, the approval ratings of Congress are the lowest in history. Richard Nixon had better approval ratings by Democrats during and after his impeachment due to Watergate.
One of those gun control proposals, the No Fly, No Buy bill, has the support of 90 percent of the American people. Plus there have been endorsements from a couple of republicans, including Sen. Lindsey Graha. Yet, there still will be little to no consideration of the gun control measure by Ryan or the NRA’s Congress minions.
For those reading this outside of the U.S., thinking, “America was known for having a government of the people, by the people, for the people.” Yes, America is the country with a government known to be for its people. Well, at least it was.
The No Fly, No Buy bill is arguably the simplest, most black and white bill proposed to Ryan and his henchman, in regards to gun control. Yet, he still refuses to allow members of Congress to vote on it, despite it having the backing of a handful of members from his own party.
There have been multiple late night TV hosts, such as Stephen Colbert, Amy Schumer, Trevor Noah, and Seth Meyers, who have shoved Congress into a punching bag and unloaded a flurry of jokes regarding their incompetence on gun control. Some have put jokes aside and have made a genuine speech to the country’s elected officials. The ones who call themselves America’s leaders and used their nightly spotlight to speak out for those American citizens and victims directly affected by the lack of gun control; whose voice has officially been put on mute.
Speaker Ryan states that the Senate has already voted and rejected stricter laws on gun control, therefore, there is no point for Democrats to keep pushing the bill forward or keep up with these publicity stunts because the decision has been made. Going on to say that what Lewis and his fellow members of Congress are doing with their fight for gun control is “undermining the institutions of government.”
This is ironic because that is exactly what Speaker Ryan and the rest of the House are doing by not implementing greater gun control. Speaking in the words of the founding fathers just as Ryan was, the entire point of government is “to form a more perfect union.” By definition, union is the action of joining together politically. The Constitution goes on to say things such as “establish Justice” and “provide for the common defense…”
That line, “to provide for the common defense,” is often purposely misconstrued by those who are in office thanks, in large part, to NRA funding. However, in no way does it imply that more guns should be made available as a “common defense” from those who have guns with intentions to harm and then taint the Bill of Rights by saying that the second amendment is gun control.
That should be the gun control rhetoric of a corny Western film’s, tobacco-spitting, railcar robbing cowboy. Not the words or laws of a modern civilized country and their government. Especially when speaking of the lives of its citizens.
There are rare moments in life, important moments, when people have to make themselves ugly and indecent in order to expose the ugliness and indecency of the world. To be the greater fool. To purposely do what is wrong to fight for what is right. It is what this country was built upon. It is a simple fact that majority of Americans support stricter gun control policies. The CNN/ORCs most recent poll shows that 55 percent of Americans, regardless of party, want stricter laws.
On June 16, 2016, there was a 15-hour filibuster held by the Democrats and resulted in those laws pushing for more gun control to go to a vote. However, the gun lobbyists and members of the NRA, which are the (co-)puppet masters, along with the oil industry, that control the House members, shook the Senators’ heads no, rejecting all four gun control measures that were proposed.
One would imagine that those elected officials on the Hill who are so passionately loathed by the majority of the people they serve, due to the poor personal decisions they make, largely in part, because of the debt they owe to those of whom got them elected. They, of all people, should understand and empathize with the hundreds of thousands of Americans that are in debt as well. More justifiable and respectable debt, but still.
As democracy touches the horizon and slowly fades and withers into the annals of history. A free and flourishing society that once was. A style of government soon to be gone and forgotten, as if it never existed; given way to the evident rise of Plutocracy: a government of the wealthy, by the wealthy, for the wealthy.
However, no need to fret or be surprised by democracy’s decline. This has been etched in the minds of us all, outcasting those who question or think otherwise, since the days of Orwell. One lesson life goes out of its way to teach is, that all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.
Opinion by T. Aaron DeGeorge
Edited by Jeanette Smith
New York Times: Democrats End Sit-In After 25 Hours, What to do about guns? Gun control in Congress Isn’t Dead, but Prospects Aren’t Good, Chaos in the House Over Gun Control
Huffington Post: Gun Control Polls Show Long Term Decline In Support, Unlike Congress, Hawaii Takes Action On Gun Control
Image Courtesy of the Senate Democrats’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License