Will there ever be an America without guns?

Gun Rights

Perceptions, By Gerry Warner

Op-Ed Commentary

A “good guy with a gun.”

Can you believe that’s the absurd – obscene even – solution many Americans offer for the gun mayhem engulfing the “land of the free and home of the brave” as their jingoistic national anthem so stridently proclaims.

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I guess that’s why a patriotic congress in 1931 chose Francis Scott Key’s stirring words set to the tune of an old British drinking song to be the national anthem. They’ve sung it with lust and fervor since the War of 1812 and they’ve sung it ever since. Ironically, both the Americans and the British claimed victory during that long-forgotten war, but no one is claiming “victory” today in the wake of yet another mass shooting in a country that appears to be falling apart in front of our very eyes when you look across the border as many Canadians do.

No other country in the world has mass shootings with such numbing regularity as the no longer “United” States and no country at all kills its children en masse like that sick country to the south of us. I don’t use the word “sick” lightly.

Obviously, the majority of Americans aren’t sick. They’re part of a country that still leads the world in most categories, both good and bad. But their political system is sick and dying a not-so-slow death right in front of us. Who can deny it? Many Americans are saying the same thing themselves.

And let’s be honest. In a two-party system only one of the parties is truly sick. The Democrats are no angels, but the Republicans are truly sick. The Grand Old Party, as it once was unbelievably known, is in dire medical condition today.

How else can you describe a party with at least one elected member that supports QAnon, which according to Wikipedia, believes the country is being run by a party of “Satanic, cannibalistic, child sex abusers” out to get former President Donald Trump. It doesn’t get sicker or crazier than that.

That’s why many Republicans are wacky enough to believe that arming teachers would put a quick end to school massacres and allowing military assault weapons to be in the hands of the general public – good guys –would end mass shootings elsewhere.

And this is the party that could win the next presidential election and also take Congress. If that’s the case all I can say is God bless America. It’s going to need blessings from on high and many of them.

To his credit, President Joe Biden doesn’t buy this. “Why are we willing to live with this carnage,” he said of the Texas gun tragedy. “We as a nation have to ask when in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby.”

Many would say Biden was speaking rhetorically because the gun lobby has had its bloody fingers around the necks of most Americans ever since the National Rifle Association (NRA) came into existence in 1871.

In fact, it was NRA Executive Vice-President Wayne LaPierre who uttered the infamous comment after the horrifying Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting  “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.” As brazenly insidious – some would say evil – that statement is it tragically still represents the views of millions of Americans today.

But there may be some hope that this time it will be different. It was Biden as vice president who shepherded the now expired 1994 assault weapons ban through Congress. Under President Obama he proposed nearly a dozen executive actions on gun control that Obama signed but didn’t go anywhere.

So, Biden knows how devilishly difficult passing gun laws is in the US. But once again Republican Senator Ted Cruz appeared to stand in the way accusing Biden of “politicizing” the issue and interfering with Americans constitutional rights to bear arms. However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi countered Cruz. “For too long, some in Congress have offered hollow words after these shootings while opposing all efforts to save lives.”

Pelosi and the Democrats appear to have learned. But will Republicans ever do the same?

Gerry Warner is a retired journalist, who manages to live without guns.

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