No end in sight to gun violence

By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

More gun fire, more tears, more grieving, more funerals, more hand wringing and finger pointing… No action in Congress.

This time the shooting occurred on real life reality television as a deranged person murdered a reporter and her cameraman on live TV, and by design. He methodically (and easily) purchased a gun following the shooting massacre several months ago in a Church in Charleston, South Carolina and then proceeded to carefully plot his televised crime. Ironically this horror came on the very day that James Holmes received his life imprisonment sentence for his 2012 massacre of 12 people in a Colorado movie theater. That shooting occurred the same year as the mass murder of two dozen toddlers in a Newtown Connecticut pre-school ten days before Christmas.

These are the gun related deaths that make the front pages. But every day nearly 100 Americans die from gun violence. This stunning figure stands in stark contrast to every other industrialized nation which has enacted tough laws restricting the access to firearms in their countries.

Thirty years ago New York Governor Mario Cuomo declared that children in this great country are more likely to hear the crackling sound of gunfire sooner than the sounds of a symphony. How sad that since he made that statement we have witnessed over one million more Americans slain by guns, many of them children and most of them people just in the wrong place at exactly the wrong moment.

One million dead Americans at the hands of other American citizens who easily and oftentimes legally obtained their weapon of choice. And just to be clear… that number exceeds all the battle field deaths in all the wars that this country has been involved in for the past two centuries.

What a pitiful sight. Our representatives in Washington D.C. say they’re powerless to do anything about this scourge, even though they have the means to end much of the carnage if only they could muster the gumption to stand up to the gun makers who fund the National Rifle Association.

They dutifully use those funds to politically intimidate Congress. The NRA along with the other gun enthusiasts, hunters and haters have formed a formidable coalition determined to thwart any and every attempt to reign in the easy access to guns. Many are self-described “patriots” who cannot see past the muzzle of their cherished guns.

Until and unless our representatives in the House and the Senate finally stand up for sanity and effective public policies towards deadly guns, the scenes graphically depicted by the live television murder of last week will repeat and repeat and repeat. Oh what a sad commentary on our obsession with guns and politicians choice of political safety at the expense of public safety.

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