Parkland Got Folks Woke To The Gun Problem That Faces A Nation

By Jason Taylor

As I was thinking what I would write on in my next piece, (I knew it would be gun control) I thought to pose the following question to social media:

What was it about Parkland that suddenly got everyone woke to the NRA, and to the gun problem?

With all the mass shootings that this Country has endured over the past 20 years, what was it about Parkland that got everyone’s attention. I’ve long been an advocate for gun control, and the need to ban assault-style weapons and high capacity gun magazines, even when I was more of a moderate. I grew up in gun country, South, Texas. I hunted deer, quail, dove etc… in my younger years. I’ve long given up hunting, and I don’t even own a gun. I’ll stick to quiet speckled trout fishing on the Galveston Bay.

I realized long ago, that we as a Nation had a major gun problem. And it was only going to get worse.

Here are some of the comments I got in response to the question I posted on social media.

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If past is prologue, and indeed it is, Congress will do nothing.

I stand with the high school students in Florida, who have collectively done more in the past few weeks than our elected officials have in my lifetime. I am sick to death of spineless politicians whose pockets are so stuffed with NRA blood money that they refuse to act. The future is coming and with it the change that our nation desperately needs. From here on out, the NRA will be politically radioactive, as will any politicians who are stupid enough to embrace them.

The biggest difference in the Parkland school shooting is that the students have decided to take action because they know that Congress will not. The NRA and their Republican defenders in Congress cannot wait for this to “blow over.” As we all know, the NRA is highly skilled at rallying the intensity factor in its supporters, and the intimidation factor in its Congressional backers. One peep about gun control and the NRA will take you out in the next election.

One vicious, threatening television ad after another. And the next election is this year. But the NRA did not see the intensity factor coming in these student survivors. “Vote them out,” is their rallying cry. So we shall see who the Republicans in Congress are more afraid of the NRA or the vast majority of voters. Voting this year is absolutely crucial to our democracy. The NRA does not own the Second Amendment. Don’t believe anyone who says gun control legislation won’t help.

There are elements within America that fetishize the gun, but I reject the notion that guns are the essence of America. Most Americans, including most gun owners, don’t fetishize guns or demand an uncompromising position on sensible gun regulations. The vast majority of Americans support strengthening background checks. A significant majority of Americans support a ban on assault weapons and large capacity magazines.

The reason America is unable to pass any gun regulation reform is that we have a Congress (in particular GOP members) beholden to the powerful gun manufacturers’ lobby known as the N.R.A. Wayne LaPierre and other N.R.A. shills like Dana Loesch are paid millions to spread conspiracy theories among the gullible. A minority of Americans has become convinced that any regulation whatsoever — even banning bump stocks — is a slippery slope leading to complete confiscation.

This GOP Congress doesn’t represent us. It represents the N.R.A.

America will get rid of these all-too-regular mass shootings when it gets sick and tired of them. Other countries have. We know that it’s possible, and the answers aren’t that complicated. Until we reach that point, we’ll continue to let this minority rule us, and we’ll continue to suffer these gruesome episodes month after month. No more moments of silence from Congress. We need action and answers.

It is really scary to see in action how a powerful lobby like the NRA can literally control the very lawmakers who are supposed to represent their constituents. To see how money influences lawmakers is sickening. Americans need to wake up and realize that big oil, big pharma, and the NRA have a stranglehold on our government and will not let go. No wonder we can’t get clean energy, affordable healthcare, or a ban on assault weapons. Because our government is literally owned & run by corporations and our representatives are nothing but puppets for profits at the expense of everyone else.

The NRA willfully misinterprets the Second Amendment. There is no amount of carnage that will shake them. The money is just too good. That leaves us with only two options: One, we must work to dry up the money source. Companies refusing to do business with them and fund managers divesting from them is a start. The second and easier thing is to VOTE. Vote out the legislators who can’t or won’t turn their backs on the money. Vote them out.

This should be easy. No one walks into WalMart expecting to buy a Stinger missile or a crate of grenades or a Predator drone with Hellfire missiles.

All we want is to move rifles like the AR-15 from the civilian use to the military use category. A gun that shreds 20 human bodies in 20 seconds is a WMD. Our kids (sane or otherwise) should not be able to buy these any more than they can buy a box of dynamite. No one refuses to put a safety fence around a swimming pool because “pools don’t drown kids, kids do.” We lock up medicines and bleach and matches–even though those are all inanimate objects.

We know the value of practicing safety with many other things that we use in our lives. Let’s do the same with guns.

 

 

 

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