Opinion | Would Congress Care More if Parkland Had Been a Plane Crash? – by Jaclyn Corin – The New York Times

Valentine’s day has now become gun control and saftey reform day.
Jaclyn Corin survived the massacre in Parkland, and she writes in the NYT the piece which follows below.
But first, my friends in Kentucky, it is time to let Senate leader Mitch McConnell know that you want him to show some leadership.

“There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not reminded of the shooting. When I hear the sound of sirens or fireworks, I’m taken back to that horrific afternoon. For me, Valentine’s Day will now forever be a reminder of loss.

Yet our community isn’t alone in its tragedy. In 2017, nearly 40,000 Americans died as a result of guns, an average of 109 people a day. And according to a tally from Education Week, there were 24 school shootings that resulted in gun-related deaths or injuries in 2018 alone.

While several states have taken positive legislative measures in response, there have been zero bipartisan investigations or new laws from Congress.

Not a single federal law has been passed since the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012 to address the crisis of school shootings. This year could be different — but only if we organize and insist on it.

Last week, Congress held its first hearing on gun violence prevention since 2011. This week, the House Judiciary Committee is poised to approve a bipartisan bill to requiring background checks for all gun purchases, a proposal that represents one important step toward keeping deadly firearms out of the wrong hands. However, it’s also likely this bill won’t get a hearing, let alone a vote, in the Senate.”

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Opinion | Justices Put Gun Limits in the Cross Hairs – The New York Times

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CreditCreditJim Lo Scalzo/European Pressphoto Agency
Is there a more enigmatic and oddly phrased passage in the Constitution than the Second Amendment?

By The Editorial Board
The editorial board represents the opinions of the board, its editor and the publisher. ItBy The Editorial Board

Jan. 30, 2019, 418 c

“A well-regulated militia” — there’s no consensus on what this meant 200 years ago, much less now — “being necessary to the security of a free state” — were the framers talking about collective defense or self-defense? — “the right of the people to keep and bear arms” — bear arms like a soldier? — “shall not be infringed.”

Yet, despite serious questions about the breadth of the amendment’s protections, at least four Supreme Court justices seem ready to consider what had until recently been a maximalist position: that it guarantees Americans a broadly unrestricted right to gun ownership.

For 217 years, the opacity of the Second Amendment kept the Supreme Court from affirming that its text gave Americans as individuals, not as militia members, the right to have a gun. Former Chief Justice Warren Burger called that claim “one of the greatest pieces of fraud … on the American public by special-interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.”

The con seemed to have worked. In 2008 and then in 2010, the court ruled that, within certain limits, the government could not prohibit people from having handguns in their homes for self-protection, declaring that the amendment guaranteed that right for Americans as individuals. is separate from the newsroom and the Op-Ed section.”

DL:  Yes, sigh. cough.

Here is the top comment, I endorsed:

ML
Boston

I am so exhausted. Forget the vagaries of language. What mass delusion are we in the grip of? Living in the U.S. today, you and I are 25 times more likely to die from gun violence than in any other high income country in the world. 52 women a month are shot to death by an intimate partner. 100 people a day die from guns (this figure includes suicides, which, if you don’t consider suicide by gun to be gun violence, tell me what it is). Every day in the U.S. — every day — toddlers and children and teenagers pick up guns they think are toys, pick up guns they don’t know are loaded, pick up guns — and shoot themselves or their sister or friend or mother. Children. Every day. There are too many guns at large in the U.S. More guns than people. That’s hundreds of millions of guns. Twice in my life I have had people I don’t know point guns at me and rob me. No, I wasn’t in a bad neighborhood. Once I was doing my homework in my bedroom. Both times, I was left with the questions — why was it so easy for this person to get a gun? Why are there SO MANY GUNS? Meanwhile, since Sandyhook, since Parkland, working on gun violence prevention, I have met so many parents who have lost children it makes me want to throw up each time someone else starts telling me their story. It is the same story. I want to scream in these supreme court justices’ faces. What do they want? What do they want? What do they expect? What is the matter with the citizens and the leaders of this country?

Opinion | How the N.R.A. Builds Loyalty and Fanaticism – By Sahil Chinoy, Nicholas Kristof and Jessia Ma – NYT

By Sahil Chinoy, Nicholas Kristof and Jessia Ma
NOV. 8, 2018
“Another needless tragedy in America: This time a gunman opened fire in a bar in Thousand Oaks, Calif., killing at least 12 people and injuring many more.

These horrors happen far more often in America than in other advanced countries partly because of the outsize political influence of the National Rifle Association. N.R.A. candidates suffered some important defeats in Tuesday’s midterm elections, but in a broad swath of red state America it remains potent, controlling politicians who know that an N.R.A. endorsement can make or break an election.

It is not the richest interest group. The National Association of Realtors has spent twice as much in the 2018 federal election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

It is not the largest interest group. It claims about six million members (probably an exaggeration); AARP has more than six times that number.”

Opinion | It’s Time To Talk About the N.R.A. – by Nicholas Kristof – NYT

“The massacre of 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday, allegedly by a man with 21 guns registered to his name, was terrifyingly predictable. Every day in America, about 104 people die from guns, while in Japan it takes about a decade for that many to die from gun violence.

Equally predictable was the response. President Trump and members of Congress denounced the violence but show no signs of actually doing anything to stop it: So Americans will continue to die from guns at a rate of one every 15 minutes.

Why do we Americans kill each other, and ourselves, with guns at such rates? One answer as it relates to the Pittsburgh attack is a toxic brew of hate and bigotry, but the ubiquity of guns leverages hatred into murder. And let’s be blunt: One reason for our country’s paralysis on meaningful action on guns is the National Rifle Association. If we want to learn the lessons of this latest rampage, and try to prevent another one, then let’s understand that saving lives is not just about universal background checks and red flag laws, but also about defanging the N.R.A.”

Opinion | Things Have Changed Since Sandy Hook – by Mimi Swartz – NYT

“And yet change has come, albeit slowly. And it has come not from the top, but from grass-roots campaigns often driven by women — the infuriated-mom equivalent of #MeToo that has joined with older organizations like The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Guns. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America was started by Shannon Watts in the aftermath of Sandy Hook, and now as a part of Everytown for Gun Safety has over four million members. Then there are smaller groups like Survivors Empowered, started by Sandy and Lonnie Phillips after their daughter was killed in the mass shooting in 2012 in Aurora, Colo.

These people have no fear of the N.R.A. — despite its steady targeting of people, especially women, who speak out against them. These are the volunteers who have gone door to door with petitions and who speak before state legislatures. And it works: They have brought significant change to eight states, forcing stronger background checks, limiting gun access to perpetrators of domestic violence, and creating “red flag” laws to allow the local police and families to take guns away from relatives who are at risk to themselves or others — laws that might have prevented at least some of the mass shootings in the last decades.”

David Linday:  Yes, thank you Mimi Swartz.   Here are the two top comments, which I recommended, along with many others.

Bruce Rozenblit
Kansas City, MO

Well sort of. This is like the beginnings of the abolitionist movement. When that movement started, the abolitionists were against slavery bust many of them were still convinced that black people were inherently inferior. We’re still working on that one. We have gotten to the point on guns that we are at least talking about ways to make access to guns a more restricted process, but we haven’t gotten to the point that the problem isn’t access, it’s the gun itself.

Guns are not tools. You can’t build anything with them. They don’t build nations. Laws build nations. They are weapons intended to kill. Guns are not instruments of patriotism. Owning guns does not make any person more American or a better American. Guns are not instruments of freedom. A truly free person doesn’t need a gun. The gun enslaves us to fear, the fear of all. Guns don’t protect us from the government. We are all part of the government. Guns pit us against each other.

So why own one. Power! Holding the power to deliver death in your hand is the real reason people want guns. And it’s the worst kind of power. It’s white power.

I am convinced that the love of guns, particularly in the South and in many rural areas is the fear that the slaves (or Indians) might one day break out of the plantations (reservation) and rampage through the countryside, raping and killing. The gun is then the ultimate instrument of white power. Guns, like slavery, are our original sin.

Rev. Jim Bridges retired commented 6 hours ago

Rev. Jim Bridges retired
Rev. Jim Bridges retired
Everett, WA

A number of school shootings have been committed by youth, using the guns of their parents. Yet, I have not heard of any parent being charged with being an accessory to the crime. Why are not these supposedly responsible gun owning parents not held accountable for the commission of a crime committed with the aid of their non-secure weapon? It seems to me that the lawful owner of any gun must assume legal and personal responsibility for its misuse. Guns and their ammunition must be separately and securely stored, preventing everyone but the owner from access. If a gun owner cannot guarantee security, then he has no right to own the guns.

Opinion | How to Win an Argument About Guns – by Nicholas Kristof – NYT

“Tragically, predictably, infuriatingly, we’re again mourning a shooting — this time at YouTube’s headquarters — even as the drive for gun safety legislation has stalled in Washington. Polls show that nine out of 10 Americans favor basic steps like universal background checks before gun purchases, but the exceptions are the president and a majority in Congress.

Usually pundits toss out their own best arguments while ignoring the other side’s, but today I’m going to try something new and engage directly with the arguments made by gun advocates:You liberals are in a panic over guns, but look at the numbers. Any one gun is less likely to kill a person than any one vehicle. But we’re not traumatized by cars, and we don’t try to ban them.It’s true that any particular car is more likely to be involved in a fatality than any particular gun. But cars are actually a perfect example of the public health approach that we should apply to guns. We don’t ban cars, but we do work hard to take a dangerous product and regulate it to limit the damage.

We do that through seatbelts and airbags, through speed limits and highway barriers, through driver’s licenses and insurance requirements, through crackdowns on drunken driving and texting while driving. I once calculated that since 1921, we had reduced the auto fatality rate per 100 million miles driven by 95 percent.”

John Paul Stevens: Repeal the Second Amendment – The New York Times

“Rarely in my lifetime have I seen the type of civic engagement schoolchildren and their supporters demonstrated in Washington and other major cities throughout the country this past Saturday. These demonstrations demand our respect. They reveal the broad public support for legislation to minimize the risk of mass killings of schoolchildren and others in our society.

That support is a clear sign to lawmakers to enact legislation prohibiting civilian ownership of semiautomatic weapons, increasing the minimum age to buy a gun from 18 to 21 years old, and establishing more comprehensive background checks on all purchasers of firearms. But the demonstrators should seek more effective and more lasting reform. They should demand a repeal of the Second Amendment.

Concern that a national standing army might pose a threat to the security of the separate states led to the adoption of that amendment, which provides that “a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Today that concern is a relic of the 18th century.”

I Was a Marine. I Don’t Want a Gun in My Classroom. – The New York Times

“Here is something I didn’t think about: I did not think about arming myself to protect my students. President Trump on Thursday specified that he wants only certain teachers — “highly adept people, people that understand weaponry” — to be armed. I will immodestly state that among professors in the United States, I am almost certainly one of the best shooters. But I would never bring a weapon into a classroom. The presence of a firearm is always an invitation to violence. Weapons have no place in a learning environment.

Last month, the State Legislature in West Virginia, where my university is located, introduced the Campus Self-Defense Act. This would prohibit colleges and universities from designating their campuses as gun-free zones. If this act becomes law, I will resign my professorship. I will not work in an environment where professors and students pack heat.When I was a young Marine, I had to learn how to use many weapons. It was part of my mission to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States.” My mission these days is to write books and teach literature and creative writing. It’s a noble calling, too. But no one should be asked to put his life on the line for it.”

America Is the Gun – by Charles Blow – NYT

“There are things that we could do right now that could lessen the lethality of the guns currently available and we could ban some guns — neither of which is likely to happen.

I’m convinced that we must think big and systemically. We must treat gun violence in this country as a public health crisis, because it is

First, we must repeal the N.R.A.-backed Dickey Amendment, named for the man who sponsored it, former Representative Jay Dickey, an Arkansas Republican. It reads: “None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.” “

Nasty- Brutish and Trump – by Paul Krugman – NYT

“On Wednesday, after listening to the heart-rending stories of those who lost children and friends in the Parkland school shooting — while holding a cue card with empathetic-sounding phrases — Donald Trump proposed his answer: arming schoolteachers.

It says something about the state of our national discourse that this wasn’t even among the vilest, stupidest reactions to the atrocity. No, those honors go to the assertions by many conservative figures that bereaved students were being manipulated by sinister forces, or even that they were paid actors.Still, Trump’s horrible idea, taken straight from the N.R.A. playbook, was deeply revealing — and the revelation goes beyond issues of gun control. What’s going on in America right now isn’t just a culture war. It is, on the part of much of today’s right, a war on the very concept of community, of a society that uses the institution we call government to offer certain basic protections to all its members.

Before I get there, let me remind you of the obvious: We know very well how to limit gun violence, and arming civilians isn’t part of the answer.No other advanced nation experiences frequent massacres the way we do. Why? Because they impose background checks for prospective gun owners, limit the prevalence of guns in general and ban assault weapons that allow a killer to shoot dozens of people before he (it’s always a he) can be taken down. And yes, these regulations work.”