On the altar of guns
How many lives must be sacrificed on the altar of the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, an amendment that appears (although clearly not to all) to connect the citizenry’s right to bear arms to the existence of a “well-regulated militia”?
And why has the concept of a “well-regulated militia” been lost in the national debate raging over gun control? True, the U.S. Supreme Court seems to have overlooked that particular phrasing in the amendment, but that only adds to the mystery (and frustration).
Finally, in the wake of so many horrendous killings by individuals armed to the teeth, some Americans — why not all? — finally are standing up to demand that something reasonable be done to modify our gun culture.
Beginning today, New York City’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, launches a $12 million advertising campaign that he hopes will change the minds of certain United States senators so they’ll now support some form of gun control. The advertisements will appear in 13 states represented by senators he has judged may finally grasp the critical importance of legislation that, if nothing else, would require universal background checks for all gun buyers.
The ad blitz will blanket those senators’ districts during the Easter congressional recess that precedes a scheduled debate over gun control legislation.
Bloomberg said he is leaving aside the debate over assault weapons for now because he realizes that the chances for any kind of significant gun control reform might be seriously jeopardized by making the assault weapon issue central to his cause.
“You don’t want to lose everything in the interest of getting the perfect,” Bloomberg told an interviewer, although he expressed his disappointment that a ban on assault weapons seems so unlikely in the present political environment.
The advertising blitz will thrust Bloomberg to the forefront of the national struggle to counter the powerful political influence enjoyed by the National Rifle Association, which is rigid and relentless in its take-no-prisoners approach to preserving the Second Amendment, come what may.
“The NRA has just had this field to itself,” Bloomberg said as he announced his own campaign. “It’s the only one that’s been speaking out. It’s time for another voice. These ads bring the voices of Americans — who overwhelmingly support comprehensive and enforceable background checks — into the discussion to move senators to immediately take action to prevent gun violence.”
Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, Wayne LaPierre, the head of the NRA, accused the New York mayor — who recently lost his highly publicized bid to ban the sale of certain extra-large containers of soft drinks in his city — of trying to “buy America” with his new campaign, but he predicted the effort will fall short.
“He can’t spend enough of his $27 billion to try to impose his will on the American public,” LaPierre said. “They don’t want him in their restaurants, they don’t want him in their homes, they don’t want him telling what food to eat. They sure don’t want him telling what self-defense firearms to own. He can’t buy America.”
But isn’t that exactly what LaPierre and his loyalists have been doing — and with considerable success — all along with their heavy financial support of politicians? Elected officials of both parties have accepted NRA contributions, and it is only reasonable to assume they will vote the way the NRA wants them to vote.
Bloomberg will spend part of his own fortune in a bid to balance the scales. Good for him, good for us. But whatever happened to that “well-regulated militia”?