During Wayne LaPierre’s speech at CPAC 2013 he said the universal background checks of firearms purchases won’t stop gun violence, but would serve agendas of people “bent on destroying the Second Amendment.” For this he received lots of cheers and applause from his conservative friends.
LaPierre and the NRA led the resistance to proposals to toughen gun laws in the aftermath of the Connecticut massacre that killed 20 children in December of 2012.
From Tom Cohen of CNN “According to LaPierre, an arrogant political and media elite wants to subvert the bedrock right to freedom that he said made America better than other countries.”
As I wrote in my column Did God Grant us American Exceptionalism? I’ll bet the other 6.8 billion people on the planet might disagree.
Even when we witness the tragedy of mass killings of innocents we can’t seem to come to our own aid. We remain in our own tangled web of toxic political discourse. Both sides line up to blame the other. Three hundred million guns are too many. Three hundred million guns are too few. We are deluged with political rhetoric to prove the other side is using these disasters to their political advantage. We have sunk to the lowest common denominator as a benchmark of political propriety.
There was a time when I believed that mass murders of innocent human beings just might result in civil dialogue in America. A time when we could all stand on the same side of this critical issue and look for remedies together. I think it was my naiveté. I now believe there is no issue that can escape the polarity that poisons our public discourse; no issue that cannot be used for political gain.
Every thought and utterance needs to be placed in the context of our political disagreements. These horrible shooting tragedies are being used like just any other event on the political stage. Even dying children can’t be considered a good reason to raise us from political paralysis. We seem duty bound to take sides and use them as a wedge in this sickening charade we call intelligent discussion.
The dead will be buried. The wounded will heal. The next major news event will pop up out of nowhere and we’ll forget the victims. But what will remain in the minds of many is the deepening moral bankruptcy that defines the American narrative on gun control.
But there is hope, albeit only a glimmer. I go to this story from the San Francisco Chronicle to rekindle my spirits about the tangled web that constitutes our national dialogue on the second amendment. It reminds me webs can still be untangled by people of good will.
“A female humpback whale had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso, a line tugging in her mouth. A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farallon Islands (outside the Golden Gate ) and radioed an environmental group for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her. They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her. When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed them gently around as she was thanking them. Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives. The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth said her eyes were following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.”
So when I read a heart-warming story about people helping a whale and that whale showing gratitude, I’m encouraged. I’m encouraged that there are still coordinated actions we can take without the influence of politics. Of course, I’m glad the whale is apolitical because if it was a donkey or an elephant, they may have let it drown.