Another day, another filibuster in the United States Senate. That is how the world’s most deliberative legislative body works these days. The Senate has become a graveyard for legislation that cannot garner to 60 votes. Now a gang of 14 Senators are threatening to filibuster any gun control legislation.
It is one thing to kill legislation. But the threatened filibuster on gun control legislation now puts human lives into the cross hairs.
The gang of 14, and likely growing, potential filibuster is really no surprise. The lead up through the hearing process was as disgraceful as anything I have witnessed. Even Senators turned against one another when freshman Ted Cruz tried to embarrass Diane Feinstein.
But the worst moment happened a couple of months back when a Senate committee held a hearing on gun control. The common talking points from pro gun witnesses, which defined reason, could be summed up in one phrase: women need more bullets.
As fate would have it, I was re-watching the fourth season of 24 when the news broke on the hearing. One episode has Chloe O’Brian, the star computer geek of the series, gun down a terrorist with an assault rifle. I thought my God, Chloe O’Brian of CTU fame was there in that Senate hearing room!
Whether or not the NRA Congressional lobbyists got their talking points from 24, their latest arguments against gun control simply fail the common sense test. Even worse, they incorporated the emotion of fear to steer the discussion into a land of make believe!
Seriously, how many women are asking their husbands or boyfriends for any gun let alone one with a high-capacity magazine? Does anyone know of a man who was awaken by their wife or significant other in the middle of the night with them holding a gun to their head and whispering, you have to ask yourself, do you feel lucky tonight, punk?
On the issue of background checks, the president of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre stated that criminals would never submit to them. So, why have them at all? He also played the survivalist card for a reason why people need to own assault rifles. Really, Wayne, have you lost your mind?
I am willing to bet the majority of rank and file members of the NRA are good people with reasonable views. Polls back up that point. The leadership is another matter all together. Their job is to raise big money. When one drives by the NRA building in Fairfax, VA there is no doubt that the organization requires serious money. There is no doubt in my mind that they are using the Second Amendment as a threat to help them with that goal.
The real issue, on which all Americans should coalesce, is how to prevent as many gun deaths as possible in the United States. No one ever argues for taking guns away from law-abiding citizens. No solution will ever be fool proof but we must try just as vigorously as we do on any other health issue.
My sense is the leadership of the NRA is making it increasingly likely that the very goal they seek to prevent, severe limits on the Second Amendment with respect to all guns, will happen. With every mass killing, the nation’s appetite for their irrational arguments diminishes. Plus, serious money is now lining up to fight the NRA on a Congressional district by district basis.
Here are two new ideas to consider. One, rank and file NRA members should just form a new group from within. The leadership has gone so far out of sync with most reasonable middle of the road thinking, that they should not be supported. Second, the nation, as a matter of public policy, should amend the Second amendment, to disallow assault rifles. These weapons deserve a category all their own. No serious hunter that is a true sportsman would ever use one. They can only be used to kill human beings. If someone is dying to imitate Chloe O’Brian, why not just rent one at a gun range.
Jack Bauer and the rest of the cast of 24 put on an incredible show. But with each passing day that sees more and more innocent Americans killed by guns, life must no longer imitate art.