Last Tuesday, President Obama revealed several new executive initiatives intended to help curb the epidemic of gun violence in this country. Although derided by some as moves intended to further his “gun control agenda”, the new measures actually contained very little that could be construed as actual attempts to control gun ownership.
One of his main points was to make those “in the business of selling firearms” to register as dealers, with the responsibilities and limitations that designation carries. It doesn’t seem that somebody who earns their primary income this way should have been able to say that they weren’t a dealer in the first place.
Another measure would be to require background checks of customers at gun shows as are required at other retail outlets. This also seems like common sense. Why have a rule that applies some places and not others? The argument that criminals don’t purchase guns legally and thus avoid background checks anyway seems irrelevant. Theft and murder aren’t eliminated by laws against them, but does that mean that we shouldn’t bother with those laws?
Recently my wife obtained her pistol permit after a lengthy process which included a background check by the FBI. I’m comforted by the fact that if she had a previously undisclosed attempted murder conviction for assaulting an ex or a long stay in a psychiatric facility for psychotic delusions it would at least be harder for her to obtain weaponry.
I wasn’t surprised by the immediate condemnation of the President’s words and ideas by many. There is a segment of the population that will always jump to the conclusion that the government is trying to kick down down their doors and deprive them of their second amendment right anytime there is any proposal that brings us further from the freedoms of the western frontier of the 1800s.
I was surprised by the amount of vitriol directed towards him for crying.
While discussing the 2012 shooting in Newtown, Connecticut that left twenty children and six adults dead, the President of the United States of America stopped to wipe away tears. The man that the press used to refer to as “President Spock” was now being mocked for showing emotion.
I remember that December morning. I cried. While deciding whether or not to write this piece I re-read some of the police reports and accounts from that day and I cried again.
Some have said that the President is supposed to be stronger than that. That he showed the world his weakness and emboldened our enemies. I agree that I want somebody strong in charge, but there is a difference between strength and bluster. Don’t we also want one of the most powerful people in the world to be empathetic and capable of compassion?
My purpose here isn’t to defend Barack Obama, as I’ve been disappointed by him on multiple issues, or to further any type of perceived ant-gun agenda of my own. I don’t have one. My agenda is one of common sense and reasonable dialogue, one of compromise and sanity. I don’t understand the complete opposition to measures that ensure protection of rights while also potentially making a tragedy like Sandy Hook less likely in the future.
Cable “news” has long ago turned into nothing more than partisan propaganda. The days of political neutrality and unbiased reporting a thing of the past. Accusing a father of two of faking his tears or comparing him to female genitalia seems to be a new low for an industry that I wouldn’t have thought could sink any lower.
I’m also a father of two, and I cry. I’m particularly prone to tears when I think of small children being systematically hunted down and slaughtered. I would have grave concerns about a society run by somebody that didn’t.