** Written on December 2, 2015 by Michael “Vass” Vasquez **
There has been a political and generally partisan ideology that has been promoted for years now that has left me inflamed. It’s not the anger that some Americans achieve the American dream and others don’t. It’s not the fear of the police that do a thankless job pretty well (generally). Even effectively genuflecting in the face of ISIS and threat of fanatical radicals takes second place. What is truly disturbing at every level is taking advantage of Americans when we are emotionally vulnerable.
This is most clearly seen when America is in crisis. In the recent past, like during 9/11, the American President unified the nation. Say what you will about President Bush or Mayor Giuliani, but they stood as calming presences and they made a point of protecting a nation that was genuinely in emotional distress. That doesn’t mean they were infallible, like during Hurricane Katrina, but there was a genuine sympathy and lack of partisanship or politics in those moments of national pain.
Fast forward to now, December 2, 2015. It took Hillary Clinton just a few hours to make the horrific shooting in San Bernadino a partisan political event. She was preceded by Gov. Martin O’Malley. President Obama was quickly on their heels. Before the evening news was done, Gov. Andrew Cuomo had piped in. The number of dead and injured still had not been confirmed. Our nation is in emotional distress.
Yes, we know that all the above want to ban firearms they don’t like. We have been given clear, repeated messages that they want to restrict guns and hope to minimize the power of the 2nd Amendment. Their cause is not new. Nor is their implied promise that with just a little less freedom, with a little more regulation, Americans will never have to hear about another insane and deplorable mass shooting.
But that is just not true. It isn’t even remotely intellectually honest. In fact, it is a downright predatory thing to do.
Remember the movie Die Hard? At the end moviegoers cheered as the arrogant and obnoxious TV reporter jumped into the faces of our hero and his wife just after their ordeal had ended, to ask a stupid question, and got punched. It was a great moment because we all could sympathize with the hero, and recognized the predatory way he was using that moment for his personal gain. He deserved that punch and more.
In the real world it doesn’t quite work that way. You can’t punch the President. Candidates are beyond reach as well. Gov. Cuomo has far too many guards, and he is laying low out of fear of an arrest due to corruption so the opportunity won’t even exist.
That doesn’t make what they have done any less predatory. They are promoting a partisan political view, on the backs of the dead, at a time when the nation is at an emotional low point. It may not be as crushing a moment as 9/11, but try to tell that to the families, friends, and co-workers in California.
Moments like this, America does not need a scolding. We don’t need political leaders and hopefuls telling us effectively that this is our fault for not doing what they want. We especially don’t need to be bamboozled with a slick sales pitch that is as sincere as that lemon car you were once talked into.
Gun free zones have protected exactly 0 people from criminals, the deranged, and religious zealots. The existence of these zones are purely for the false sense of security they provide some people. Like a night light to keep away the dangerous things in the dark, except it has never worked. Not even once.
In that same vein, gun restriction legislation has had zero effect. Banning one type of rifle by giving it the label of “assault” (because of the look and not the function) does not stop the multitude of gun crimes and mass shootings. Making it harder for law abiding citizens to have a firearm has stopped 0 criminals and none of the other mentally unstable people that go on mass murder sprees. These are facts supported by statistics and the tears of the families of the dead, there is no opinion here.
California has some of the most stringent gun laws in the nation. Even more than New York, and we have the SAFE Act. Specific guns are banned. There are wait periods. There is a training course. There are background checks. There is a ton of legislation and regulation approved by a legislature that is even more liberal blue than the New York political machine can hope of becoming. Sadly none of that saved a life on December 2, 2015.
Yet the hustle was on. President Obama, Clinton, O’Malley, Cuomo, TV pundits, and scores of dyed in the wool Democrats pounced on a reeling nation. Because banning just one more type of firearm, adding just one more piece of paper to be filled out, having people wait another day, taking the freedom of just a few more Americans would make the difference. The sales pitch came fast and furious, before anyone could gather their wits and think through just what they are being asked to sign away.
It’s not like anything new is being offered. There is nothing in the statements by any of the above that we haven’t heard before. There is no new regulation being offered. Just more of the same. A crack pipe full of hope at a time when many are desperate for even a glimmer of a light at the end of the tunnel.
This is dishonest at the extreme. It’s beneath the Office of the President. It is beneath used car salesmen. We are better than this as a nation.
There should be debate on the 2nd Amendment. There should be a push to enact laws to make these kinds of senseless shootings harder to occur. We need to force the news media not to sensationalize these events, or glorify the monsters that do them. A combination of things need to happen, with some compromise on all sides.
But that is a discussion for calm rational minds to have. There is rarely ever a good life decision made during deep emotional distress. That’s true as individuals, and even more true as a nation. The abovementioned would make that argument before plunging the nation into a war with Islamic fanatical terrorists, but seem less open to that same restraint when it comes to their partisan goals. That alone should cause the public to pause.
We all should, and I have no doubt will, denounce the evil that caused this mass shooting – like all mass shootings. Depraved and soulless monsters prey on unsuspecting innocents. These are weak willed cowards, and they deserve no more than that title and description.
At the same time, we need to inject humanity in our leaders and those that would like to be our leaders. It can’t be too much to ask for a pause in the partisan rhetoric. It’s a little thing to request to know the number of people we need to mourn for, before we try to wrest rights from the public at large. It’s a moral obligation to have enough respect for the dead to acknowledge they exist before some politicians use their names to tout partisan goals.
Or is that too much to ask for?
Michael “Vass” Vasquez