Nothing Has Changed

What is it called when you go through the motions of decorum and supposed action and assert that you care about something – be it a person, a cause, a terrible act of violence committed against someone – say how sad you are about it, urge everyone how badly and direly things need to change, even hold speeches and make announcements but without any real intention of actually changing things?

This is how I feel on the first anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting massacre of 26 people – most of whom were children.

Here we are, a year later, and basically nothing has changed in terms of gun laws in this country. Wal-mart still offers two-for-one deals, you can still buy all the arsenal you want online or in person and no one will as much as care to think twice why you need it. Nothing. Guns are still available galore and even our President, who seems to have shed his last piece of backbone at the door, only had this half-assed, dispassionate thing to say in his radio address today:

We have to do more to keep dangerous people from getting their hands on a gun so easily. We have to do more to heal troubled minds. We have to do everything we can to protect our children from harm and make them feel loved, and valued, and cared for.

Obama also observed a moment of silence and lit candles at the White House in honor of the victims.

How swell of him.

The gun lobby in this country is so strong and our legislators so beholden to them and the gun manufacturers that line their pockets, that even the brutal massacre of children did not present the breaking point prompting our lawmakers to enact true, meaningful gun-regulation legislation. Obama cares about and supports making communities safer but is clearly not able and/or willing to do what it takes to make them safer because I can promise you that half-assed, generic speeches about how the children are our future and how we need to teach them well and help lead them way mean diddly if those half heart-warming speeches are not backed up by meaningful legislation aimed at addressing the root cause.

Those children are dead because the NRA has made obtaining guns in this country easier than obtaining a checking account.

The only reform that did come out of this was background checks which means absolutely nothing because both the Sandy Hook assailant and the Colorado one  – and in fact most of the shooting assaialtns – did not have criminal backgrounds that would have alerted anyone in the first place. In fact, the Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza took his mother’s guns – rendering the whole background check as a condition for gun ownership quite frankly a useless piece of legislation seemingly more intent at keeping the critics quiet by giving them the illusion of victory and that something was done – even if that something was as meaningless as Obama’s first term.

Money Speaks Louder Than The Lives of Children Lost

As long as money is worshiped more than the lives of kids, you can have the entire nation stay silent for a month in memory of children lost to gun violence and still there would be no legislation coming from our leaders – Republicans and Democrats alike – in support of controlling this out-of-control society’s love affair with guns. Let’s face it, the NRA is just a tool of gun manufacturers, and those foolish enough to back the NRA in it’s war against America’s kids and therefore this country’s future, are used like so much spent shells in a shotgun.

That money, coupled with support of ignorant sheeple is the backbone that breaks the back of all common sense and decency is nothing new. See climate change, for example. The evidence of it happening is right before us, just as the evidence of gun violence is right before us in widescreen, in all it’s bright and gory and vivid technicolor 3D, but our leaders just don’t want to touch an issue when profits come before life, and this from the party that claims to be pro-life.

The GOP speaks of focusing on the mentally ill (a vulnerable and already marginalized segment of our society, the majority of whom are not violent) rather than guns, at the same time Republicans play the paranoid card and use it get their constituents “crazy” with a buzzing in their heads about black helicopters hovering over their constituents homes ready to jump out and take everyone’s guns away. It’s money however that the NRA uses to back these republicans and money gun manufacturers uses to load the guns that the NRA uses to help shoot down legislation the NRA even once supported–universal background checks.

Gun Lobby At a Glance

According to Opensecrets.org,  the National Rifle Association accounts for about 60 percent of what gun rights interest groups spent on lobbying in 2011 and the first three quarters of 2012. The other gun rights advocates include the Gun Owners of America; the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms; The National Shooting Sports FoundationSafari Club International;Boone & Crockett Club, a group that aims to preserve a “hunting heritage”; and The Ohio Gun Collectors Association.

The NRA alone has spent more than ten times as much as gun control interest groups on lobbying in 2011 and the first three quarters of 2012.

Gin control

For gun rights groups, 2012 was the most active election cyclesince 2000. They contributed a total of $3 million to candidates, 96 percent of them Republicans, through mid-October. That also makes 2012 its most Republican election cycle, with 2000 and 2002 close behind with 93 percent of contributions going to Republicans.

Even after Newtown, when a flush of new money was injected into lobbying efforts on both sides, the anti-reform effort was spending $12.2 million to gun safety’s $1.6 million — or about seven times more. As Gallup data shows public support for gun safety correlating broadly to years where reform efforts were well funded, the necessity for gun reform of competing, dollar for dollar, with its opponents has never been more urgent.

When it comes to financing their lobbying efforts, anti-reform forces have a much better system in place. First of all, the NRA and other groups that spend directly on federal lobbying themselves receive massive financial support from the gun manufacturing industry. In other words, the anti-reform movement benefits from having a large, lucrative industry — one with a financial stake in opposing new safety regulations. If there were a single industry that were docked dollars and cents every time someone was shot in America, then maybe the reform movement would have a similar sponsor. But there isn’t, and this might be one advantage the NRA always keeps.

However, industry backing is just the icing on the cake. The NRA already has a national, grassroots fundraising operates that alone can sustain millions of dollars in annual lobbying. It received $100 million (approximately half of its budget) in 2010 from voluntary contributions alone. The NRA also has agreements with many gun manufacturers and retailers where they receive a contribution with every gun sale. Additionally, the NRA Foundation gives out thousands of community grants every year, benefiting everything from gun safety programming to the Boy Scouts and no doubt contributing to the loyalty they enjoy from their base. The NRA doesn’t have to rely on current events or outrage to finance their federal lobbying efforts; they have a financing machine that allows them to have an institutional presence in Washington.

* * *

But you know, children are our future and we need to make communities safe in America blah blah yawn – let’s pick up a candle, light it and stay silent for 15 minutes and then our legislators can all go back and collect blood money from the NRA and the gun manufacturers pretending that the blood spilled in Sandy Hook or Colorado or during any of the gun violence incidences wasn’t on their hands since they did hold a vigil and talk about the importance of keeping our communities safe and even went after the mentally ill as clearly those suffering from mental illness are the problem as opposed to gun manufactures, their lobbying arms, the NRA, and the corrupt politicians  – including Obama  – who are beholden to them.

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