As we watched in horror the images of Las Vegas massacre, I feel sad for the families who lost their loved ones while attending a country music festival. Yet, like with every tragedy that involves mass shooting, the debate over gun control takes the center stage only to satisfy the legislators’ urge to demonstrate how concerned they are when in reality they aren’t.
Members of Congress: enough hypocrisy and stop pretending!
I could not help but wonder, as Tom Friedman did, what would have happened if the Las Vegas shooter, Stephen Paddock, were a Muslim. We will be quick to politicize the massacre. We would be quick to label all Muslims as terrorists. We would be quick to call for congressional hearings. President Trump will be quick to tweet, “I told you so”. And our beloved Congress would be quick to add more terrorism laws to unjustly scrutinize more Muslims . And Congress will echo the slogan “Similar incidents won’t happen again” over and over. How many times did we hear that jingle before: Pulse night club shooting in FL; San Bernardino, CA; Roseburg, OR; Chattanooga, TN; and Newtown, CT, among others?
But the issue at heart is not the “gun” itself because they are so many gun owners who are responsible and truly adhere to regulations and laws that administer security and safety matters. The question is why one would acquire a cache of weapons like in the case of Stephen Paddock, who had 23 weapons, mostly military style high-powered rifles, at the time of the shooting.
It is under these circumstances that Congressional leadership, if there is such, needs to step forward. It’s not about Republicans or Democrats, White or Black, Right or Left, Rich or Poor. Rather, it is about what’s right and wrong. As I argued in one of my recent speaking event the core issue in America, besides a broken tax system, mismanaged healthcare, dysfunctional education, and ballooning national debt, is there is no more honesty when debating and dealing with others: We say one thing and do another; we smile to others when we meet them, then stab them in the back; and we promise so much, but we can’t deliver. It is the pinnacle of hypocrisy that comes to define our dealings from business and politics to religion and daily interactions. I am not naïve to think that writing a few words will solve the issue. The issues in question in America today are much deeper given how divisive our nation is. And debate over gun violence is no different than immigration, climate change, national debate, and a broken tax system, among others.
While I support the constitutional right of a citizen to bear arms, amassing a cache of weapons, as in the case of Stephen Paddock, is unacceptable. I don’t want the federal government to deprive citizens of their 2nd amendment right because doing so will amount to living in a dictatorship. And America was and is founded on a well-defined constitution that allows citizens to exercise their rights but also observe and respect the law. However, I see the need for the feds to step in when one’s rights become a threat to the safety and security of others. This is what’s at the heart of the gun debate, I believe.
It pains me to see how politicians are playing politics when lives are lost, destroyed, impacted, and the long journey of recovery that awaits the injured. Shame on you Congress! There is a clear line on the sand of reality of what’s right and what’s wrong. I ask: since when have we became a nation where its politicians are serving their interests rather than the constituents who vote them in. I’ll encourage the same constituents to vote them out.
Today it was someone else’s tragedy, tomorrow it could be yours.
I’m baffled at how the Washington establishment went silence after the Las Vegas tragedy. What happened to the voices from the president on down that once yelled vociferously that defeat is not an option; yet, we could not even address the gun violence within our own borders.
Where from here: Get rid of corrupted legislators by voting them out in 2018. Forget about convincing them to do the right thing because they are swimming in a sea of denial, corruption, and greed. I strongly believe that these legislators know right from wrong, but they choose not to do the right thing because they are either bought or afraid of losing their seat. And when a legislator governs from that aspect he/she has no credibility and is doomed to fail so does the American people.
But if members of Congress have an ounce of decency, honesty, and strength of character they will not sit idle and mute in face of tragedies like Las Vegas, the Pulse, Sandy Hook, Houston, Puerto Rico, and others. They will act honorably and do what’s right. Alas, I must have been dreaming of an ideal society that once was called the United States of America.