In last night's Republican YouTube debate, a questioner submitted this video of himself shooting what looks like an AK-type semi-automatic assault rifle at a target in the desert. In less than two seconds, self-identified NRA Life Member Jay Fox fires off six rounds. (Check the timing of the video yourself.)
Then, after he slings his rifle over his shoulder, he asks a question to the candidates for President: "What is your opinion of gun control?" After this, someone off-camera tosses him what looks like a 12-gauge pump shotgun. Then he quips, "And don't worry" - as he pumps the slide, cha-chick - "you can answer how ever you like."
The crowd roared with laughter. The candidates laughed too.
If yesterday was typical, 32 more people were murdered by guns. Their families weren't laughing last night. And remember, 32 people were murdered by guns at Virginia Tech just seven months ago. The dangerously mentally ill shooter in Blacksburg fired off about 175 rounds in less than 10 minutes with his two semi-automatic handguns.
Gun violence isn't funny. Ask Peter Read, father of Mary Read, who died at Virginia Tech. Ask Joe Samaha, father of Reema, who died at Virginia Tech. Ask Lily Habtu, a survivor of the Virginia Tech shootings, and who is still undergoing surgeries for her wounds. Ask any of the families who suffer from gun violence if guns are something to joke about.
I'm sure they would like to ask all of the Presidential candidates the following: "How would you help prevent future tragedies like Virginia Tech? Would you support the NICS Improvement Act to strengthen the Brady criminal background check system, that is currently blocked in the Senate? Will you support other common-sense legislation to strengthen our tragically weak gun laws?"
To them and many others, the candidates' answers would be taken without any humor at all.