Awards for Cowardice

The grisly massacres are getting too close to me.

My oldest son, a graduate of Lewisburg High School, has lived in Boulder, Colorado for a quarter century and shops weekly in the very same King Sooper market where 10 people lost their lives this past Monday.

My wife and I watched in horror as we saw the same store that we have shopped in hundreds of times featured on TV in the news of yet another domestic terrorist massacre of innocent people. Our grandson recently submitted a job application there. The list of grisly massacres is snaking closer and closer to me and my family.

I can understand Senators' and Representatives' fear that they will be opposed in their next election by the NRA and other right-wing organizations. I remember President Clinton in his first State of the Union speech of his 2nd term lauding the 19 members of Congress who had voted for the assault rifle ban of 1994 and had lost reelection. Republicans allowed that ban to expire in 2004.

The NRA is now bankrupt, crippled by corruption, and no longer a problem. Now 70% of its members along with even more law-abiding gun owners (I am one) want gun safety regulation. Congress has the constitutional right to "regulate" arms by the same 2nd Amendment that gun rights fanatics falsely use to justify their threats and violence.

In 1996 Australia experienced the worst mass murder in its history in Port Arthur, Tasmania. That massacre that left 35 people dead. Shortly thereafter, the Australian government banned assault rifles, semi-automatic rifles, and large capacity magazines. It instituted a mandatory buyback program for all firearms banned by the 1996 law. This resulted in 650,000 banned guns and even 60,000 legal guns being turned in to be melted down. Between 1995 and 2015 gun deaths in Australia declined by 60 percent and no massacres have occurred since then.

I can understand some members of Congress not having the courage to try to gain control of guns in America. Rabid gun-rights defenders ignore the first clause of the 2nd Amendment on gun regulation and think it their constitutional right to own, display, and use any kind of gun they want. We saw how they hold that misguided prejudice higher than their love of country January 6, when many in that riotous mob were armed "2nd Amendment" fanatics.

We have seen what they are capable of in their words about killing congressional leaders, the vice president, and their project to kidnap and kill the governor of Michigan. The televised Bundy standoff between federal officers and gun rights activists in Harney County, Oregon in 2014 further demonstrates the extent of their lawlessness.

But the same Congress that seems to fear the violence promised by domestic terrorists has, over the years since WWII, glibly sent millions of Americans into the face of actual foreign violence, possibly death, in war after war after war. We give medals for bravery to some of those millions.

Were there awards for cowardice, all those members of Congress who have blocked sensible gun regulation year after year should receive one. Those who have supported sensible gun control should all receive medals for bravery.

(Sunbury Daily Item, March 28, 2021)
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