Sunday will mark 120 days since 26 people were slaughtered in a small Connecticut town. For a majority of the people in Congress, the number 26 appears to have little or no meaning, but a lot of them having been sweating out that 120 days. Shortly after the massacre, one of the cable news outlets presented a graph that showed that, while interest in gun control spikes after a mass shooting, after 120 days or so it goes back to normal levels. And while these "normal" levels are still plenty high, they're not nearly high enough to get the gun fetishists and the NRA slaves to actually do something.
(I don't know which is sadder: that there is an expiration date on concern following a mass shooting or that there have been so many of them that people are able to make graphs out of the data.)
I'll admit that, even at this advanced age, I was naïve enough to believe that things would be different this time. It was hard to believe that a sitting member of Congress could get shot in the head—and that a judge and a 9-year-old girl could be murdered in the same attack—and the gun-control needle in Congress (and the White House) barely moved. Then a guy shoots up a crowded movie theater and again nothing. But this had to be different. These were first-graders, literally shot to pieces in their classrooms, less than two weeks before Christmas. No way Congress could ignore that.
It was no surprise that the National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre came out with guns blazing. He's like a modern-day Chauncey Gardiner, an idiot who spouts idiotic sayings. People with brains in their heads think, "There's no way that anybody is going to believe that nonsense." Meanwhile, legions of other idiots are nodding their heads in unison like stoners at a Grateful Dead concert.
But you can't really blame LaPierre for stating that the only solution to gun violence is more guns. He's beholden to the gun manufacturers and nut jobs like the Koch brothers who pump tens of millions of dollars into the NRA's coffers every year. Members of Congress, however, have taken an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States and are supposed to represent their constituents.
You just knew that, right after the school shooting, the NRA would start tightening the vises on scrotums all over Capitol Hill. (However, that's not that hard to do when there's nothing inside the scrotums to provide any resistance to the vises.) Just like that, you had a steady stream of representatives and senators going on TV, spouting the same stupid things that the NRA brass was coming up with. I swear, if I had to interview one of those "lawmakers," my only question would have been, "So, what does Wayne LaPierre's junk taste like?"
Take, for instance, Georgia congressman Paul Broun, who stated (and I quote), "There are more people killed with baseball bats and hammers than are killed with guns." This ridiculous notion has a shocking number of "Yeah, huh?!" co-signers who believe it to be true. In fact, the numbers aren't even close.
According to FBI statistics, in 2011 in the United States, 8,583 people were murdered with guns. That same year, 496 were murdered with blunt objects, a category that includes baseball bats, hammers, hockey sticks, rocks, crowbars, statuettes and even electric guitars.
In fact, when it comes to murder, guns are used more than twice as often as all other methods combined, including knives, poison, bombs, fists, arson and strangulation.
In that same year, 606 people died from accidental gunshot wounds, while 18 (a stunningly high number!) died from accidents involving sports equipment and four were killed by nonpowered hand tools. (I recently wrote about how it would suck to die stupidly. How would you like to fit in the category of Accidental Death by Nonpowered Hand Tool?)
In his meager defense, Broun is known as one of the leading morons in Congress. He's one of those anti-science guys who "knows" that the Earth is only 9,000 years old.
After four months, a few states have passed a few laws. But in the U.S. Congress, a place where the best and the brightest are supposed to look out for the best interests of the rest of us ... nothing. No limits on completely unnecessary high-volume ammo magazines. No ban on military-style assault weapons. Not even a vote on universal background checks, which the NRA supported as recently as a decade ago and support for which hovers at around 90 percent of the American populace today.
(A pox on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who won't even call for a vote on many of these things because he doesn't think he can win. In his State of the Union Address, President Obama—in an obvious nod to realpolitik—said that the dead kids in Newtown at least deserved a vote. Now, they won't even get that.)
I sincerely believe that if you lined up a group of kindergartners on the Capitol steps and then gunned them down on national TV, the reaction of some members of Congress would be, "Damn, now I have to use the side entrance so I don't get blood on my shoes."