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in today's New York Times, with the title Looking for America.  My wife called it to my attention because it begins with someone I consider a close friend, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy:

“I’m sorry,” said Representative Carolyn McCarthy, her voice breaking. “I’m having a really tough time.”

She’s the former nurse from Long Island who ran for Congress in 1996 as a crusader against gun violence after her husband and son were victims of a mass shooting on a commuter train. On Friday morning, McCarthy said, she began her day by giving an interview to a journalist who was writing a general story about “how victims feel when a tragedy happens.”

“And then 15 minutes later, a tragedy happens.”

There is more in the article, both from McCarthy, and about the President's reaction.

I want to offer a few thoughts beyond the column.

If you did not watch MS-NBC yesterday or this morning, you missed my friend Carolyn.  She was on with both Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow yesterday, and on all 2 hours with Chris Hayes today.  

This is an issue that has consumed her.

She mentioned today that she had yesterday before returning home to NY had a conversation with her staff about her agenda for the next Congress, and they were surprised that she wanted to continue to focus on gun issues because of how little progress she has been able to achieve.  SHE told them she could not take another such tragedy, and then the shooting happens yesterday.

The last quote from her in the Collins piece is this:  

“I just don’t know what this country’s coming to. I don’t know who we are any more,” she said.
And yet, as we heard on Up with Chris Hayes, even as the number of guns in American hands goes up, the percentage of Americans owning guns is going down.  What we are seeing is the increase in the size of SOME personal arsenals.

There are others better equipped to discuss gun policy than am I.  I have never owned a firearm, and last fired a weapon in 1966 while still in the Marines.  I was a better than average shot, but that was at either stationary or moving targets, not under stress, not having someone shooting at me.  I wonder how many Americans who own guns have had the training to use them properly in a crisis situation.  I wonder why the only countries close to us in the percentage of people owning guns includes Yemen, hardly a model for where gun ownership indicates safety from violence.  Yes, Switzerland requires able bodied men to own weapons, LONG GUNS, as part of their militia system.  The proliferation of high capacity hand guns does not make our nation safer.

What also does not make us safe is our refusal to have honest discussions about guns.

Yes, some shooters are mentally ill.  That is another American problem, that somehow we end most of health care at the neck, treating vision, dental and mental health separately, which means that even many Americans with medical insurance lack coverage for those health issues.

Every country has a sizable contingent of mentally ill citizens. We’re the one that gives them the technological power to play god.
.  That is how Collins begins the section of her column in which she goes after the rhetoric of our gun culture, a section well worth reading and pondering.

Let me end by simply offering two more snips from Collins, ending as she ends her column.

We have come to regard ourselves — and the world has come to regard us — as a country that’s so gun happy that the right to traffic freely in the most obscene quantities of weapons is regarded as far more precious than an American’s right to health care or a good education.

We have to make ourselves better. Otherwise, the story from Connecticut is too unspeakable to bear.

On Friday, the president said: “We’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.”

Time passes. And here we are.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I wanted to be sure people saw the column (34+ / 0-)

    and to make people aware that Rep. McCarthy has been very visible on this issue, in case they want to track down the video.

    Do with this post what you will.


    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 11:06:19 AM PST

  •  When will Congress take action? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Tragic shootings like the one in Connecticut have reached the level of an epidemic. The horrifying phrase we keep hearing is  "we have to take action". But action never takes place. Congress pays lip service and then moves on without anything decisive.

    This is just one more indication that Congress is inefficient and dysfunctional. Enough of generalities, now for a specific: Congress must pass a law banning assault rifles. These weapons that have one purpose - to kill people - must be outlawed from the general public. Yes, it calls for a compromise from the NRA and gun control people, but compromise is what democracy is all about. Congress make it happen.

  •  I have hopes that this time it will be different (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wintergreen8694, nzanne

    We've had horrible shooting massacres in the country (hell this year alone with the nightmare at the Dark Knight Rises screening in Colorado), but this one may well be the breaking point. Because this was children. Not just that, young children, some as young as five years old, who had barely even begun their lives. And so many of them as well.

    If that doesn't shake people up somewhat, I don't know what will, short of someone breaking into a hospital and slaughtering an entire maternity ward of newborn babies.

  •  thank you. (0+ / 0-)

    it's good to hear someone in a position of power saying what I feel.

    A thousand Sharkeys are invading a thousand Shires every day across our country.--James Wells

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 11:46:02 AM PST

  •  Why is there not enough money to compensate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    care givers of all kinds? Because, not that we have been hooked on using money, the people tasked with managing the currency are rationing it for their own purposes and to reward their supporters.
    This is not a partisan issue. The denizens of Capitol Hill are pretty much in agreement that money has to be extracted from the populace before more can be spent on useful things. That the supply of money is as unlimited as the bits we send along the internets is simply unacceptable. If they can't use money and the law to deprive, they'd have to admit that they, our stewards, have been unjust or untrustworthy.

    Why is the President going along with the scam? Well, there's not much he can do.  And then there is always pride-- the pride of besting recalcitrants.

    We know that the typical response to rationing is hoarding. That raises the question whether the Congress rationing currency is prompting Wall Street to do the same.

    It turns out that many traditional virtues aren't. We can start with obedience, saving money and all kinds of segregation.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 11:48:43 AM PST

    •  I'm not sure where you're going with this (0+ / 0-)

      Usually I find you very insightful, but this sounds like you are responding to an entirely different diary.

      If you are linking monetary policy with weapons policy, could you please expand on it? I'm not understanding what you are trying to say -- and usually, I'm pretty good with stuff like that.

      Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation -- Walter Cronkite

      by stormicats on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 07:58:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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