National Commentary

The Blood On Their Hands

A big headline in The Washington Post the very day after the latest mass killing in Colorado read, “Both Parties Agree, Colorado Shooting Won’t Change Gun Laws.” Just what our children need to see following in the wake of all the images of the bloody horror of the wanton slaughter of innocents in the most innocent of places.

Yes, children, the adults in our society, those you are supposed to look up to and respect who are charged with making sure we’re safe and happy, they agree that they won’t do a damn thing about what just happened!

Is this how jaundiced, cynical and bought off official Washington has become, that we take this in stride as if it makes any sense whatsoever?

It just won’t do. The images of the slaughter are just too fresh, and like many things in the age of the Internet, they won’t go away. The contrast between reality and politics has become too obvious.

If that wasn’t evident in the way the nation has abandoned its commitment to the well-being of its people in favor of special, monied interests before, then something like the latest shooting, and especially the grievously inadequate public policy response to it, may drive it home. How can anybody care to vote for anybody in this kind of environment, with this kind of thing going on?

Now, there is no doubt the Republicans are far more deeply embedded in the smelly orifices of the gun lobby than the Democrats, and there are principled Democrats who are genuinely distraught with the way that gun lobby has paralyzed the nation against any ability to restrain the access of 100-round Army firepower from any average citizen.

But there is also no doubt that millions of Americans are being rendered cynical and hopeless by the overarching bipartisan sense that nothing will change.

It is the same as the Sandusky child rape case, or the protections provided from high up to predator priests in the Catholic Church. The crimes of protection and cover up are, arguably, even more heinous than the rapes, themselves.

That’s because they sanction such behavior, and ensure it will continue. It’s not just a case of one bad apple here or there that can be rooted out. No, it’s the case of a systematic policy that permits a continuation of a criminal process, of more and more criminal acts, veritably sanctioned as such.

The case of egregious gun violence is the same. It’s one thing for a maniac to kill. It’s another, worse thing for responsible, allegedly sane adults to do nothing to deter it, to be effectively sanctioning the next effort at such a mass killing.

Can anyone see how political inaction is actually encouraging the next inevitable debacle?

The words of Romney and Obama are equally dissembling and profoundly discouraging. Will tougher laws – such as keeping Army bunker-buster firepower out of the hands of ordinary people – prevent another Colorado-style killing? Romney throws his hands into the air and says, “No.” Obama says only that existing laws need to be better enforced.

So in response to last weekend’s massacre, we the people are allowed only to mourn. We, like slavish, mewling sheep, are supposed to bleat our pain but never to permit our anguish to be honed into a laser-like anger against anyone in public office who won’t even try to deter such things.

There is some kind of a profound injustice at work here, something that is so terribly wrong that a lazy recline into business as usual by our so-called leaders only fuels the indictments of nature, herself, against them.

In our society today, for the sensitive person, there are a lot of things to be upset about. We citizens take our cues from those we feel are working to redress the wrongs we see. But when no one is even suggesting that a cruel wrong be righted, how are we left? What is our recourse, except for what the providers of “bread and circuses” offer us?

Yes, just as mighty Rome crumbled into dust, there are absolutely no guarantees the same fate does not await us.

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