Friday, October 2, 2015

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Obama Condemns "Routine" Mass Shootings:

WASHINGTON — President Obama’s rage about gun massacres, building for years, spilled out Thursday night as he acknowledged his own powerlessness to prevent another tragedy and pleaded with voters to force change themselves.

“So tonight, as those of us who are lucky enough to hug our kids a little closer are thinking about the families who aren’t so fortunate,” the president said in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room, named for a man severely wounded by a would-be assassin’s bullet, “I’d ask the American people to think about how they can get our government to change these laws, and to save these lives and let these people grow up.”

Mr. Obama admitted that he was unable to do anything to prevent such tragedies by himself. And he did little to try to hide the anger and frustration that have deepened as he returns again and again to the White House lectern in the wake of a deadly mass shooting.


Mr. Obama took a veiled swipe at the National Rifle Association, which has successfully fought most limits on gun use and manufacture and has pushed through legislation in many states making gun ownership far easier. “And I would particularly ask America’s gun owners who are using those guns properly, safely, to hunt for sport, for protecting their families, to think about whether your views are being properly represented by the organization that suggests it is speaking for you,” he said.

Andrew Arulanandam, a spokesman for the N.R.A., declined to respond to Mr. Obama, saying that it was the organization’s policy “not to comment until all the facts are known.” Wayne LaPierre, the organization’s executive vice president, declared after the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
Right, except when it doesn't or isn't needed.

Frankly, you should watch his entire 12 minute speech...about as pissed as President Cool/Remote has ever been. 

There really is a strange myopia in the culture, though, when in the past 15 years, terrorism has killed about 3,000 (almost all of which came on 9/11/01), while homicide by firearm has killed more than 150,000. And as the president points out, there's this "routine" reaction to it that we engage in that goes something like:

Mass shooting, mass media coverage, prayers candles and tears, the president makes a statement, then we go to our separate corners and start duking it out: "It's the Guns...No it's not!", "You're politicizing it...no we're not!", "It's mental illness and lack of healthcare...not it's not!", "It's violent video games/music/porn...not it's not!", "We need more guns and less laws...no we don't!" ad nauseum.

Then next week, another 2-3 dead, maybe 4-5, then 10-12, and then start the cycle all over again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

It also follows that the first reaction to a mass shooting is an increase in gun sales ("they're comin' to take our guns!"), which then precipitates another mass shooting, which leads to more guns being sold, more death, more guns, etc. It's like Groundhog Day, only not funny.

Frankly, Obama should've dropped an F-bomb to really convey the level of frustration. How many more students (elementary school, high school, college) need to die before you do something about it?

In other "lather, rinse, repeat" news, more talk in D.C. about sentencing reform.
Months of tense and at times frustrating negotiations over the effectiveness and fairness of locking up nonviolent offenders for mandatory prison terms gave way to simple handshakes on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday morning in a bold effort to recast two decades of criminal justice policy.

The legislation proposes an extensive set of changes in federal sentencing requirements. Those changes include a reduction in mandatory minimum sentencing to five years from 10 for qualified cases and to 15 from 20 in others, and the so-called three-strike penalty is reduced to 25 years from life imprisonment.

Many of the new rules could be applied retroactively, and an estimated 6,500 people now in prison would be able to petition for new sentences should the legislation become law.

The legislation would also ban solitary confinement for juveniles in nearly all cases, and allow those sentenced as juveniles to seek a reduction in sentencing after 20 years.
I'm filing this under "lather, rinse, repeat" because it's just that...MORE talk and no action. Everyone seems to have the rhetoric down to a science, but no one is passing anything. "Well, next year we should be able to take this up and..." etc. 

My fear is that we get another crime wave (I'd say a mass shooting wave, but since they happen once a week and no one cares, it would have to be some other kind of crime wave) and then the momentum for real reform stops...like it does after the bodies of students are buried in the latest mass shooting. 

And we go back to "Hey bruh, did you hear about the latest shooting?" "Yeah, that sucks, doesn't it? Bruh, how 'bout that game Saturday!"

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