Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

What happened to Mom power?

I watched part of the View today while I was drying off from my shower. They were discussing the shootings in Virginia, and Rosie O'Donnell, who I don't particularly like but agree with politically most of the time, brought up something that I've been mulling over all day long. It's really bothering me, in fact.

Rosie said that gun control is impossible in this country. She said that the gun lobby is so strong and powerful that there will never ever be any chance for changing the gun laws. She used the word futile.

Futile is a very strong word. So is impossible. Put the two together, and you've made quite a statement about how hard it might be to band together to institute change. But I'm still a believer. I think Rosie might be wrong. I think with a more liberal president, and one with a brain in his freaking head, plus a democratically let Congress, it just might be possible to start making some changes. Small changes, but never the less, changes.

I saw the guy that owned the gun shop where the shooter bought his Glock semiautomatic. He was actually shaking. No, he's not going to shut down his shop and start lobbying for gun control in Virginia, a state with such wide open gun laws that anyone can get a gun immediately. But there are 5 KNOWN murders excluding yesterday's massacre that can be directly attributed to this particular gun shop. Meaning that the owner is complicit in at least 38 lost lives due to guns he sold. That's a freaking lot of people.

Anyhow, I thought back to right after Columbine, when Moms got together and marched on Washington trying to change the gun laws. Do you remember the Million Mom March? Yeah, a dim memory, right? But it happened.

The MMM didn't change a damn thing. Mostly because we had asshats in government that were still saying things like "guns don't kill people, people kill people with guns." Stupid semantics. Being slightly pollyanna-ish, I think we've actually got more Mom power now, with the advent of blogging and internet sites devoted to women's causes. I believe that we can start to have our voices be heard. I think we need to tell our representatives, our readers, our constituants that we want gun control, we want guns off our streets, we want our neighborhoods back, we want our children to be safe.

Therefore, I challange each person who is lamenting the shootings at Virginia Tech yesterday to write a post saying that you will stand up and support candidates that are working toward gun control. Say that you will not support candidates that are NRA members and believe that guns are a right guaranteed by the Constitution. We've ammended the Constitution before, we need to ammend it again. The founding fathers were not thinking about semiautomatic weapons in the hands of mentally ill young men that decide to shoot up a college campus. They were thinking about muskets, hunting, and allowing a militia to form. Not with Uzi's and AK-47's. Not in our streets. Not killing our children. Nobody wants that. Even that freak of nature, "shoot'em up Cheney" doesn't want that.

What I want, and what I hope many of you want, is for guns to be strictly controlled. For citizens to be able to own guns for hunting that are appropriate for hunting. For fully automatic and semi-automatic guns to be illegal across the board. For guns to be returned and destroyed. For handguns to disappear. For a national registry database that is strictly regulated. For a week-long waiting period. For gun permits to be displayed prominently on someone carrying a gun.

I want to eventually live in a country where kids can't buy guns on the streets. Where there aren't private gun shops. Where the purchase and sale of guns is run by a national registry in government run shops. Maybe I'm going for pie-in-the-sky, but they can do it in Australia and the UK and so many other countries. Why can we not do it here?

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Blogger Melody said...

Yes, excellent point!! I totally agree with you. Australia has got strict gun laws, which began in 1996 after a lone gunman shot and killed 22 people at Port Arthur. It was a horrible day and it shocked Australia. Most people here were (and probably still are) all for guns to be registered and handed in. Of course there were a lot of those d**kheads who loved their guns and opposed to the new law. But the law won.

America needs to do the same. But it does seem impossible. But, anything is possible...

(Thanks for buying me a book too BTW!)

18/4/07 1:49 AM  
Blogger Sharon said...

Here in the UK we still have gun violence. I saw an advert for a TV programme about gang violence in Manchester where one young boy told the presenter he could go round the corner from where they stood and get a gun - no problems. There has been shootings of a teenager in his bedroom amongst others. Nothing on the scale of what happened in VT since the Dunblane massacre fortunately. I fully support your thoughts on gun control in the US. That's the one thing that frightens me whenever I've been to the US; here in the UK we're are not used to thinking that the person next to you might have a gun. However, someone intent on violence will get hold of a gun somehow and illegally if necessary. Stricter controls are necessary yes but I don't feel that a ban will stop anyone from getting hold of a gun if they really need one.

18/4/07 3:26 AM  
Blogger Madame Courtney Whiny Complainy Pants, Esq. said...

I'm sorry Margalit, but Rosie's right. When the Second Amendment of the Constitution guarantees citizens the right to bear arms, should a militia ever be needed, guns will never be adequately controlled in this country. Plus, the NRA are RUTHLESS in their lobbying and recruitment efforts. They have a tremendous amount of money, and power, and a membership base to rival the neo-conservatives, many of whom are not neo-conservatives. Just regular guys who hunt for sport every fall.

And no liberal leader in their right mind is going to go after the Second Amendment. Clinton didn't even try it.

Do I think handguns should be harder to purchase? Yes. Should there be more background checks, hoops to jump through? Absolutely. Should guns be outlawed? NO. No, and no. There's a lovely little cliche about that, which unfortunately rings true. When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. We need only look at our own capitol city neighborhoods for proof of that.

Rosie's right. There can be better controls, but guns will never go away in this country.

18/4/07 6:07 AM  
Blogger Sechakecha said...

But with the UK, more people are stabbed to death, than over here. They have a lot of stabbing each year.

And also, just because there are stricter gun laws, doesn't mean that it'll stop anything. Australia had a horrendous school shooting 2 or 3 years ago, in Melbourne I do believe it was. Many people died there, as well. It's just sad, all around.

18/4/07 6:53 AM  
Blogger Her Majesty said...

Harsher consequences when a criminal is intercepted while packin' - it's the only answer. How harsh? How about relating to the drug confescation scenarios? "Posession with intent to use" rather than "-to sell." Set the prison times high and the idiots might begin to think in somewhat rational manners.

I'm not for stronger gun control, btw. Fewer on "the streets" would be reassuring, but is literally next to impossible.

18/4/07 1:37 PM  
Blogger Malady said...

It's funny that you should blog about this because I posted something similar today. I'm not a mom (yet) but I agree with you wholeheartedly!

18/4/07 3:08 PM  
Blogger margalit said...

It does seem almost unsolvable, but I'm afraid to be defeatist. I want to believe that we can make a difference. I NEED to believe that changes can be made.

I don't think that harsher punishments will deter anyone. They haven't worked so far, and the court system is racist and would just further angry the black community, hence bringing even more violence.

I just don't see that handguns have a place in modern society. Rifles for hunting, sure. But handguns? The only purpose for handguns is to shoot and kill other people. Why can't we rid our streets of handguns?

18/4/07 4:01 PM  
Blogger margalit said...

Sechakecha, people are stabbed here with great regularity as well. MANY of the recent deaths in my city are due to stabbing. But that doesn't mean that it's OK to have guns because people stab too. If we got rid of handguns in the US, it would be a safer society. Yes, there will always be crime, but at least there won't be 33 people mowed down in one swoop by a mentally ill guy. You can't stab 33 people in a few minutes.

Handguns are too dangerous to have in the hands of the mentally ill. The VT shooter had a history of mental illness. He had spent time institutionalized. He SHOULD NOT have been able to walk into a store and buy two guns. But in Virginia he was legally able to. That's not right!

18/4/07 4:04 PM  
Blogger Eleanor said...

Re: the situation in Australia

Yes criminals, particularly members of organised crime, still have guns here. Mostly, in such gun crimes as they commit, they shoot each other.

I don't want to sound flippant, or as though I'm diminishing anyone's death, but having lived in a city where a gang war was happening, I felt very unlikely to be shot. Mainly I avoid certain parts of the city at night, and a couple of train lines, in case a drunkard gets aggressive.

Yes, if someone really wants a gun, or to commit murder, they will manage it. Clearly gun control alone is not a solution - other social factors have to be attended to. But a lot of casual crime and accidents can be avoided if the gun isn't immediately to hand. I sincerely hope that things may change in the USA.

A final clarification: 35 were killed at Port Arthur.

18/4/07 11:41 PM  
Blogger Sechakecha said...

I just don't believe that outlawing guns are the answer. If you go to the towns, where everyone has guns, then the crime is nil, because they know if they mess with someone, then they could possibly get shot out of it. I wasn't trying to say it was OK to have guns because of stabbings, but rather that just because you don't have guns, doesn't mean that someone won't find other ways to harm a person, and it won't necisarily stop the mass murders. If this guy really wanted to, he could have just put arsnic in the cafeteria food or something of the sort.

Also, you had made mention if the democrats take office, that maybe they'll make harsher gun laws... I hate to say it, but there are more Democrats in the NRA, than republicans. They were saying that on the news last night, that with the democrats in congress, then there is no way we'll get stricter gun control laws.

I'm not trying to defend the man in the least, but one of my best friends spent time in an institution, after being sexually molested by a friend of our families years ago, and she tried to kill herself. Basically, by your reasoning, you're saying that she shouldn't be allowed a gun in her house, to protect her family against an intruder, because of something that happened when she was 13 years old.

There's too many what-if's in this whole situation... Sadly, I don't think there's really a way to stop things like this, unless if they just simply make more security at the schools, with metal detectors, etc.

19/4/07 6:51 AM  
Blogger julia said...

I'll do the blog post. I'll go one better and publish it in the magazine I write for.

I don't think guns have to be outlawed, but I think strict, strict gun control laws should be put on the books and then ENFORCED.

I saw someone last night on CNN saying that if everyone were allowed a concealed carry permit, this never would have happened. Yeah, because guns in the hands of college students sounds like a BRILLIANT idea to me. Jesus.

20/4/07 12:24 AM  

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