Congressman Alan Grayson was my guest this morning and I was once again reminded of how lucky we are to have him in the House of Representatives. We talked about his great floor speeches, the “Medicare We Can All Buy In To” bill he introduced in the 111th Congress, and his willingness to stand up for what’s right, among other things.
But I began today’s show by noting that this is the second anniversary of the Tuscon shooting that injured Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and others, and killed six people, including 9-year old Christina Taylor Green. I remember the pit in my stomach upon hearing the news. I was sick enough about a member of Congress being gunned down at a public event and the sketchy reporting, some of which declared her dead. But when I heard about this little girl who was so excited to meet her Representative who was shot dead, something inside me died too.
Perhaps it was because I have a daughter just two years older than Christina was. My daughter is now 4 years older than the age at which Christina will forever be frozen in time. And since that tragedy didn’t spur the national conscience into doing something drastic about insuring our children’s safety, we just lived through the unimaginable: 20 first graders gunned down inside their classroom.
This morning, Gabby Giffords, now resigned from Congress to concentrate on her rehabilitation, and her husband Mark Kelly penned an Op-Ed for USA Today, demanding sensible gun regulations. Along with their editorial, they launched an organization (yes, a PAC) called Americans for Responsible Solutions.
In encourage you to read the whole piece, but some of the highlights follow:
Special interests purporting to represent gun owners but really advancing the interests of an ideological fringe have used big money and influence to cow Congress into submission. Rather than working to find the balance between our rights and the regulation of a dangerous product, these groups have cast simple protections for our communities as existential threats to individual liberties. Rather than conducting a dialogue, they threaten those who divert from their orthodoxy with political extinction.
As a result, we are more vulnerable to gun violence. Weapons designed for the battlefield have a home in our streets. Criminals and the mentally ill can easily purchase guns by avoiding background checks. Firearm accessories designed for killing at a high rate are legal and widely available. And gun owners are less responsible for the misuse of their weapons than they are for their automobiles.
Forget the boogeyman of big, bad government coming to dispossess you of your firearms. As a Western woman and a Persian Gulf War combat veteran who have exercised our Second Amendment rights, we don’t want to take away your guns any more than we want to give up the two guns we have locked in a safe at home. What we do want is what the majority of NRA members and other Americans want: responsible changes in our laws to require responsible gun ownership and reduce gun violence….
Americans for Responsible Solutions, which we are launching today, will invite people from around the country to join a national conversation about gun violence prevention, will raise the funds necessary to balance the influence of the gun lobby, and will line up squarely behind leaders who will stand up for what’s right.
Until now, the gun lobby’s political contributions, advertising and lobbying have dwarfed spending from anti-gun violence groups. No longer. With Americans for Responsible Solutions engaging millions of people about ways to reduce gun violence and funding political activity nationwide, legislators will no longer have reason to fear the gun lobby. Other efforts such as improving mental health care and opposing illegal guns are essential, but as gun owners and survivors of gun violence, we have a unique message for Americans.
We have experienced too much death and hurt to remain idle. Our response to the Newtown massacre must consist of more than regret, sorrow and condolence. The children of Sandy Hook Elementary School and all victims of gun violence deserve fellow citizens and leaders who have the will to prevent gun violence in the future.
It’s about time. If not now, when?
And finally, I gave the details about a new project I will embark upon. My father was a gambler, and back in 1974, he wrote a book detailing his winning strategies on betting on football called How to Beat the Bookies at Pro Football. I am neither a football fan nor a gambler… but I decided to make the book available as an ebook, and to read, study and follow the system next year in an interactive blog and webcast. Then, if the system works, I’ll publish a follow-up.
Wanna work on it with me? Just let me know… this could be a lot of fun!