You Tell Them, Gabby!

gabby (1)In the wake of the shameful surrender to the N.R.A. by cowardly members of what should be the most powerful, courageous and decent legislative institution in the free world, a person who has seen gun violence up-close-and-personal, a person who narrowly survived gun violence and who will probably suffer the consequences for the rest of her life, has spoken up against those cowards.

You must read it here.

This is some of what Gabrielle Giffords has to say:

SENATORS say they fear the N.R.A. and the gun lobby. But I think that fear must be nothing compared to the fear the first graders in Sandy Hook Elementary School felt as their lives ended in a hail of bullets. The fear that those children who survived the massacre must feel every time they remember their teachers stacking them into closets and bathrooms, whispering that they loved them, so that love would be the last thing the students heard if the gunman found them

On Wednesday, a minority of senators gave into fear and blocked common-sense legislation that would have made it harder for criminals and people with dangerous mental illnesses to get hold of deadly firearms — a bill that could prevent future tragedies like those in Newtown, Conn., Aurora, Colo., Blacksburg, Va., and too many communities to count.

Some of the senators who voted against the background-check amendments have met with grieving parents whose children were murdered at Sandy Hook, in Newtown. Some of the senators who voted no have also looked into my eyes as I talked about my experience being shot in the head at point-blank range in suburban Tucson two years ago, and expressed sympathy for the 18 other people shot besides me, 6 of whom died. These senators have heard from their constituents — who polls show overwhelmingly favored expanding background checks. And still these senators decided to do nothing. Shame on them.

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These senators made their decision based on political fear and on cold calculations about the money of special interests like the National Rifle Association, which in the last election cycle spent around $25 million on contributions, lobbying and outside spending.

Speaking is physically difficult for me. But my feelings are clear: I’m furious. I will not rest until we have righted the wrong these senators have done, and until we have changed our laws so we can look parents in the face and say: We are trying to keep your children safe. We cannot allow the status quo — desperately protected by the gun lobby so that they can make more money by spreading fear and misinformation — to go on.

I am asking every reasonable American to help me tell the truth about the cowardice these senators demonstrated. I am asking for mothers to stop these lawmakers at the grocery store and tell them: You’ve lost my vote. I am asking activists to unsubscribe from these senators’ e-mail lists and to stop giving them money. I’m asking citizens to go to their offices and say: You’ve disappointed me, and there will be consequences.

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[The Senators] will try to hide their decision behind grand talk, behind willfully false accounts of what the bill might have done — trust me, I know how politicians talk when they want to distract you — but their decision was based on a misplaced sense of self-interest. I say misplaced, because to preserve their dignity and their legacy, they should have heeded the voices of their constituents. They should have honored the legacy of the thousands of victims of gun violence and their families, who have begged for action, not because it would bring their loved ones back, but so that others might be spared their agony.

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Mark my words: if we cannot make our communities safer with the Congress we have now, we will use every means available to make sure we have a different Congress, one that puts communities’ interests ahead of the gun lobby’s. To do nothing while others are in danger is not the American way.

Note: This post has been edited to include the opening paragraph — perhaps the most emotional part –of Gabrielle Giffords’ powerful Op-Ed in today’s New York Times.

Author: DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

11 Comments

  1. Why on earth would the GOP oppose setting some restrictions on letting crazy and criminal people buy firearms? That is just simple common sense. What are they going to oppose next, stop lights? That those red/yellow/green bastards are just tools of an oppressive govt bent on taking away our right to drive wherever and whenever we want? Who are they to tell me to stop in the car I bought with my own money!

    The GOP is just insane.

  2. Yeah, and kids should be put in a smoke chamber at birth so they can know the joys of smoking with a Big-Gulp chaser.
    And, they are insane.

  3. “Why on earth would the GOP oppose setting some restrictions on letting crazy and criminal people buy firearms?”

    I think there is D and R consensus against letting the criminal and mentally ill buy firearms.

  4. At this point, I don’t know what could possibly make things change.

    Giffords is a former legislator. She knows how things work on the Hill. And she is ashamed.

    Giffords was always a 2nd Amendment supporter. She and her husband are gun owners. And she is ashamed.

    To put it mildly, Giffords is a victim of gun violence. She is a walking (albeit slowly), talking (albeit slowly) example of what gun violence can do. Yet while she was given a standing ovation upon her return to the halls of Congress, many of the very same people who stood and applauded her courage and tenacity turned around and deliberately began undermining any legislation which might restrict the ability of people like the guy who shot her in the head to stockpile firearms.

    It isn’t hard to understand her anger. She knows of what she speaks. More than perhaps anyone, she is at the nexus of the gun debate. Legislator…gun owner…victim.

    I imagine it would be difficult to look this woman in the eye and say “I’m sorry Gabby, but you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.” Yet that is more or less exactly what happened.

    The people who voted against this measure are so afraid of offending Wayne LaPierre that they told Gabby (and the victims of Newtown, and Aurora, and Virginia Tech, etc. etc. etc.) “no, we’re not going to help you.”

    I fully understand why she used the word “furious.”

  5. “I imagine it would be difficult to look this woman in the eye and say “I’m sorry Gabby, but you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.” Yet that is more or less exactly what happened.”

    Thanks, cjjack.

    In my opinion some of these hypocritical cowards did more than just mock her and her words — they stabbed her in the back.

  6. In my opinion some of these hypocritical cowards did more than just mock her and her words — they stabbed her in the back.

    I wholeheartedly agree but still the right is once again trying to sell their ‘both sides do it’ false equivalency line of misinformation and deception.

    Hey Mr. Republican… 42 R’s to 4 D’s isn’t what most would consider equal.

  7. The GOP is just insane.

    No argument here. They’ve worked overtime to earn the label and they deserve it. And good for Gabby Giffords, what she says is absolutely right. Those who bowed down to the NRA are cowards and cads.

    And thanks Steve for the ever necessary reminder. The “both sides” reflex as employed is almost always absent context or degree – which renders it bogus. Still it enjoys much popularity… go figure.

  8. zephyr, would you agree that 98% of all people in America are in favor of keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill? That’s what I was referring to.

    I was not and am not defending those who vote against expanding background checks. It makes no sense to me.

    To be clear, I am not a Republican, I don’t own a gun and I am in favor of increased gun control.

  9. For those interested in the “Rights” reaction, here’s a nice overview…

    How Conservative Media Reacted To Senate Republicans Blocking Stronger Gun Laws
    .
    In an op-ed for The Washington Times, Jeffrey Scott Shapiro opined that family members of Newtown victims — many of whom advocated for the passage of stronger gun laws — did not deserve to be heard because of his apparent belief that background checks infringe on the Second Amendment.
    .
    [...]
    .
    Right-wing blogger Glenn Reynolds, who writes under the pseudonym Instapundit, responded to a Tweet in which Giffords said that the “Senate ignored the will of the people” and added, “Im not giving up,” by advising her, “Try more respect and reason, less emotional bullying next time.
    .
    [...]
    .
    National Rifle Association News host Cam Edwards attempted a play on words by comparing a compromise to expand background checks proposed by Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) to a malignant “toomer” that was “skillfully cut out by a team of 54 surgeons”:
    .
    [...]
    .
    Fox News contributor Erick Erickson framed the legislation as a constitutional issue and gloated in an April 17 blog post that “We Win. They Lose.” In his piece, Erickson also praised the efforts of Gun Owners of America — an extremist group whose leader has been linked to white supremacists — in opposing the background checks compromise:
    .
    [...]
    .
    Fox News Radio reporter Todd Starnes sent a flurry of Tweets after the background check compromise failed where he called Obama’s Rose Garden speech a “shameless sham,” accused the president of “using human props” and of needing an “an anger management class,” while claiming that “the Senate did the will of the people.”
    .
    [...]
    .
    The editorial board of The Washington Times thanked the National Rifle Association “which led the fight to protect the rights of all” and characterized the defeat of the background checks compromise as “a resounding victory for the plain and simple language of the Second Amendment.”

    And then there’s the real wing-nut wacko’s (the kind some here try and pretend don’t exist.)

    Note: Read the feedback in the comments section and you’ll think the article mild.

    Giffords’ Media W@#!* Husband Mark Kelly Threatens To Back Challenger To GOP Sen. Jeff Flake If He Doesn’t Vote For Gun Bill

  10. KP, the desire for background checks crosses party lines but only in the populace at large. When it comes to political leadership the GOP and it’s standard bearers are (as usual) out of step and sometimes downright sociopathic. Whose fault is it they have power? I would submit it is the people who vote for them.

  11. That’s fair. I appreciate you not calling me out. To others, tone it down. I voted for Dianne Feinstein.

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