I was on Mark Thompson's "Make It Plain" on Sirius XM last night (I'm on every Wednesday night), and we were talking about how urban people and rural people have such different opinions on guns because they have different experiences of guns. Urban gun violence is so random, and so interwoven with the drug trade (that's a whole other discussion), that city dwellers just want to make it stop. (Although the only time I've had a loaded gun pointed at me was in the suburbs, by an Iraqi vet having a PTSD episode. A little unnerving!)
So no, it's not that we want to take away your guns. We just want gun violence against other human beings to stop. We want better odds against being a victim, and against our children being victims. We love living in the city, but we don't want to be so afraid of guns.
I lived in this one apartment on a main city artery, with an iron gate across the front entrance, and I don't know that I would have moved in without it. Shortly after I moved in, a neighborhood woman was shot in the head from a stray bullet -- while she was asleep in her bed. (This was a few blocks from me.) I said to myself, "Well, my bedroom is in the back of the building, so I'm less likely to get hit." Because that's how you think when you live in the city.
Because I live in the city, there's part of me that still can't believe we even have to call our representatives and push for such a "controversial" idea as protecting children from gun violence. That the discussion in our country is so very slanted toward fear and paranoia, keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and the severely mentally ill is what passes for radical.
That's why I'm happy that we have these outside groups to turn up the political heat. Check out this hard-hitting ad from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. They're now going after conservative Dems who support the NRA in opposing gun controls, and they're linking Rep. John Barrow's stance to the recent slaughter at Newtown:
One week ago, Barrow declared that “no new [gun] laws will have a big chance of passing in the House.” Yesterday, he commented on President Obama’s reform package, saying, “We need to find practical solutions to gun violence that are consistent with the Second Amendment, rather than having another political debate in Washington that divides Americans."
According to CSGV executive director Josh Horwitz, “Representative John Barrow has decided to put his love of the NRA above his concern for his fellow Americans. That is not acceptable.”
Noting that Barrow has received $27,250 in NRA campaign contributions over his eight-year congressional career, Horwitz added, “Rep. Barrow has been bought for the price of a new truck. It would be laughable if his lack of regard for our families’ safety wasn’t so dangerous.”
[...] The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is encouraging concerned citizens to call Representative Barrow at (202) 225-2823 to tell him to support the President’s gun policy proposals.
The CSGV also went after the newly-elected Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) for calling the White House's effort to reform our gun laws "extreme."
The Heitkamp ads, signed by four parents who lost their children in mass shootings, stated "SHAME ON YOU." They urged Americans to call Senator Heitkamp to express their disgust, and enough of them did that Heitkamp changed her position, saying, "We have a responsibility to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill."
My point is, we can stop gun violence. Finally, the tide of public opinion is overwhelmingly with us. Call your reps, call your senators, write letters to the editor. Call talk radio. Get involved.
The time is now.