Americans will line up for and against the recommendations promised by Vice President Joe Biden and his gun violence task force even before the recommendations start leaking out. While a holistic approach to dealing with violence in society is called for, it’s likely the lobbyists and marketing campaigns on both sides of the many issues surrounding violence will lead to another stalemate. Either nothing will happen or we’ll be left with watered-down laws, guidelines or recommendations that will do nothing to stop or prevent violence.
The scene from the 1995 film “The American President” comes to mind: Sydney Ellen Wade played by Annette Bening is arguing with her boyfriend, President Andrew Shepherd, played by Michael Douglas: Sydney lost her lobbyist job because the President played politics with an environmental bill she was pushing in favor of a crime bill:
SHEPHERD What do you think went on here today? She stops. SYDNEY I know exactly what went on here today. I got screwed. You saw the poll, you needed the crime bill, you couldn't get it on your own, so I got screwed. SHEPHERD The environment got screwed. Nothing happened to you today, Sydney. Governing is choosing. Governing is prioritizing. I've made no secret of the fact that the crime bill was my top priority. SYDNEY Well then, congratulations. It's only taken you three years to put together crime prevention legislation that has no hope of preventing crime. Ouch - that argument may come to life. There is always hope that issues ranging from better mental health care and reporting of mental health problems to cutting violence in movies, TV, games, etc., will be addressed in addition to the hot potato of banning certain weapons and high-volume ammo magazines. The sound bite from National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne Lapierre about only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun is over simplistic. Today, NRA President David Keene criticized Biden and President Obama over their anti-gun violence efforts, calling it a political project (USA Today). And the recommendations are not even out yet. It appears the NRA will never give an inch and believes we should live in a society where everyone is armed. How many more children, mothers, fathers, grandmas and grandpas have to be gunned down in a twisted cry for attention before we take away the guns and start addressing the need for violence? The questions are deeply disturbing and difficult to solve. To simply arm everyone is certainly not the answer.