At a gun control themed art exhibit in Washington, D.C., I laid out the reasons why getting common sense gun control is so difficult in the U.S., and what we can do about it.
Transcript: I don’t know about you, but I’m angry. Angry that we live in a society that creates conditions that allow tragedies like Columbine and Sandy Hook to keep happening. Maybe it’s just me, but I find it appalling that as a nation, we are more concerned about protecting the right of an unbalanced individual to own an assault rifle than protecting our own children. If you were to read the death certificates of the victims of these mass shootings, I’m sure cause of death would read gun shot wounds. While technically accurate, that isn’t the real cause of death. The real cause of death is greed. The greed of the gun manufacturers, the greed of the NRA and the greed of the politicians who accept their money.
That’s why I’m angry and why I painted these pieces. You’ll notice I focused on the NRA on both of them. Why pick on this fine defender of our second amendment? Because the sole reason for their existence is to lobby congress, no, make that bribe them, not to create any gun control legislation that might hurt gun & ammo sales even a little bit, no matter regardless of the cost in human lives. Only in America do the profits of gun and ammo manufacturer’s take priority over the safety of their citizens. Only in America.
You have to give the NRA credit. They are very good at what they do. They successfully lobbied, congress to allow the Automatic Weapons Ban to expire. Why is that a big deal? Well, you have to ask yourself, if that ban was still in place, how many innocent victims would be alive today.
They call it a do-nothing congress, but that’s not true. Congress has actually passed some laws concerning guns. They passed a law protecting the gun industry from litigation. It’s the only industry that you can’t sue if you are harmed by their product. You spill some hot McDonalds’s coffee on your lap, you can sue them for a million dollars. But if you accidentally shoot yourself in the face due to a gun malfunction, you’re plumb out of luck. Congress has also made it illegal for any federal agency to spend funds to study on the correlation between gun ownership and gun deaths. These are the kind of laws the NRA has lobbied congress to pass. Angry yet?
The Sandy Hook tragedy should have been a tipping point for the direction of our gun control laws. Over 90% of a normally divided nation that rarely agrees on anything, supported a proposed bill that expanded background checks to include internet and gun shows sales. Yet congress didn’t act. It took a mere 44 senators to block a bill that millions of concerned citizens supported. That’s how powerful the NRA is. That’s how corrupt of government is. There have been over twelve thousand gun deaths since Newtown and no laws have been passed to try to protect our children. It makes me angry, and I hope it makes you angry too … angry enough to act.
It’s easy to shake our heads and blame the NRA and congress, but the reality is that it’s really up to us. In some way, each of us who doesn’t bother to demand stricter gun laws, shares some responsibility for lives lost in future tragedies. And they will keep on happening at an increasing rate unless we act to prevent them. We are either part of the problem, or part of the solution. I’m sure every one of you good people who came here today wants to be part of the solution. Right?
Good. All you have to do is contact your representatives and ask them one simple question, “How many more must die before they do something to protect our children.” How many more? We made it easy for you with these post cards you can pick up in the lobby. The late and truly great Pete Seeger, who was scheduled to be here today was all about the power and responsibility of a single individual to make a positive change. So promise me, promise Pete, promise these brave parents of Sandy hook victims, promise yourself that you will act as if lives are at stake. Because they are.