I don’t usually post anything overtly political on this blog. And I’m still not sure if I want to; I’ve started, and then trashed, several versions of this post.
I watched several of Monday’s late night talk shows on my TiVo last night. They all, as expected, addressed the Orlando shooting. The NY Times has a good overview of the late-night response to the shooting here. One thing I noticed about all of these responses is that there was a bit of a “meta” aspect to them. They all mentioned the awful frequency with which these incidents are happening, and the standard pattern of responses that we all seem to fall into after a shooting. And they all included a call to action, though with varying levels of vagueness.
I’ve always been a proponent of reasonable gun control. And honestly I can’t even understand why anyone wouldn’t be. I can understand some difference of opinion on specifics, but I really don’t understand why anyone would think that it’s a good idea to allow anyone to buy an assault rifle, especially someone with a history of mental problems, or someone with a record of spousal abuse, or someone who has been investigated by the FBI for links to terrorism.
The NY Times has an article titled How They Got Their Guns, which they first posted last year (I think) and have updated to cover more recent shootings. The key takeaway: “At least eight gunmen had criminal histories or documented mental health problems that did not prevent them from obtaining their weapons.”
There’s been a lot of talk on TV about the NRA and about how they’ve blocked any reasonable gun control legislation from being passed over the last couple of decades. But something that occurred to me recently was that there has been very little talk about any particular organization opposing the NRA. So I used my old friend, the internet, to see if there was any actual meaningful and organized opposition to the NRA. And, of course, there is. The two main organizations seem to be the Brady Campaign and Everytown for Gun Safety.
The Brady Campaign is named for James Brady and has been around since 1974 (originally under a different name). Some useful history of the organization can be found on Wikipedia.
Everytown is a much newer organization, founded in 2014, as a combination of Michael Bloomberg’s gun control group with another group. It has some pretty high profile people on its board, including Bloomberg and Warren Buffett. Their Wikipedia page is also a good place to start for background info on them.
Both of these organizations have reasonable, moderate, agendas. I’m not entirely sure how effective they are, or how good they are at managing donations, but they both seem to be on the right path. So I guess all I’m saying here is, if you’re as bothered by all of this as I am, maybe look into supporting groups like these.
OK, that’s it for politics. I promise my next blog post will either be about comics or all the keen new Apple stuff that was announced at WWDC this week.