the elephant in the room
WASHINGTON — In the wake of three deadly school shootings in recent weeks, President Bush convened a conference on school safety Tuesday in which Cabinet members, educators, police and students discussed ways to recognize and prevent violence.
Conspicuously absent in the all-day session was any mention of the role of firearms in the shootings, a politically volatile issue sure to inflame partisan passions in a midterm election year.
That really says it all, but I’ll add this:
If there is one thing that links together all of the horrific school shootings this year and in years past, it would be—duh!—guns. We can talk about all sorts of programs to encourage healthy communities and safe schools (and these are programs that the Bush Administration has consistently sought to cut), but if you aren’t going to talk about the damn guns, then you are just wasting our time.
The pro-shooting-people lobby will argue that it would be besides the point to talk about guns because the guy in Lancaster County had obtained his three guns legally. To this I say: That is exactly the point.
Legally or illegally, it is far too easy to buy a gun in this country. . . far too easy. And it is the pro-gun lobby—the NRA and their lily-livered supporters—that has worked overtime to make it so very easy to buy a gun (and another gun, and another gun) legally. In addition, it is those same people, with their political allies, that have worked to make the most lethal guns legal, too—do not forget that it was President Bush and his rubberstamp Republican Congress that allowed the assault weapons ban to lapse two years ago. For the President to convene yet another bullshit photo-op panel and murmur some tired clichés about violence without mentioning the instrument of the violence is not only tedious, it is hypocritical and it is offensive.
Once again, electoral politics trumps human need. Protecting Republican power supersedes protecting people—in this case, school children.
Indeed, the only thing Republicans seem interested in protecting are their own asses—not kids in schools, not pages in Congress, not soldiers in the field, not Americans from terrorism, or food-borne illness, not Africans from genocide, not Iraqis from sectarian violence, not the world from nuclear proliferation or global warming—just their own elephantine butts.