Background checks for speaking out, but not for buying a gun

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Seriously? WTF! Petula Dvorak writes for the Washington Post, At the Senate, a background check for speaking out but not for buying a gun:

It turns out, none of the deaths mattered to much of the U.S. Senate.

Not the Batman fans sitting in a dark Colorado movie theater, not the folks waiting to chat with their congresswoman outside a Tucson Safeway, not the 15-year-old hanging out with friends in a Chicago park, not the college kids trying to master German at Virginia Tech, not even the 20 first-graders cowering in their classroom at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

* * *

“Shame on you!” shouted an emotional Lori Haas from the Senate
gallery after 100 of the world’s most powerful men and women refused to
impose any new restrictions on gun ownership. Even background checks went down to defeat.

“We
were just frustrated and angry,” said Haas, whose daughter Emily was 19
when she survived two bullet wounds to the head during the Virginia
Tech massacre. It happened six years ago this week.

And what did Haas get for her emotional outburst? You aren’t going to believe it.

She
and Patricia Maisch — who also shouted “Shame on you” but is better
known as the hero who knocked a high-capacity magazine out of Loughner’s
hands before he could kill more people in Tucson — were escorted out of
the Senate gallery by Capitol Police.

“They detained us for about an hour and a half,” said Haas, 55, who lives in Richmond.

They had to turn over their IDs and wait. For what?

A background check.

“Clearly,
we need to detain and do background checks on two people who speak out,
but not on people who want to buy guns,” Haas marveled. She’s a mother
of three and a former real estate agent who will never forget that
90-mph drive to Blacksburg when she got the call that her daughter had
been shot during a spree that killed 32 people and injured at least 17.

* * *

The protections and security that we afford senators but deny others is absurd.

Haas reacted the same way many Americans did when they watched 46 senators turn their backs on a background check proposal that 90 percent of Americans want.

The
fury was immediate and visceral in my circle of friends — especially
parents, who instantly posted their Facebook versions of “Shame on you.”

* * *

See, we tried the empathy thing. Apparently, even the corpses of 20 first-graders — some of whom had holes in the small hands they held up to try and stop the bullets — couldn’t inspire enough senators to buck the bullying of the National Rifle Association.

Even after the parents of the Sandy Hook victims gave brave and ferocious testimony about how easy it is to kill children in America, and what it feels like when that child is yours, they were ignored.

I don’t think you can get much more innocent, tragic and poignant than Sandy Hook. Maybe the massacre of preschoolers, with some baby lambs thrown in, might plink one of those cold senators’ heartstrings.

But no, the sudden deaths of large numbers of people — along with the slow, violent grind of America’s daily death toll to gun violence — has not been enough to change things.

“I
know it’s a cliché, but they do have blood on their hands,” Haas said.
“Everyone I talk to, especially cops, they’re just waiting, and they
fear the next one.”

It’s going to happen again.

So after her personal background check for speaking out Wednesday, Haas
took back her driver’s license, left Capitol Hill and planned her next
move.

* * *

And it’s going to be women, moms especially, who can do this.

“Women
are a driving force in politics right now,” Haas said. As the Sandy
Hook parents learned, compassion and common sense aren’t going to turn
the suits around.

As every mom knows, you can count to one, two
and three, but eventually, booting a cowardly, insolent and unreasonable
kid from the game is the only thing that will work.

Time to give 46 senators a permanent timeout.

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