What the Hell Happened, Senators?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Shocked. Horrified. Sad. Teary. Heartbroken. Baffled. Speechless. Frightened. Hurt. I’ve been a mix of these things — sometimes all at once — in the four months since the unthinkable tragedy that happened in Newtown, CT.

But right now, today, I’m angry. Seething to the point where my ears are on fire, my heart’s beating faster, and I’m trying to keep my thoughts straight when really all I’d like to do is straight punch someone in the face.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate voted down a new gun bill that called for an expansion of background checks, extending them to include gun shows and the internet. And, do note, the expansion was not going to infringe on the much-ballyhooed Second Amendment.  This new legislation, with the expanded background checks as its centerpiece, was common sense and, in my opinion, a mere scratched-surface of this country’s glaring and serious gun problem. The bill was also supported by over 90 percent of the American public.

So where did things go wrong? How could Democrats not gather up the 60 votes they needed to pass this bill? Why didn’t the Senators, whom we’ve elected, do their goddamn jobs? What the hell happened?

Fear –no, cowardice — money and politics. That’s what. Complete bullshit, truly, and an egregious insult to the 26 lives snatched away at Sandy Hook school on December 14 and to the over 3,500 other people killed by guns since the Newtown massacre four months ago.

Speaking to the press after the gun control filibuster, President Obama called it a “a pretty shameful day” in Washington. He’s right, so very right. And he’s also angry, like me.

But the fact is most of these senators could not offer any good reason why we wouldn’t want to make it harder for criminals and those with severe mental illnesses to buy a gun… It came down to politics — the worry that that vocal minority of gun owners would come after them in future elections.” – President Obama

Standing there with the President, just a few steps over his right shoulder, was former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head during a reported assassination attempt in January 2011.

Giffords is angry too. Furious, as she said in an emotional and blistering Op-Ed in the New York Times on Wednesday. She lambasted the U.S. Senate for down-voting* the bill:

“Speaking is physically difficult for me. But my feelings are clear: I’m furious. I will not rest until we have righted the wrong these senators have done, and until we have changed our laws so we can look parents in the face and say: We are trying to keep your children safe.” – Gabrielle Giffords  

(*By the way, here’s the list of the 31 Senators, included four Democrats, who voted “nay” on this bill. Remember them come election time next year.)

Also surrounding the President were some Newtown families. I can’t begin to imagine how these broken parents, mothers, fathers, loved ones felt hearing that, essentially, the horror they are currently living will likely happen again. Another city. Another mall. Another school or moving theatre. I can’t imagine how it must sound to them, this message that what happened to you in Newtown is not enough to make us evolve and seek change.

They’ve got to be angry too.

But I know, as do you, that being angry doesn’t move the needle. Action is needed. It’s needed right. now.

Thankfully I know some smart, mobilizing mamas, like Kristin Wald and Liz Gumbinner (a.k.a. Mom 101). Kristin sent me an email with a healthy list of links outlining what we all need to know about the gun control debate — and trust when I say that she’s got plenty more vital links to share. And on the Mom 101 blog there’s this fantastic post with a list of things we can do and organizations we can join.

I’m angry and frustrated, yes, but I cannot let that render me useless. My plan: use it all to get vocal and demand action, demand safety, demand change and results.

1 Comment
  • 1
    Mom101 says:

    Frustrated, angry, ashamed…all of it. Yes. Let’s get vocal.

    I’m so glad to see you writing about this Nicole.