December 15th, 2012
28 people are dead after a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT yesterday, including 20 small children. President Obama says we need to take meaningful action. Here’s what I propose he can and should do, starting right away.
“As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it’s an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago — these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children. And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.” — President Obama press conference yesterday, which he reiterated again today
Yesterday’s massacre was so tragically bad,
That it made President Obama mad.
In addition to his personal emotional reaction,
The President has said we need to take action.
Killing kindergarteners has got to end,
And the President can start this weekend.
He should call top officials from the NRA
(He can start making the calls today).
Congressional leaders and safety advocates should be invited too,
And they should all sit down to discuss what we can do.
If that conversation doesn’t go well,
Then the President should unleash Hell.
President Obama should get pictures of each of the 27 Newtown victims, have them blown up to poster size, put them on the wall, and then call the NRA and Congressional leadership in for a meeting. The NRA should say upfront what gun safety measures they’re willing to support, because let’s be clear: they are the ones blocking even the most modest measures. If it’s not enough, President Obama should tell them that he will mount a mass outreach campaign (speeches, OFA, door knocking, protests with bloody pictures on signs) to unleash hell on the NRA and their supporters in Congress. That campaign, like the President’s reelection campaign and the outreach in support of balanced deficit reduction, should focus on the public and NRA member support for reasonable gun safety/gun control measures, and contrast that to the unreasonableness of the NRA’s and GOP’s opposition to those measures. It should be made clear to the NRA and their supporters in Congress that they will pay a very high political price, and that many (if not more) of the measures they oppose will be passed anyway.
This meeting (or at least planning for it) should take place as soon as possible, preferably before the NRA takes a public position on the massacre in order to avoid their taking a position that would cause them to be more dug in. Including the NRA would also allow for the NRA, on behalf of the gun manufacturers it represents, to make
Perhaps I’m being quixotic in my willingness to give the NRA a chance to moderate its position and return to the organizations own roots of supporting reasonable gun control/gun safety measures. I figure that’s always worth a try. Alternatively, President Obama, Dems, and gun safety advocates could just skip that part and go straight to unleashing Hell…
Here are some of thing things I think should and could to be done to avoid future tragedies:
- Restore the ban on assault weapons and extended clips
- Require background checks for all gun sales
- Require gun owners to undergo gun safety training with a NRA, state, or federally-certified program
- Allow friends, family members, school officials, or other professionals to report concerns about individuals who would then be flagged for gun purchases
- Train school counselors, doctors, and other professionals to talk to clients about gun safety
- Encourage parents of individuals (especially teen and post-teen males) with high-risk mental health problems to get rid of guns, or secure them so that those individuals don’t have access
- Increase public safety funding to counter the cuts many cities and town have been forced to make to their police, fire, and emergency departments
- Increase gun safety education
- Increase funding for mental health services, which have been cut significantly since 2009, particularly at the state level.
Here’s the opening scene from the movie that inspired our title. Try talking with the NRA and their supporters, Mr. President, as an alternative to political warfare. However, if like the Barbarians “they say no,” then be prepared “unleash hell” upon them (“People should know when they’re conquered”). As far as your troops are concerned, we stand ready to do battle. And the political risk? It is acceptable.