FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Time for a Nonviolent Assault on Our Blood-Stained Congress

After the horrific shooting in Orlando there are some facts we might want to consider:

* A homegrown (US-born, US citizen) Islamist terrorist committed the worst mass shooting in US history.

* The NRA defends the right of everyone—including terrorists—to obtain, possess, load, and carry assault weapons.

Many members of Congress take contributions from the National Rifle Association—261 in the 2012 cycle, for example (nearly all Republicans).

* Assault weapons are one of the most common denominators in mass shootings.

* Congress refuses to ban assault weapons or even pass seriously restrictive laws on their possession.

* President Obama has now delivered 15 post-mass shooting addresses to the nation. Almost every time he asks us to make gun control an election issue.

* We don’t.

While almost nothing qualifies as the single issue determining how the wise voter chooses, the priorities of our opinions are critical. If we cannot make the assault weapon ban—the single most common sense step with which we can begin—a top or near-top priority as we question our candidates then we are simply derelict. Automatic handguns, assault rifles—these are used to commit evil acts from coast to coast, from north to south, in our besieged nation. We let them die in Columbine high school. In Springfield, Oregon. At Virginia Tech. Sandy Hook. San Bernadino. Umqua Community College in Oregon. In the AME Church in South Carolina and in many more places—175 such mass shootings just in this year so far.

We seem to be a nation quivering in fear and hoping to placate our fear by being prepared to annihilate all comers, but this means instead that we enable more attackers rather than being prepared to handle them. The Orlando shooter killed 50 outright with more in the hospital fighting for their lives. He wasn’t stopped for more than three hours, despite a highly militarized SWAT team, and despite a highly permissive Second Amendment heavily armed populace.

It is time to end this experiment with transmogrifying the entire US into Tombstone Territory with everyone armed to the teeth prepared to either be a bad guy or take out a bad guy. It is not working. It is time to try learning new relational skills, new competencies that can de-escalate conflict, that can help those who are mentally ill, that can disarm those who might come in proximity to our children, to our friends, to our family members. These skills are not rocket science and are studied to make emergency room personnel more effective, to enable mental health workers to be safer without weapons. This is available and is so much more adaptive than our hyperarmed, aggressive culture that breeds more and more of these utterly avoidable tragedies.

More articles by:

Tom H. Hastings is core faculty in the Conflict Resolution Department at Portland State University and founding director of PeaceVoice

August 11, 2020
Richard D. Wolff
Why Capitalism is in Constant Conflict With Democracy
Paul Street
Defund Fascism, Blue and Orange
Richard C. Gross
Americans Scorned
Andrew Levine
Trump and Biden, Two Ignoble Minds Here O’erthrown
Patrick Cockburn
The Rise of Nationalism Has Led to the Increased Repression of Minorities
Sonali Kolhatkar
Trump’s Presidency is a Death Cult
Colin Todhunter
Pushing GMO Crops into India: Experts Debunk High-Level Claims of Bt Cotton Success
Valerie Croft
How Indigenous Peoples are Using Ancestral Organizing Practices to Fight Mining Corporations and Covid-19
David Rovics
Tear Gas Ted Has a Tantrum in Portland
Dean Baker
There is No Evidence That Generous Unemployment Benefits are Making It Difficult to Find Workers
Robert Fantina
War on Truth: How Kashmir Struggles for Freedom of Press
Dave Lindorff
Trump Launches Attack on Social Security and Medicare
Elizabeth Schmidt
COVID-19 Poses a Huge Threat to Stability in Africa
Parth M.N.
Coping With a Deadly Virus, a Social One, Too
Thomas Knapp
The “Election Interference” Fearmongers Think You’re Stupid
Binoy Kampmark
Mealy-Mouthed Universities: Academic Freedom and the Pavlou Problem Down Under
Alex Lawson
34 Attorneys General Call to Bust Gilead’s Pharma Monopoly on COVID Treatment Remdesivir
August 10, 2020
Gerald Sussman
Biden’s Ukrainegate Problem
Vijay Prashad – Érika Ortega Sanoja
How the U.S. Failed at Its Foreign Policy Toward Venezuela
Daniel Warner
Geneva: The Home of Lost Causes
Mike Hastie
The Police Force Stampede in Portland on August 8, 2020 
Jack Rasmus
Trump’s Executive Orders: EOs as PR and FUs
Rev. William Alberts
Cognitive Without Conscience
David Altheide
Politicizing Fear Through the News Media
F. Douglas Stephenson
Is Big Pharma More Interested in Profiteering Than Protecting Us From Coronavirus?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Money Plague
Howard Lisnoff
Revolutionaries Living in a System of Growing Fascism
Ralph Nader
Donald Trump is Defeating Himself
Lynnette Grey Bull
The Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women Human Rights Emergency is Not a Photo-Op for Ivanka Trump
Victor Grossman
Some Come, Others Go
Binoy Kampmark
Death From the Sky: Hiroshima and Normalised Atrocities
The Stop Golden Rice Network
Why We Oppose Golden Rice
Michael D. Knox
After Nagasaki, the U.S. Did Not Choose Peace
Elliot Sperber
A Tomos 
Weekend Edition
August 07, 2020
Friday - Sunday
John Davis
The COVID Interregnum
Louis Yako
20 Postcard Notes From Iraq: With Love in the Age of COVID-19
Patrick Cockburn
War and Pandemic Journalism: the Truth Can Disappear Fast
Eve Ottenberg
Fixing the COVID Numbers
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Every Which Way to Lose
Paul Street
Trump is Not Conceding: This is Happening Here
Robert Hunziker
The World on Fire
Rob Urie
Neoliberal Centrists and the American Left
John Laforge
USAF Vet Could Face ‘20 Days for 20 Bombs’ for Protest Against US H-Bombs Stationed in Germany
Andrew Levine
Clyburn’s Complaint
Kavaljit Singh
Revisiting the Idea of Pigou Wealth Tax in the Time of Covid-19
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail