Last week I was on vacation. Like so many of us do this time of year, I tried to take some time off to unwind hoping to be rejuvenated when it was time to return to work. That was hard to do.
I could escape work, I could escape getting up before the crack of dawn, and I could escape meetings. What I couldn’t escape was the news. It was bad and it didn’t get better. It hit close to home in more ways than one.
Each time I learn about a black man being killed by a police officers for something that should have been a warning at best and a ticket at worst because it was allowed to escalate into a dangerous situation, I realize it could be me, my sons, my nephews and even my grandsons. That’s pretty close.
Then the killing of five innocent police officers in the city I live in happened. Watching that unfold, the sheer senselessness of the crime, then the error of misidentifying a black man as the sniper which could have easily led to another killing was almost too much to process.
When I first contemplated what I would say about this season of violence, I reasoned that the common denominator was guns and how crucial it is to demand for gun control reform. But then I thought, if babies being gunned down in their kindergarten classes, and worshippers being massacred in Bible study wouldn’t do it, will even the murder by sniper fire of on duty police officers at a peaceful rally be enough to move the needle? No. Because while the root of all this may be assault weapons, if we dig deeper we find the real culprit is what the Bible calls the root of all evil…and that is money.
There are at least 30 gun manufacturing companies headquartered in the United States that include Michigan, Utah, Texas, Oregon, Massachusetts, New York, Illinois, Washington, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, New Jersey, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Connecticut, Wyoming and Kentucky. It is currently a $15 billion dollar industry and business is booming.
Nearly 300, 000 full-time jobs in this country are related to the firearm industry. Then there is the National Rifle Association whose real mission is to keep pro-gun lawmakers in office.
Every time a mass shooting like the one in San Bernardino or Dallas happens, contributions to the NRA from individual citizens surge. The rhetoric that gets people writing checks is that gun control advocates want to take away their right to own guns.
I am a gun control advocate and I want to see the sale of assault weapons banned. That isn’t complicated. But Congress not only gets money from the NRA, they get votes from the people who support it, and for them, that’s more valuable than the lives that are lost. The right to bear arms is much more important to them than the right to see a movie and not be shot in Aurora, Colorado or to dance in a night club without being gunned down in Orlando, Florida.
When it comes to simply making it more difficult for automatic weapons to get in the hands of people who should not have them, money not only talks, it commits murder.