On June 12, 2016, a man walked into the Pulse Bar in Orlando Florida and opened fire on patrons there just to enjoy life. Some of the folks were members of the LGBTQ community and some were not. Yet, what they had in common was an expectation to wake up late Sunday morning ready to enjoy life.
We know how this ended. Just as we know how it ended in San Bernadino, Sandy Hook and our own theater in Aurora and Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs.
Colorado is all too familiar with mass shootings; just mentioning Columbine triggers horrific memories of two boys gunning down students and teachers – classmates, who, twenty four hours earlier, had eaten in the cafeteria where bodies now lay in contorted positions beside overturn tables and chairs.
All of America mourned with us after Columbine, then again after Aurora and following Colorado Springs. And we grieved with the parent of Noah & Dylan and the families of the twenty other first graders from Connecticut.
This ritual of death is performed more times then I care to remember. And yet, we do nothing to stem the tide of guns in the US. Indeed two Colorado politicians were ousted from the State House for the temerity of challenging the NRA and Coloradogun owners. It is as if the wrath of Cain fell upon them.
Two days ago, Senator Cory Gardner voted no on a bill that would have removed guns from the hands of folks on the terrorist watch list. That’s right, he voted against a bill which would have blocked suspected terrorists from purchasing a Glock 9 mm, an AR15 or the Sig Sauer semi automatic used in the Orlando Massacre.
Why? Why would Cory Gardner refuse to support closing loopholes on gunchecks and gun sales to suspected terrorists?
Gardner received over $ 3.8 million dollars from the NRA. He is one of the leading Republican depositories of the mega gun lobby. He is owned, lock stock and barrel, by LaPierre. Thus, Gardner’s votes against bills which would have put a few more teeth in gun regulation is not surprising.
Gardner and the gun lobby in Colorado believe the 2nd Amendment functions as no other amendment within the Bill of Rights. They hold the mistaken belief that any regulation is tantamount to obliteration of the right. Nothing could be further from the truth; and unless Gardner was asleep in his Constitutional Law class, he knows this too.
No right is absolute. Not a one. The right to free speech has its limits-as to time, place and manner; thus, the famous admonition, “You cannot yell fire in a crowded theater.” Even freedom of religion can hit a wall, although that wall is cracking in Mississippi & North Carolina. There are a plethora of cases where parents have withheld medical attention, needed drugs or used only prayer in relation to their child’s illness. Courts have restricted such parental choice, even where religious conscience or freedom is alleged. The U.S. has libel and defamation laws which curb unfettered discretion in relation to free speech.
So why should Corey Gardner, the NRA and their acolytes think the 2nd Amendment trumps the most fundamental of rights-life and bodily integrity?
Because there is a payoff for each part of this Triangle of Death. Gardner gets the money, the NRA gets the power and the acolytes get the guns-regardless of whether shooting skeet or shooting to kill.
It’s true what they say-political whoring has its price; Cory Gardner is the NRA’s bitch.
And Coloradans? Perpetual victims of the gun lobby.