Here We Go Again

Here We Go Again


Fifty-nine dead this time.

The collective handwringing; the thoughts and prayers; the stories of lives tragically lost crowding the news; funerals to come; politicians spouting mournful messages.

And then what? We know the answer. Then nothing.

What is wrong with us? How many more innocent people must die in these horrific massacres before Congress and the White House have the guts to stand up to the minority of a minority who believe that people need assault weapons for personal use?

I am not trying to repeal the Second Amendment.

If you are a hunter, hunt.

If you own a gun to protect yourself, that is your right.

But no one needs an assault weapon to hunt, or to protect family members against intruders.

No law-abiding citizen need fear reasonable rules that treat guns as being at least as dangerous as cars.

This is what I have never understood. No one protests outside the Department of Motor Vehicles that the inspectors are trying to take our cars away, that if we let them require us to get licenses before we can drive, it’s a slippery slope toward forcing us back onto bicycles. No one contends that requiring us to register our cars is a violation of our constitutional rights, or that mandatory insurance is an unconscionable limit on the constitutionally protected freedom to travel.

Reasonable regulation, limits on weapons that no law-abiding citizen needs: Take a poll and most Americans will agree with that. Try to get legislation through Congress and you’ll get your head handed to you.

And we all know why.

Years ago, I was scheduled to do one of those television food fights with a leader of the National Rifle Association – that is, until the TV booker called and said the man wouldn’t appear with me. Not because I don’t understand the issue. Not because I didn’t have the background knowledge to be able to discuss it. And not because I disagreed with him. He wanted to debate someone who disagreed with him – on everything. He wanted to debate someone who would take guns away from law-abiding citizens, no matter what kind of guns, no matter what the Second Amendment says.

The problem with me was that I was “too moderate,” too reasonable. Heaven help him if we were to have a reasonable discussion. Heaven help him if he had to explain why people need assault weapons, why people have to submit to background checks to get jobs but not guns, why they need licenses to drive cars but not to shoot someone.

The NRA thrives on polarization. If they can convince you that the choice is between confiscating guns and having no regulation of any sort, they have a chance of winning.

So they pick their opponents carefully and then caricature them as anti-American anti-Constitution, anti-freedom crazies.

And nothing happens. The NRA wins. More death. More empty sentiments of regret. More funerals. More bloodshed.

The conventional wisdom is that the only people who care enough about guns to vote the issue vote with the NRA. The fact that they may only represent a small sliver of the population doesn’t matter if they are the only ones voting the issue.

The rest of us, the reasonable middle, need to stand up and be counted. If the murder of so many innocents in Las Vegas is not enough to bring us to our feet, not enough to give courage to the fearful [fearful of losing] in Congress, then I don’t know what will.

May some good come of this horrible tragedy. For all our sakes.

Susan Estrich’s columns appear regularly in The Oklahoma Observer

October 6, 2017

About Author

Susan Estrich

Susan Estrich

Estrich served as a law clerk for Judge J. Skelly Wright of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and Justice John Paul Stevens of the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1988, she was the campaign manager for Michael Dukakis’ 1988 presidential run, even though she had never before managed a political campaign. She was the first female campaign manager of a major presidential campaign, and the first female campaign manager of the modern era. [5] [6] Estrich appears frequently on Fox News as a legal and political analyst, and has also substituted for Alan Colmes on the debate show Hannity & Colmes. She writes regular articles for the conservative website NewsMax, for which she is a pundit.[7] She is also on the Board of Editorial Contributors for USA Today.[8] She is currently a law professor at the University of Southern California Law School and a political science professor at its affiliated undergraduate school. Before joining the USC faculty in 1989, she was Professor of Law at Harvard University, where she was the youngest woman to receive tenure.[9] On January 10, 2008, Estrich joined Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, a law firm based in Los Angeles, where she chairs their Public Strategy in High Profile Litigation: Media Relations practice area. [10][11] She writes a nationally syndicated print column distributed through Creators Syndicate.

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