We the People: BETRAYED

Forty-one Republican Senators, in the back pockets of special interest groups, voted as one to prevent a law for background checks of gun buyers at gun shows. President Obama described it perfectly: “We’ve been betrayed by liars and cowards. It’s shameful.”

Mayor Bloomberg characterized it accurately: “The children lost … and the criminals won.”

Forty of the Republicans receive money from gun lobbyists. Dan Coats of Indiana received gun group donations three weeks before the vote, Ted Cruz of Texas got $14,000 from Gun Owners of America and another group, Richard Burr of North Carolina received money from an ammunition manufacturer, and Jeff Flake of Arizona delivered his vote and received $5,000 from The Madison Project, a gun rights group.

Dozens of GOP Senators like Rob Portman of Ohio and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire jumped on the NRA war wagon. Republican Chuck Grassley of Ohio offered a nonsensical explanation for his vote — “the real way to fight crime is to prosecute criminals.” The bill he voted against was a gun rights bill and not a crime bill.

If 45 senators — whose greatest talent is to extend their hands, palms up, to anyone with money — are permitted to thwart the will of 90 percent of Americans who support background checks, then we have disgraced ourselves.

A U.S. senator must vote his or her conscience and represent the wishes of constituents, but this shameful refusal to debate a sensible measure to provide accountability for gun purchasers is so outrageous that the people must act.

All that is necessary for evil to prevail in the world is for good men to do nothing. If the Senate is content to do nothing, then we the people must do something. We cannot follow the cowardly example set by Congress. We must unite and act. The people from California to New York must support candidates willing to dislodge these timid toadies from their seats of power.

Locally, City Councilmember Lew Fidler has called for the addition of a moment of silence to the school day in public schools. The idea is a good one. The moment is not for prayer but for reflection or any other reasonable purpose. Our children — who are constantly bombarded with images and entertainment that glorify violent behavior — would benefit from an opportunity for quiet reflection.

The American people are moral, hard-working and empathetic. They help their families and fellow citizens in ways great and small. These qualities were bravely displayed by the Boston police officers who tracked down the gutless creatures who detonated bombs during the Boston Marathon.

Across the land, the quiet heroes who work hard and help each other deserve laws and regulations which keep them safe. Background checks for gun purchases, whether at a store or a gun show, should be the law of the land without any debate.

Speed cameras should already be making travel safer for the streets of Brooklyn. Local residents recently protested outside Senator Golden’s office due to his stand against speed cameras.

If our elected representatives refuse to act on our behalf, it is utter folly to accept the will of the well-financed few over the will of the many. It is no infringement on the rights of a gun owner to insist on a reasonable background check before a gun purchase.

These checks might upset Mike Long and the Conservative Party, but the fact that we are forced to endure this farcical situation due to the culture of pay to play and money politics in Washington should push every citizen of Brooklyn into action.

We must write, march and donate in order to change the game being played in Washington, D.C. and in Albany.

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