Whether President Obama is re-elected or his challenger Mitt Romney is elected, the nation will not end its wars abroad or at home.
Abroad, Americans will still endure the foolishness of the war in Afghanistan.
They will still have armed forces all over the globe. They will still have clandestine drone wars. They will still have drug wars in Africa and Central America. They will still have trillion-dollar defense budgets.
At home, they will still suffer the slaughter of innocents by gun-toting psychopaths.
Recall the mass-killing sites in recent years: Virginia Tech, Columbine, Fort Hood and Tucson. And now, Aurora, Colo., with 12 dead and 58 wounded.
Yet all we hear from President Obama on the Aurora massacre are pious platitudes:
“This is a day for prayer and reflection”…“I hope all of you will keep the people of Aurora in your hearts and minds”…“May the Lord bring them comfort and healing in the hard days ahead.”
Romney offers no piety but mouths irrelevancies about Aurora: “This is a time for each of us to look into our hearts and remember how much we love one another and much we care for our great country.”
Obama and Romney also lecture on the Second Amendment, citing “the right to bear arms.” (Actually, the amendment refers to the militia in colonial days, not the right of crazies to mow down innocents.)
Yet we get nary a word from either craven candidate on what to do about mass gun killings.
Here’s an answer you won’t get from politicians: The nation needs much stricter gun controls, universal gun registration and background checks.
This requires defiance of the National Rifle Association, which is so powerful it frightens politicians into either doing its bidding or getting tossed from office.
The nation is awash with easily obtainable and unnecessary firearms because of the murderous NRA and the gutless pols. The fanatical NRA even backs the right to bear arms in airport lobbies.
But don’t forget boobus Americanus. The American boob usually rejects even the mildest gun controls.
Michael Dukakis, Democratic candidate for president in 1988, urged gun controls but the majority of Americans preferred the “freedom” opposition of George H.W. Bush.
Even today 53 percent of the American people oppose a ban on assault rifles.
Nick Anderson of the Houston Chronicle summed up in a cartoon the canards peddled by the NRA. He has a spokesman saying:
“In the wake of the recent gun violence, remember that guns don’t kill, people kill”…“It doesn’t matter were guns came from or how easy it is to get them”…“Only pay attention to the criminals who use them.”
The NRA’s official spokesman, Wayne LaPierre, spouts the same nonsense.
Speaking in New York at the U.N. conference on an arms trade treaty, LaPierre railed against “anti-freedom policies that disregard American citizens’ right to self-defense.”
Such “self-defense” permitted the Aurora killer, James Holmes, to easily buy massacre weapons like AR15s and Glock automatic pistols. (A law banning assault weapons expired in 2004. Congress refused to renew it.)
Holmes had also recently bought — no questions asked — a 6,000-round arsenal and a drum magazine holding 100 cartridges over the Internet. (He was capable of firing 50 rounds a minute.)
“It was easy as ordering a book from Amazon,” the New York Times noted.
Arms sellers love it that way. They don’t want gun controls. Profits take precedence over killings.
Neither Colorado nor federal law requires a background check and gun registration.
What is needed is less twaddle and more sensible laws, less Obama rhetoric and more action.
No one wants to take guns from hunters. Some people want guns to protect self and home.
Yet this is a gun-loving, gun-mad society, a society that kills 80 people daily with gunfire. Concealed weapons are allowed in 38 states.
Unbelievably, toys are more strictly regulated than guns.
Henry Giroux, Truthout essayist, laments that the nation is saturated by violence.
Movies and video games underscore the violence. Film ratings are fatally flawed because so-called obscenity is deemed bad but violence is OK. In other words, it’s all right to stab a breast but caressing it is taboo.
Bill Moyers, the nation’s conscience, sums up the Aurora insanity:
“The arsenal of democracy has been transformed into an arsenal of death. The NRA? It is the enabler of death, paranoid, delusional and as venomous as a scorpion.”
Jake Highton is an emeritus journalism professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.