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Bold political…calculation

January 22, 2011

While Gabrielle Giffords has moved on to her rehab in Houston, the ongoing political fallout from the shooting has been interesting to observe. Not so much the fallacious, hypocritical counterattacks from the right wing — that’s predictable, even if it makes no sense. More interesting is the blessed silence from the Obama administration when it comes to making change from this tragedy.

As president, Obama has placed a silencer on his past backing of gun control. For instance, as a presidential candidate Obama called for reinstating the ban on assault weapons. Though Attorney General Eric Holder early in the Obama administration cited the reinstatement of the assault weapons ban as an administration priority, the White House has not pursued that goal, and Obama has side-stepped the matter when questioned about it. At a press conference last year with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Obama declined to even discuss reviving this ban. The message has been clear: Obama may think gun regulation is good policy but he also has concluded taking any action that could enrage gun owners and the gun lobby is lousy politics.

That Obama can make this calculation and make the perceived shrewd political move doesn’t surprise me. At this point, why should it? If he ever cared about keeping his promises, he has long since stopped caring about that. But it’s sad to consider that even after something like this happens, the gun lobby does not care either. They demand unquestioning, complete support for every gun and bullet and piece of hardware they can sell to the American people. It doesn’t matter if we kill each other, or if nine-year-olds get gunned down in the crossfire.

So, gun owners and the NRA can’t be swayed from their mania. Wonderful. And all manner of innocent blood, not to mention some of Gabby’s brains, are on their hands. No problem. For them. No question, we must have our machineguns, and conversion kits for what masquerade as semi-automatics, and high capacity magazines, the better to slaughter ourselves with.

What a despicable country we live in.

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