Silence in Congress
after Orlando massacre
is a national disgrace
Rep. Jim Himes refuses to be silent on stricter gun safety laws.
More than a dozen times a sorrowful President Obama has sought to console America from the White House after yet another tragic mass shooting.
He did so again this week after the slaughter of innocents in Orlando.
The silence from the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue has been deafening – and disgraceful.
There is no reason whatsoever that the deranged misfit in Orlando could have legally purchased the killing machine he used so ruthlessly.
With its stranglehold on the majority in Congress, the National Rifle Association is the most dangerous organization in the country today. It doesn’t have to be this way.
In a rare display of courage, Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut walked out of the House of Representatives on Monday when the speaker called for a moment of silence to honor the victims of the Orlando massacre. (He was followed by three other Democrats.)
Rep. Jim Himes’ passionate call for more gun safety laws published in the Washington Post.
Himes eloquently and passionately explained his protest today in an article in the Washington Post sub-titled Silence won’t do anything to end gun violence
“If the House of Representatives had a solitary moral fiber, even a wisp of human empathy, we would spend moments not in silence, but screaming at painful volume the names of the 49 whose bodies were ripped apart in Orlando, and the previous victims and the ones before them,” Himes wrote.
He had telegraphed his intention in a tweet on Sunday.
“I will not attend one more ‘Moment of Silence’ on the Floor. Our silence does not honor the victims, it mocks them.”
Since the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut that left 20 dead, Himes has been an outspoken advocate for stricter gun control.
“In town squares, houses of worship and stadiums, moments of silence are fine emblems of our concern. But Congress houses the 535 people who could come together to pass measures that would reduce the bloody mayhem now so prominently featured in daily American life,” he wrote today.
“Congress exists to reflect the will of the people. The vast majority of Americans support measures such as universal background checks, keeping people on the no-fly list from purchasing weapons and limits on how ferocious a weapon a civilian can own. But Congress offers only silence.”
Himes is justified in his outrage.
The first poll conducted since the Orlando massacre and published today by CBS News shows overwhelming (and growing) support for stricter gun safety laws.
A stunning 89 percent favor a federal law requiring background checks on all gun buyers. The percent who support a nationwide ban on assault weapons has shot up from 44 percent in December (after the San Bernardino shootings) to 57 percent.
This continues the trend reported earlier by Gallup in October in Americans’ Desire for Stricter Gun Laws Up Sharply
“Fifty-five percent of Americans say they want laws covering the sale of firearms to be stricter than they are now, a distinct rise of eight percentage points from 2014. Fewer Americans than last year want the laws to be less strict, and the proportion who want the laws to stay the same has also declined slightly.”
The motivations of the Orlando killer are the subject of much speculation and analysis: was it ISIS-inspired terrorism, a hate crime directed at the LGBT community, or just a deranged lunatic not accountable for his actions?
But whatever his motives, there has been ample opportunity to make it more difficult for anyone who would slaughter innocent victims with weapons of mass carnage like the one used in Orlando.
But Congress has been paralyzed by its fear of the gun lobby.
The tweet from Rep. Jim Himes before his protest. Click image to enlarge.
Rep. Himes of Connecticut put it succinctly.
“… But the common element here — the bullet leaving a barrel and turning someone’s son or daughter into a bloody corpse — is one that we address only with silence.
“All I know is that the regular moments of silence on the House floor do not honor the victims of violence. They are an affront. In the chamber where change is made, they are a tepid, self-satisfying emblem of impotence and willful negligence. It is action that will stop next week’s mass shooting.
“I will not be silent.”
Let us hope and pray he is not alone.
FEEDBACK: Contact site admin directly