Where this photo comes from is a bit of a complicated story, and if you want the details, you can go to my sources, David Atkins’ article, Two of the Most Heartbreaking Photos You Will See All Year. The picture of two of the fathers of boys involved in the Isla Vista killings—one of the perpetrator and the other of one of his victims. Both boys are dead now, of course. They met on 1 June and the photos were just released. They are already working together to end gun violence. And the photos are heartbreaking.
Atkins wrote, “Any politician who looks into the eyes of these two men and does nothing to curb the proliferation of guns in America deserves universal scorn and public shaming.” Of course, we all know that. Sadly, we also all know that they will not get universal scorn and public shaming. In fact, it will work the other way around. Any politician (Republicans most especially) who even suggests that the smallest thing be done about gun violence will be publicly shamed. And as usual, the NRA will get their folks out to vote while the vast majority of people who want sensible gun restrictions will sit at home and watch as any politicians who does anything is thrown out of office.
This isn’t just an issue of the NRA being a lobbying group for gun manufacturers. It is also the case that there is a sizable group of people who are not only single issue voters, they are single letter voters. The NRA rates the candidate and the members vote for whoever happens to have a higher rating, even if the politician would get an F on every other issue that the NRA member cares about.
There were seven people killed at Isla Vista. There were 27 at Sandy Hook. And not only was nothing done after that shooting, there are a whole bunch of people who claim the shooting never took place. Really, enter “Sandy Hook” into Google, and it will offer you, “Sandy Hook conspiracy.” Enter “Sandy Hook shooting,” and it will offer you “Sandy Hook shooting fake.” The same thing doesn’t happen when you enter “Isla Vista shooting.” But give it time.
As I’ve argued for a long time, this isn’t about gun rights. After all, there isn’t a mass movement calling for the right to own flame throwers, bazookas, and nuclear bombs. This is a mass movement developed by the gun manufacturers’ lobby. This is all about profits. And it isn’t just guns. It’s everything. The rallying cry of the conservative movement ought to be, “Profits Before People!” Because that is what they think. Just to take a single example at random: over the last four decades, almost 2,000 coal miners died each year of black lung. Yet all we hear about is how coal companies might lose profits if we modernize our power plants.
I ask you: what are 30,000 gun deaths per year in this country compared to the $30 billion gun industry? That’s only a million dollars per person. Is a human life really worth a million dollars? To the people who make that money, the answer is clear enough: no.