16 June 2017

Cogito Ergo Non Serviam

Shooting of Congressman Scalise Temporarily Unites Congress, Not the Country

The shooting of Congressman Steve Scalise (R-LA) along with a few others seemed to grab Congress by the lapels and give it a good shake. Since the congressman took a bullet to the hip fired by a disturbed man whom police killed in ending the incident, America's legislators have held hands and sung "Kumbaya" at the top of their lungs. Sadly, the shooting only united Congress, temporarily. It hasn't done a thing to unite the country. Rather, it illustrates just how out of touch legislators are.

This journal doesn't wish to diminish the serious nature of an attempted assassination of an elected leader. Such attacks threaten the security of the Republic. No nation can be governed of, by and for its people if the individuals the people choose to lead are murdered. It is the veto of the bullet, and it opens the door to chaos followed by dictatorship.

At the same time, the US has experienced mass shootings almost every day this month, and Congress did nothing. The legislators have been on TV saying how very much they like one another, and they keep referring to themselves as a family. Perhaps, that is an accurate description. However, they were elected to look out for all American families. It took an attack on theirs to wake them up.

The self-proclaimed "Capitalist Tool" Fortune reports the US has had "154 mass shootings, 6,880 gun-related deaths, and 13,504 firearm injuries in 2017 alone." June 16 is the 168th day of the year. The country is averaging just under one mass shooting a day. The definition of a mass shooting is one in which four or more persons are hit.

Much of the problem is the ideological blinders that most legislators wear. The man who shot Mr. Scalise is dead and therefore cannot be examined by a psychologist to determine his mental health. However, circumstantial evidence found in social media and his own laptop as well as statements by some who knew him suggest that he was not a well man.

Yet back in February, Mr. Scalise voted to repeal an Obama administration rule that forbade 75,000 people with mental issues from purchasing guns. Those individuals are "currently on disability support, [and they] suffer schizophrenia, psychotic disorders and other problems to such an extent that they are unable to manage their financial affairs and other basic tasks without help." Irony of ironies, Mr. Scalise might have saved himself a hospital stay if he and others took mental illness and firearms issues more seriously.

It is only now, when they personally face the rifle fire of a madman, do America's legislators start to think about how political dialogue affects the body politic. For the first 165 days of the year, they actually worked to make the situation worse.

This journal is produced a few miles from where the World Trade Center stood. One remembers the claims of unity from around the country. Yet, when the first responders started getting sick, Congress refused to act. The Zadroga Act, which looked after the people who worked while the Pile burned, failed to pass in 2006, five years after the attack. It wasn't signed into law until 2011. When the people have need of the Congress, the legislators choose not to act for fear of offending their ideological base.

So, it will be here. Bipartisanship, the sense of "we are all in this together," will fade. Country before party sounds good, even noble. Yet, as Congressman Scalise recovers (quickly and completely one hopes), the Republican Senate is drafting a healthcare bill in secret and plans to vote on it without hearings or any input from Democrats. Actions speak louder than words. The national motto may need to change from "E Pluribus Unum" to "I've got mine so to hell with you."

© Copyright 2017 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.

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