Common Sense

You can still learn a lot from a dummy.

Growing up in South Carolina in the mid-80’s, I remember the adults around me grumbling about new legislation that was gaining momentum in Congress. Legislation that, if passed, would require the driver and front-seat passenger of a car to wear seat belts, or else be subject to a fine. The grown-ups were pissed. How dare the government tell us what we can and can’t do in our cars. Civil liberties! and personal freedom! became all the rage. I distinctly remember an aunt avowing she’d never wear a seat belt because she’d read somewhere that they were just a hoax, that they were highly dangerous and what if the car went off a bridge and into the water, huh?!

In 2016 alone, seat belts saved about 15,000 lives in this country. Most everyone wears them now (90%, up from 14% in 1983) because, in the case of seat belts, real news eventually won out over fake news (sorry Aunt Jane), grown-ups allowed their “civil liberties” to be inconvenienced just a little, and most of the country finally came around to the imperfect reality that no, seat belts were not foolproof, but wearing them could at least increase our odds of survival. 

Common sense gun reform isn’t foolproof either, but it could at least increase our odds of survival. The House passed gun safety legislation back in February, but six months later and it’s still sitting on Mitch McConnell’s desk. He refuses to bring it before the Senate for a vote. 

On average, 100 Americans will be shot and killed every day the Senate does not act. And contrary to what the pundits will have you believe, this isn’t a partisan issue.

Most Republicans support expanding background checks. Most back ‘red flag’ provisions allowing the police to take guns away from people deemed dangerous by a judge. A majority support requiring a license to purchase a gun.

FiveThirtyEight, 8/6/19

It’s the Republican Senators who refuse to act. Have you called your senator today?

100 Americans dead. Every single day. 

When I hear someone say guns don’t kill people, people kill people, it always reminds me of my aunt, my sweet Aunt Jane who now wears her seat belt every time she gets in the car without a second thought. Of course she does. Seat belts aren’t a hoax, the earth is indeed round, and common sense gun reform could one day save the life of someone you love.

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