Just a Bad, Sad Week

For Boston, Texas, The Media, The Senate

It was not a good week:

At the Boston Marathon, where bombs killed and maimed.

In West, Texas, where a fertilizer plant exploded, taking lives and leveling the community.

For the media, which seemed to get it first more than it got it right.

And in the halls of the U.S. Senate, where common sense died a partisan death.

As low as my expectations are for the House of Lords, I thought they might pass the background check bill.

Silly me.

My faith in the Senate is renewed.

That said, kudos to Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal.

Even though polls show 90 percent of the public support legislation to close the massive loopholes in the current law, 90 percent of Republican Senators voted against the measure..

I think they will come to regret this vote.

Just as they were with gay marriage and immigration reform, I think Republicans will soon find themselves on the wrong side of the gun issue as well.

President Obama's angry speech following Wednesday's Senate vote officially christened guns as a wedge issue. No longer will Democrats hide from guns like they have over the past 10 or 15 years. No longer will the NRA and other gun lobbyists be able to operate without opposition.

In addition to the leveling of the political playing field, what else will sway the public on gun control is reality: What happened in Tucson, and Aurora, and in Newton will happen again, and again.

The gun vote also served as another example of how underrepresented citizens who live in states with large populations are in the Senate.

Consider this from a New York Times story: "The 38 million people who live in the nation's 22 smallest states are represented by 44 senators. The 38 million residents of California are represented by two senators."

And as Jon Cohn and Eric Kingsbury of the New Republic wrote after Wednesday's gun vote:

"If you assume, for sake of argument, each senator represents half of his or her state's population, then senators voting for the bill represented about 194 million people, while the senators voting against the bill represented about 118 million people."

Why The Weak Loves State Legislators

In relation to a "stand your ground" gun bill debate, Republican state Rep. Peter Hansen of New Hampshire sent the following mail to colleagues: "What could possibly be missing from those factual tales of successful retreat in VT, Germany, and the bowels of Amsterdam? Why children and vagina's of course ..." At first Hansen refused to walk back from his referring to women as vaginas, then employed the standard "taken out of contest" defense, and finally apologized profusely.

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