by Darryl Cherness It is almost beyond human comprehension that the United States Senate could vote down legislation to expand gun background checks in light of the Newtown, Connecticut shootings and the massive support this legislation enjoyed with the American people. Polls showed that 90% of the American people supported expanded background checks for gun purchasers, but that didn't matter to the 46 senators, including 5 Democrats who voted against this legislation(the Senate rigged the rules to require 60 votes to approve this bill). These 46 senators turned their backs on the American people, the families who lost loved ones to gun violence, and to their responsibility as senators to protect the safety of the people of this country. We will hear all kinds of excuses from the apologists for those senators to justify their votes to sell out the American people and cave in to the gun lobby. We will hear that they had to vote this way because they came from "red states," that the legislation violated people's Second Amendment rights, and that criminals would find a way to get guns regardless of this legislation. The bottom line is this: all of the arguments that have been raised by the gun lobby have absolutely no merit. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, one of the sponsors of this legislation, along with Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, comes from a red state, as does John McCain of Arizona. That didn't stop them from supporting expanded background checks. As for the Second Amendment argument, the Second Amendment does not guarantee the "right" of convicted felons or mentally ill persons who are a danger to themselves or others, to purchase guns. Allowing dangerous people who are a threat to society to purchase guns, was never the intent of our founding fathers. Finally, the argument that this legislation should be voted down because it wouldn't stop 100% of all prohibited purchasers from obtaining guns, is completely absurd. Using this logic, there should be no laws against murder since some individuals will commit murder even though it is against the law. While no law is perfect, this law has the potential to save thousands of lives by closing a major loophole in the existing law. Right now, if you purchase a gun from a licensed gun dealer, you must undergo a background check. However, if you purchase that same gun at a gun show or online, there is no background check. 40% of all gun purchases in this country fall into these categories, allowing thousands of convicted felons and mentally ill people to obtain guns each year with no questions asked. Where do we go from here? We must channel our anger and frustration into constructive action. We must continue to fight for expanded background checks. We must do everything in our power to defeat those senators (including Democrats) who voted against this legislation. Call your friends and relatives who live out of state and urge them to campaign against those senators, who voted the wrong way, when they stand for reelection. In politics, there are no permanent defeats. We will go on, and ultimately we will succeed because we have the support of the American people.
I'm a certified news junkie, but even I had to step away from the oversaturated media coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings. As one who has followed such tragedies before knows, investigators don't have instant answers for everything and it's ridiculous to think that in a frenzied atmosphere, accurate information will be available in abundance. But that did not prevent news outlets and social media from rushing to be first rather than calmly waiting to be accurate. The results were a string of embarrassing mistakes that did little to comfort a nation that still hadn't gotten over the shock of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Conn. The media should have learned this lesson from the experience of covering the tragedy in Newtown when there were conflicting accounts everything - whether Adam Lanza had forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School or had been buzzed in, whether his brother Ryan was the shooter, etc. Ironically, on the same day the Pulitzer Prizes honoring excellence in journalism were announced, including an award to the Denver Post for its coverage of the mass shooting in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. that left 12 dead and 58 injured, news outlets were making major blunders while covering the Boston bombings. When a tragedy like this happens, with public safety at risk and the stakes so high, it's important that the media gathers the facts, before it rushes to judgment. On a happier note, Vice Mayor Jeff Cooper was voted in with a 5-0 vote to serve at Mayor. Councilperson Meghan Sahli-Wells was appointed to Vice Mayor, replacing Jeff Cooper. Culver City's mayor of the past year, Andy Weissman ended his term on April 22. The council selects from among their members a Mayor and Vice Mayor, to serve in those positions for a period of one year. I wish the best to the New Mayor and Vice Mayor for coming year.