Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Missing The Point: Enough Means Enough

We're covering the same topic for the second day in a row for a very important reason.

In case you missed our commentary on Monday, we urge you to re-read it with the true meaning of "temperance" in mind. In short, what our commentary said, and unfortunately, what we heard across the airwaves and read in many places over the last 24 hours had very little to do with each other.

Quite literally, "temperance" means "self-restraint" - something far too many in the media have not shown enough of for far too long. Temperance was quite literally our point yesterday. While we were not the only ones making that point on Monday and even over the weekend, we fear that we may have been some of the only people hearing that message.

That became clear as we watched the finger-pointing continuing at an ever feverish pace - even by some we know very well - on Monday and Tuesday. Most extremist right-wing media figures displayed the kind of defensive posture regarding their partial responsibility that only those who know they are guilty display. Too many left-wing media figures to list leapt at the chance to prove their point about the vitriol coming from the right - and missed some very important points themselves.

Whether or not we were correct is not the point. As one of our staff members often says, "Do you want to be right, or do you want to get your message through?"

We'd prefer to be both - but today, we'll settle for for the latter. And the latter point is one that dovetails with what we said yesterday.

America is the most well-armed country in the world. We have more guns per person than other nation. We also have some of the most lax gun ownership laws for a country of our stature, far beyond any of our other first-world colleagues.

Likewise, while America is FINALLY beginning to address our woefully inadequate health insurance coverage, we are still disturbingly far from seriously dealing with it on a level that guarantees results.

Yes, America has made some attempts to address both problems recently. In an action that shocked and surprised the gun rights lobby, President George W. Bush signed a bill in early 2008 that was the first weapons bill brought forth by the majority Democratic Congress in 2007. That bill was supported by both the NRA and the Brady campaign, and strengthened the National Instant Criminal Background Check System by screening out those individuals who've been identified as having mental health problems.

Unfortunately, as the shooting victims in Arizona found out last Saturday, some states still refuse to provide that information to the background-check system.

That effort clearly was not enough - and THAT is truly our point.

Whether it's too much vitriol in the media, or too many people needing mental help and not getting it, or too many people who don't respect the power of firearms, the point is ALL of us are not doing enough. Period. As has been said many times over the past few days by countless rational citizens: "We as Americans are BETTER than that".

When we say "Enough," we also mean ENOUGH excuses.
Enough, people. On all sides.

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