Everyone knows that American gun-violence has been in the news lately. Everyone also knows that Americans, by huge majorities, support universal background checks on the sales of all firearms and that these very same Americans have informed their Congressmen of their preferences.
And still Congress has done nothing. Why?
—On June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old security guard, entered Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL, killing 49 and injuring 53 before he was shot and killed by law-enforcement officers.
—Early Tuesday morning, July 5, 2016, Alton Sterling was wrestled to the ground by two policemen and fatally shot in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The video leaves unanswered questions about the legitimacy of the lethal force employed by the officers.
—On July 6, 2016, Philando Castile was shot and killed by a police officer in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, a suburb of St. Paul. Again, the only video of the event raises several questions concerning the actions undertaken by the officer on the scene.
—On July 8, 2016, Micah Xavier Johnson, killed five policemen and injured eleven others in Dallas, Texas during a peaceful protest regarding the recent police shootings.
—Between the shooting in Orlando and the shootings in Dallas (June 13 to July 7), there were 42 mass shootings in America, leaving 38 dead and 155 wounded, according to The Gun Violence Archive.
Americans had had enough, and these Congressmen who staged the sit-in were doing what they could to respond to the people's legitimate concerns about gun-violence.
Congressman Lewis and his supporters never got their vote.
And now Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, has not only delayed, and for all practical purposes, killed the process of bringing a gun-bill to the floor, he has also threatened to penalize those who staged the sit-in in June.
So—in the face of the recent carnage in America, our Speaker is worried about whether Congressman Lewis has violated Parliamentary procedure in his peaceful demonstration in the House well.
Speaker Ryan, and those among the GOP who support him, are no longer credible representatives of the American people. Their allegiance is sworn to the NRA and the funding from the gun-lobbies that secure their jobs.
If the recent blood-shed cannot move them to action, then they will not be moved. Period.
Gun reform will come to America; it is, in fact, already happening.
But it is happening despite the work of the GOP-controlled Congress, and not because of it.
We move forward, then, around the obstructionists, or over them, or under them, or through them. But we will mover forward.
It saddens me to say this, but Paul Ryan and his supporters are no longer credible witnesses to the violence that has infected our country.
They have become its enablers, and history will see them as what they are: part of the problem and not part of the solution.