Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, March 27, 2021

MVNews this week:  Page 12

12 Mountain View News Saturday, March 27, 2021 OPINION 12 Mountain View News Saturday, March 27, 2021 OPINION 




Susan Henderson 


Dean Lee 



Patricia Colonello 


John Aveny 



Stuart Tolchin 
Audrey SwansonMary Lou CaldwellKevin McGuire 
Chris Leclerc 
Bob Eklund 
Howard HaysPaul CarpenterKim Clymer-KelleyChristopher NyergesPeter Dills 
Rich Johnson 
Lori Ann Harris 
Rev. James SnyderKatie HopkinsDeanne Davis 
Despina ArouzmanJeff Brown 
Marc Garlett 
Keely TotenDan Golden 
Rebecca WrightHail Hamilton 
Joan Schmidt 
LaQuetta Shamblee 

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Yesterday morning I read an article written by actor 

Paul Giamatti in which he describes the way he is affected 

forever after by his experience of the emotions of the 

characters he plays. He discusses different theories and the 

importance of the imagination as continually creating an 

experience of something that has not yet happened, may 

not ever happen, but has the effect of causing the internal 

emotions as if it is happening right now and requires 

an immediate reaction. The experience we all have in 

dreams may well consciously or unconsciously affect our 

subsequent action as if we had experienced something that, 

in fact, never occurred. He uses this description to attempt 
to explain the actions of many of those people who stormed the Capitol on January 

For those seeming insurrectionists action was required right now. They 
were experiencing a threatened, or even immediate loss of the values they held most 
dear that were an integral part of the world in which they lived. They were fighting, 
breaking windows and laws, even risking arrest and even their lives to save their world 
from destruction, Of course that world consisted of an unchallengeable belief in 
White Superiority, Black Inferiority, Male Dominance, Genderly Separate Bathrooms, 
and a fear of Socialism or Communism or some “ism” which would take away their 
individuality and possessions and futures. Sure, this all makes little sense to we 
enlightened ones who classify their behavior as “crazy” while our behavior is “sane”. 
Of course, I remember when we sane ones were willing to go to war and kill people we 
didn’t know or be killed ourselves just because we had been taught to believe that what 
we were supposed to do so if our country called. Now that belief seems crazy but it is 
still around. 

A couple of weeks ago, I recall dreaming that the fears of the Covid had now 
disappeared and my wife and I and important friends were dining at an expensive 
luxurious restaurant. A waiter approached and asked for orders and every one said 
“steak”, “steak” and the waiter said’ “okay’ steak for everyone”. Inside the dream I could 
feel panic arise. I could not eat steak because I could not chew it since all of my upper 
teeth had been removed and had been replaced by a denture. I knew that I did not wear 
a product that would allow the denture to adhere to my upper palette and attempting 
to chew the steak would cause my denture to fall out and humiliate me. Quickly I 
called to the waiter, “No steak for me. I want snake.” 

Eventually all the other diners were brought plates of delicious looking steak while I 
was brought a plate with a live snake wriggling on it. End of dream, or at least, all that 
I can recall. In the next few days I noticed myself doing all sorts of strange things I had 
not done before. I went into a drugstore for the first time in over a year and purchased 
Fixodent. I asserted myself and adopted a wonderful dog contrary to my wife’s wishes 
as she said I would not take responsibility to take care of the dog. We now have the 
dog that both my wife and I love. I rise early to walk the dog at sunrise just as I have 
been wanting to do for years but have been unable to motivate myself. Today I made 
a point of wearing my Ruth Bader Ginsburg socks and my Bernie Sanders tee shirt. I 
am going to lunch with friends and allowing myself foods that I would not have eaten 
before. Amazingly, I have gone to the barber and had my hair cut and allowed my 
wife to trim my beard. This has made our interaction much more pleasant in that I no 
longer insist on looking like a monster. 

Anyway today I am more pleased with the person I experience myself to be and I 
attribute this both to the lifting of the Covid restrictions and to the snake dream. One 
never knows where the totality of our individual experience will lead us and it is a 
good idea to keep this in mind as we criticize others. After all, their dreams may be 
different from ours and it makes little sense to blame people for their dreams. 



Where do we go next? What do we do now? 

Those are the questions I found myself asking after I spoke to a panel 
of gun violence reduction activists this week. It was two nights after 
the mur-ders in Boulder, a week after the rampage in Atlanta, and 
hours after the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee played out a drama 
so reliably scripted that it felt like even the players involved knew they 
were playing a role.
Even over Zoom, in the early hours of the evening, the frustration 

among my fellow panelists was palpable. I couldn’t see the slumped 
shoulders, but I could certainly feel them. There were some deep breaths. And a bit of gallows 
humor before these heroically dedicated volunteers – and they were all volunteers 

– plucked themselves up, and set about the endless work of trying to make a difference.
After every mass shooting – and they continued during the pandemic, even if you didn’t 
necessarily hear about them – our policy debate unfolds exactly the same way.
Gun violence reduction advocates in Washington D.C. and in state capitals across the land 
push for action. Opponents pretend to be horrified at the politicization of the issue, hollowly 
complain that it’s too soon to be talk-ing about such things, and then nothing happens.
And the numbers are staggering. According to data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive, 
nearly 20,000 Americans lost their lives to gun violence last year, the Philadelphia Inquirer 
reported. A further 24,000 died by sui-cide with a gun. It was the deadliest year in at least 
two decades, and it came on top of the catastrophic toll of the more than half-million we 
lost to the pandemic.
The accused shooter in Boulder allegedly carried out his murderous spree that claimed the 
lives of 10 people, including one police officer, with a weapon that was legally a pistol, but 
resembled a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle, the Washington Post reported.
City officials in Boulder had previously banned assault-style weapons until a judge struck 
down the ordinance weeks before the shooting.
In his ruling, Judge Andrew Hartman determined that “only Colorado state (or federal) 
law can prohibit the possession, sale, and transfer of assault weapons and large capacity 
magazines,” Colorado Newsline, reported.
The people of Boulder moved on their own because their state lawmakers and their elected 
representatives in Washington wouldn’t do it for them.
Where do we go next? What do we do now? The answer is staring us in the face. 
We ban assault weapons. Every last damn one of them. They’re the weap-on of choice for 
mass murderers. They exist only to kill as quickly and effi-ciently as possible. The only 
people with a right to one are law enforce-ment and the military. I don’t need one. You don’t 
need one either. 

After all, the United States had an assault weapons ban from 1994 to 2004. And it worked, 
as my friend and colleague John A. Tures, a political sci-ence professor at LaGrange College 
just an hour from Atlanta, recently wrote.
“From 2005 to 2021, there were an average of 5.1176 mass shootings per year, far more 
than the 1.6 from the [ban] years, and our year isn’t over yet,” Tures wrote. “And yes, the 
difference in means was statistically signif-icant. Lumping the non-ban years with the ban 
years shows more mass shootings, on average, per year, during the years without an assault 
weapons ban, than during the years with [a ban].” 
On Tuesday, President Joe Biden called on the Senate to act on two previ-ously approved 
House bills tightening background checks and eliminating the so-called “Charleston Loophole,” 
which allows the sale of a gun to continue even if a background check is not finished 
if three business days have passed.
Biden told lawmakers he knows Congress can pass an assault weapons ban, observing that 
“I got that done when I was a senator. It passed, it was the law for the longest time. And it 
brought down these mass killings.” 
Biden also made similar promises during his campaign, when he pledged to ban the sale 
of automatic weapons and high capacity magazines. He also said he’d implement a program 
for owners of semi-automatics to ei-ther sell them to the government or register their 
weapons under the Na-tional Firearms Act.
During a news conference in Pennsylvania earlier this week, the Rev. Bob Birch, who ministered 
to congregations in two communities shattered by gun violence – Newtown, Conn., 
and Nickel Mines, Pa. – argued the moral case for action.
“All of those killed were my neighbors. I cannot be a neighbor to those killed and their 
families, if I do not seek justice,” he said. “If I am to follow the way of Christ … I must work 
to end the cycle of hurting.” 

That’s the moral test our lawmakers have faced and failed again and again. Given the opportunity 
to end the cycle of hurting, they have chosen not to act. 

What do we now? Where do we go next? We know the answer. It’s been there all along. 

.An award-winning political journalist, John L. Micek is Editor-in-Chief of The Pennsylvania 
Capital-Star in Harrisburg, Pa. 


Whatever faint flicker of hope remained 
for the creation of a commission to investigate 
the Jan. 6 storming of the U. S. Capitol 
has been extinguished, another casualty 
of the polarization gripping Congress. 

The idea of a commission similar to that 
established following the terrorist attacks 
of Sept. 11, 2001 gained momentum in 
the immediate aftermath of the assault on 
the Capitol, but floun-dered when House 
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Republican 
Leader Mitch McConnell disagreed 
over the makeup of the commission and 
its scope of responsibility. 

Pelosi sought an 11-member panel of 
seven Democratic appointees and four 
Republicans, while McConnell suggested 
the commission expand its inquiry to the 
violent protests that erupted in several 
American cities last summer. 

Despite their initial expressions of support 
for a commission, the suspicion lingers 
that neither was seriously committed to it. 

Both have been in Congress long enough 
(Pelosi for 34 years and McConnell for 36) 
and are intimately familiar with its traditions, 
customs and maneuverings to understand 
the most effec-tive way to bury 
an idea is to create a stalemate based on 
seemingly reasonable grounds. 

Each knew in advance the other would 
reject their suggestions, normally a preliminary 
step to-ward a negotiated compromise. 
Not this time. 

The longer a standoff drags on, interest 
wanes, other issues emerge to demand attention, 
the media moves on and it fades 
from the public consciousness. 

McConnell attacked the proposed partisan 
makeup of the commission as Pelosi’s 
attempt to guarantee a predetermined outcome, 
placing blame on former President 
Trump and the Re-publican Party for inciting 
their supporters to storm the Capitol 
to prevent Congressional certi-fication 
of the Electoral College vote tabulation. 

Pelosi criticized expanding the scope of 
the commission’s duties as a distraction to 
focus on the civil unrest and the demands 
of protestors to defund the police, an issue 
which many Demo-crats blamed for 
the party’s stunning loss of 15 House seats 
in 2020. 

Neither is eager for a Democratic-dominated 
commission to spend months – potentially 
spilling over into the 2022 midterm 
elections when control of Congress 
hangs in the balance – in a pub-lic debate 
over the role of ex-president Trump in 
the Capitol assault (McConnell’s fear) or 
on the politically dangerous demands 
to defund police departments (Pelosi’s 

While they arrived at 
the conclusion independently, 
Pelosi and 
McConnell share the 
political calculation 
that abandoning the 
commission proposal poses a far less risk 
than the perils of thrusting the issue into 
next year’s campaigns. 

Both are adept at navigating the cross currents 
and competing agendas endemic to 
Congres-sional politics to achieve a desired 
outcome. More importantly, each 
has mastered the inside game – the unspoken 
wink and nod deal and the promise of 
future rewards – to either secure a victory 
or assure a defeat. 

With the enactment of the $1.9 trillion 
COVID-19 relief package, the migrant 
crisis at the southern border, rising demands 
for action on a massive infrastructure 
program, tax increases, voting rights 
and climate change, the Jan. 6 commission 
tumbled far down the priority list. 

Committees in the House and Senate 
have held hearings on the Capitol siege, 
taking testimony primarily from law enforcement, 
the military and intelligence 

Many believe Congressional committees 
are the proper and appropriate forum to 
conduct in-quiries into the assault and to 
propose legislative action to address reported 
failures in security preparedness, 
communications protocols, and the role of 
the military. 

The Biden Administration expressed general 
support for a commission, but emphasized 
it was a matter for Congress to 
decide – a pledge of non-interference and 
a promise the President would not pressure 
Democrats to back its creation. 

It will be left to historians to sift through 
the evidence and formulate a comprehensive, 
defini-tive account of the most serious 
assault on the center of U.S. government 
by its own citizens in history. 

For now, the American people will confront 
two truths – a Democratic truth and 
a Republican one – each promoting explanations 
and conclusions colored by partisanship 
and ideology. 

Both sides can and will blame a paralyzing 
polarization for the failure to reach a 
consensus in support of an independent 
inquiry, one that, like the 911 commission 
report, will win the confi-dence of the 
American people. 

It didn’t have to be that way. 

Carl Golden is a senior contributing analyst 
with the William J. Hughes Center for 
Public Policy at Stockton University in New 

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