Joe Scarborough (“It’s time for courage from Republicans,” Feb. 19, Tribune) is half right. Republicans need the courage to stand up to the NRA. Why stop there? Why is it only Republicans who must find the courage to solve this gun violence problem? Presidents Clinton (Columbine) and Obama (Sandy Hook) also failed to demonstrate the necessary courage.
Scarborough apparently sees gun control (broadly defined) as the only action necessary. That is narrow, politically correct, easy thinking. Full resolution requires a broad-based effort to address each facet of the phenomena: Effective mental health screening and intervention; limits on violent and vulgar content in movies and television; controls on extreme violence in video games; and yes, restrictions on the availability and access to firearms.
Any such effort will require all political leadership to challenge their base, who so far have held their individual rights (First Amendment vs. Second Amendment) to be more important than common public safety.
The president, this time a Republican, should declare a national gun violence emergency, dedicate fully the resources of government to its resolution and demand the full participation at the executive level of every relevant entity. Real courage and leadership will be found in identifying broad solutions that lie somewhere beyond Scarborough’s argument.
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Gary J. Brennan, Arroyo Grande
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