In light of Friday’s tragic movie theater shooting, both President Obama and Mitt Romney reflected on themselves as fathers and pulled all political ads from Colorado. Both forcefully asserted that this is not a time for politics, not a time for campaigning.
However, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), anti-gun violence groups nationwide and MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry voiced a difference of opinion, that now is precisely the time to discuss gun policy in America.
On Friday’s Rachel Maddow Show, guest host Harris-Perry spoke to former New York Times columnist and senior fellow at the Demos Center for Public Policy and Advocacy Bob Herbert about the growing problem that gun violence is becoming so commonplace that it “feels almost ordinary in so many cities.”
Herbert: “Since Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King were murdered in 1968, more than a million Americans have been killed by gun violence, that’s through homicides, suicides and accidental shootings. This is an insane level of violence. And the frustrating thing is, we have these terrible stories like the one you’re covering tonight and really, in another 24 to 48 hours, we’ll be on to something else and nothing really will be done about this.”
Harris-Perry: “I suggested that part of what we have to do collectively, we’re going to have to have faith in one another…How do we figure out how to not turn on each other? How not to start putting up, everywhere that we go, a metal detector. How do we find a civic faith in one another?"
Herbert: “It requires leadership and I’m not sure where that leadership is going to come from because I don’t think it’s going to come from our elected officials at the highest level of government so maybe, you’re talking about civic faith, maybe it has to come from the local level. But you have to have people out there making the case, like you’re talking about this evening, bringing in their friends and neighbors and relatives to say we need to make a stand, we need to get together…the sort of thing that Toqueville talked about that I think America once had but we seem to have been losing.
It really gets back to civic leadership, it has to come from the local level. Someone has to step forward, make a stand and stay with it…Gun violence in America is part and parcel to the character of the United States. We have 100,000 people who are shot every year. Three people who are killed every hour, which means that three people are going to be killed by gun violence over the course of just this television program. This is something that goes beyond just one wacko with a gun or some insane individual.”
The National Rifle Association released a statement saying, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and the community. NRA will not have any further comment until all the facts are known.”
The NRA opposes any restrictions on gun rights, and remains one of the most influential political lobbying groups in the country.