As the hours pass, more and more information has been released by Connecticut state officials about just what happened today in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. Politicians have begun to to react (including an understandably emotional President Barack Obama who proferred that "meaningful action" must be taken although "our hearts are broken"). Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City has words for lawmakers.
Statement of Mayor Bloomberg, co-chair of Mayors Against Illegal Guns:
With all the carnage from gun violence in our country, it's still almost impossible to believe that a mass shooting in a kindergarten class could happen. It has come to that. Not even kindergarteners learning their A,B,Cs are safe. We heard after Columbine that it was too soon to talk about gun laws. We heard it after Virginia Tech. After Tucson and Aurora and Oak Creek. And now we are hearing it again. For every day we wait, 34 more people are murdered with guns. Today, many of them were five-year olds. President Obama rightly sent his heartfelt condolences to the families in Newtown. But the country needs him to send a bill to Congress to fix this problem. Calling for 'meaningful action' is not enough. We need immediate action. We have heard all the rhetoric before. What we have not seen is leadership - not from the White House and not from Congress. That must end today. This is a national tragedy and it demands a national response. My deepest sympathies are with the families of all those affected, and my determination to stop this madness is stronger than ever.
After these types of mass shootings, although today's events are beyond comprehension, commentators and 2nd Amendment advocates can often be heard saying that now is not the time for political discussions about gun control. That to do so is unseemly.
In fact, Bob Costas, about as noncontroversial as a commentator can be, drew a firestorm of criticism from the right early last week after he dared to bring up Jovan Belcher of the Kansas City Chiefs who killed his girlfriend and then himself. Costas read aloud the mildest of columns from Jason Whitlock who posited, "[i]n the coming days, Jovan Belcher's actions and their possible connection to football will be analyzed. Who knows? But here is what I believe. If Jovan Belcher didn't possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today."
That simple statement and Costas' reading and praising it sparked gun rights supporters to slam Costas and even call for his termination (ABC News).
Mayor Bloomberg is clearly not willing to allow others to hush him. He is not one to keep his mouth shut to protect people's sensibilities. And he's not going to allow calls for patience and moderation to rule the day. Not today.