Blame Guns for Domestic Murder Epidemic

The latest massacre of a family—this time in the Houston suburbs—is another brutal reminder that guns in the home leave a trail of devastation. Women and children must be protected.

Daniel Kramer/Reuters

The details are still a little sketchy, but what is known so far is this: In north Harris County, in the Houston suburb of Spring, four children and two adults have been shot and killed (and a fifth child was injured) in a domestic dispute, in what would be just another massacre in the USA. Yet more of our children have been sacrificed to the right-wing Golden Calf known as the firearm, in what seems to be the largest slaughter of children since Newtown.

What do we know for sure? We know that from 2001 to 2012, more women in the U.S. were shot to death by an intimate partner than U.S. troops were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. We know that in states that have closed the gun-show loophole by passing universal background checks—which of course does not include Ted Cruz’s Texas—38% fewer women are killed by an intimate partner with a gun.

We know that domestic abusers are five times more likely to kill their victims when they have a gun than when they don't. And we know that at this moment, Congress is trying to pass a bill to make it harder for domestic abusers and stalkers to get their hands on guns, as the prohibition at this moment only applies to married or co-habitating partners.

In what world does it not make sense to pass this bill forthwith? In the world of Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the NRA, where keeping blood money flowing from international arms dealers is of paramount importance and protecting the rights of homicidal maniacs is just a part of the job description.

So the NRA is opposing this straightforward, common sense bill, as they opposed legislation to enact universal background checks and stiffen penalties for gun traffickers after 20 small children were murdered in Newtown. Just as they vehemently oppose the option for people to purchase the Smart Gun that could have stopped the Newtown murderer.

One thing you gotta say for them, they are consistent in being just terrible, horrible people.

Meanwhile, state legislatures in Kansas, Missouri and others along the Evangelical and Mormon Belts, are passing “nullification bills” claiming they simply don’t have to enforce federal gun laws. Their bilious resentment, right down to the terminology they employ to describe their treason, only serves to remind us of the price we’re still paying for Rutherford B. Hayes’ “Corrupt Bargain” to gain the electoral votes necessary to be president in 1877—leaving an unreconstructed South to its own devices.

John C. Calhoun and his ilk were so very, very wrong when they spoke of nullification in the mid-19th century, and yet these dunderheads posing as legislators have decided to give ignorant pigheadedness another try. From a more recent time:

The Supreme Court ruled on nullification in the 1950s, when states sought to resist integrating their school systems after the landmark ruling Brown v. Board of Education. In the 1958 case Cooper v. Aaron, the court ruled that states could not nullify federal law, citing a century-old declaration from Chief Justice John Marshall that, “if the legislatures of the several states may at will, annul the judgments of the courts of the United States, and destroy the rights acquired under those judgments, the Constitution itself becomes a solemn mockery.”

Their put-a-pan-on-their-heads-and-bang-on-it-with-a-soup-ladle stupidity is thankfully also being challenged in the present, with Governor Jay Nixon in Missouri vetoing this nonsense and the Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence swatting away Kansas’ silly attempt at lawmaking in court.

But what to do about the determination of Tea Party know-nothings and those who think just like them? For whom every act of gun violence leads to the exact opposite reaction that any rational person would have?

We must not back down to them. We cannot give into the threats of Cliven Bundy-ish criminals who have declared war against the United States. Not only because it empowers them. But because it empowers the domestic abuser who might live in a neighborhood near you to commit mass murder.