Mass Violence, Gun Control and the American Culture of Death

Monday’s bombings at the Boston Marathon took the lives of three people and injured at least 175, some critically. The blasts also threaten to take another casualty, postponing, if not entirely derailing, the Senate debate on gun control as right-wing opponents of firearm safety legislation rush to argue the folly of trying to stop violence with any type of legislative reform. 

The questions for progressives thus arise: Should we urge the Senate to proceed with the debate? Or should we condemn both chambers of Congress and the president for doing too little, too late to deal with the problem of mass violence, whatever its origin, and what some have termed the nation’s culture of death?
The answer is both, with an urgent emphasis on the latter. 

Let’s start by looking at the bright side. On April 11, by a margin of 68-31, the Senate voted to begin consideration of gun legislation, turning back a Republican filibuster threat and paving the way for the most significant congressional debate on gun policy since the expiration of the assault weapons ban in 2004. 

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