The term Epic Fail has come into contemporary use to describe an effort to do something that didn't just not work, but didn't work in a spectacularly ugly and public way. Such has been the conduct of the US Senate, which failed miserably at trying to get even a watered down gun control bill passed. There's more than enough blame to go around, among Republicans and that small (4) number of Democrats who couldn't find their spines when the vote was taken to bring the measure to the floor.
As former Congresswomen Gabby Giffords said in a New York Times op-ed, these folks will find all sorts of reasons why they couldn't stand with the overwhelming majority of the American people on getting a simple expansion of background checks passed with 60 votes. Underlying all of it is one word: fear. The fear of incurring the wrath of the American people has been supplanted by the fear of three little letters: NRA.
Gabby Giffords is a living, breathing example of what happens when people who have no business owning a gun are allowed to do so. Absent such a deranged lunatic, Gabby Giffords would still be in Congress today. That she has decided to stand and fight for sensible gun ownership brings a gravitas to this question that those not visited by gun violence can't.
You can call those who caved to the gun lobby cowards, quislings, jackals, whatever you want. Fact is, they haven't had to fear the way kids at the Sandy Hook Elementary School did. Each and every one of those 46 people should have to pay more than lip service to the memory of the people who died at Sandy Hook.
Since that massacre in Newtown, 3500 others have died by gun violence. Gun nuts (not advocates, nuts) will tell you expanding background checks won't solve the problem. Yet here's the real question. If three, or five, or twelve, or a couple of hundreds lives could have been saved by stopping unstable people or criminals from procuring guns, is it worth it?
Maybe the Senate needs to change its rules so a majority can actually get something done. Maybe we need to elect better people. Whatever or however, this problem needs to be dealt with. There's no more time for excuses, or lawmakers that act is if the only thing that matters is their own reelection. Harry Reid says he may try to bring a bill back before the Senate, but only if the votes are there to pass it.
Republicans and the gun lobby say gun control is dead in the 113th Congress.