Standing up to the NRA? Now that would be courageous

January 17, 2013

Richard Vatz takes us on a meandering journey in his op-ed "Who will be our next profiles in courage?" (Jan. 15). He wonders "Where do our current leaders land on the courage criterion? ... Will they recognize, as one of my colleagues puts it, that outrage about the Newtown school shootings doesn't justify policies that cannot possibly stop or minimize such outrages?"

It amazes me that leaders in our nation, which is rightfully proud of the contributions and enormous sacrifices made by "the greatest generation" in fighting World War II, go weak-kneed when confronted by the National Rifle Association. Mr. Vatz's colleague's unilateral surrender statement, that enacting rational policies to combat the horrific slaughter of innocent six-year-olds "cannot possibly stop or minimize such outrages," is a stunning admission of defeat, a point commonly made by the gun rights crowd.

Guns kill nearly 30,000 people every year in the U.S., a toll many consider a small price to pay for the Second Amendment. Rational countries would treat this death toll as the public health crisis it is. We give immunity to gun manufacturers and gun shops.

Professor Vatz, given an opportunity to define as courageous leaders who would push back against the NRA and the merchants of death, instead defines the exact opposite of courage that may well doom our country to more senseless deaths.

Tim Eastman, Baltimore

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