Access to guns in general and in particular military weaponry
Poor health care in the US for the mentally ill
A culture of violence in the America, stoked by corporate interests, shareholders and entertainment producers/news media
A generation or two of Americans who have been brought up to understand "rights guaranteed by the Constitution" to mean "I can take anything technically legal to its farthest limits"
Why does the gun control issue come down to just one cause? Aren't all of the problems listed above just about equal contributors to violence we've been experiencing?
A West Virginia senator wants to blame the culture of violence. Another member of Congress says it's all about the mentally ill. A lot of us on the left believe that getting rid of guns will solve the problem. In other words, even within our horror at the events at Virginia Tech, Aurora, and Sandy Hook (among others), we are prone to fight for the order of importance given to agenda items even though that leads to getting nothing done at all. It's as though we all -- talk about mental illness! -- sharethe delight experienced by radicals when they once again succeed in using process to kill any prospect of resolution.
Which brings us to the budget ceiling decision. If there is no decision the sky will fall on all of us. That process weapon is about to be used once again by the tea partyers in Congress. As Greg Sargent writes, now that the platinum coin is "off the table" responsibility for a debt ceiling resolution is back on the side of the court where it belongs -- on the Republican side. So what's going on over there?
Via Politico, GOP leaders are leaking word that their Tea Party members really are serious — really, they are! — about going into default if necessary, to force the White House to cut spending once and for all. ...Greg Sargent, WaPo
It's the spending problem. Not their spending (federal spending is highest in red states) but spending for the good of anyone else but them.
Reminder: "Going into default if necessary" isn't something that will make us say "ow" and move on. It catches everyone well beyond our borders and makes the whole world pay for our having stacked the House with single-issue radicals.
Whether we're talking about the debt ceiling, health care, violence or "rights," too many Congressional politicians seem to have their One Big Thing and will use the tools given with the job of being a members of Congress to destroy the process that Congress is expected to work through. Even though that means destroying the livelihood of anyone else who gets in the way or who's just watching from the sidelines.
Going the limit is irresistible, apparently. Sargent looks at what's actually taking place and writes about the GOP leadership: "Yeah, okay. The game here is: 'Hey, we can’t control our crazies!!! Better give us what we want before they destroy us all!!!.'"
The only pleasure the rest of us can squeeze out of this mess is the knowledge that it's the other guys who will be to blame for the outcome.
... This is still on Republicans. If they are going to continue to threaten the global economy to get their way, it’s their problem. ...Sargent, WaPo
It'll be interesting to see what the few responsible, sane Republicans in or near the leadership will do, if anything.
Of course, no member of Congress -- this applies to both Houses, really -- has time to deal with all of the above.