There's only one big story this week, and we've all heard it: an armed madman killed 26 people using a Bushmaster .223 semi-automatic assault rifle at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, just a few days after another maniac killed 2 and wounded another at Clackamas Mall in Portland, Oregon, using an AR-15 rifle. Here's what your favorite talking heads and opportunistic politicos are saying about it on Sunday, December 16th:
Highlights: If you didn’t know, Bloomberg is very serious about gun control, and he thinks the president should be too.
"It’s time for the president, I think, to stand up and lead and tell this country what we should do — not go to Congress and say, 'what do you guys want to do? ... This should be his number one agenda.
If Obama does nothing, Bloomberg says, "something like 48,000 Americans will be killed with illegal guns."
Meet the Press producer Betsy Martin tweeted that she reached out to "ALL 31 pro-gun rights Sens in the new Congress" to defend their views on the show, and received no takers. Gun rights advocates have really been routed this week. Expect a lot of damage control, starting in a few days when the initial shock is over.
2. CBS' Face the Nation: Senator Kay Hutchison (R-Texas), Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.); roundtable (presumably on gun control) with Georgetown University's Michael Dyson, Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic and Dan Gross of The Brady Campaign to Prevent Violence.
Highlights: Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy says that the nation needs to "start to question whether assault weapons should be allowed to be distributed the way they are," states that Connecticut gun laws "didn't prevent that woman from acquiring that weapon."
3. ABC's This Week: Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Senator-elect Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), as well as Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra; roundtable with ABC News' George Will, Donna Brazile, Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), and Representative Steve Israel (D-N.Y.).
Highlights: Murphy, trying hard not to anger gun-rights advocates: "We have to acknowledge that there is no simple solution, that, yes, there needs to be a conversation about gun control, but also about the way we treat mental illness, also about the culture of violence in this country."
Correspondent Pierre Thomas, having said there would be another shooting: "Didn't mean to be prophetic, but these are just the facts. In this country, we have a love affair with guns." Thomas says that it would be "very difficult" to pull guns off the street, since there are so many.
Chaffetz deflects the focus from guns, saying, "we have to deal with the mental health aspect [...] we also have to deal with the new social ramifications of the bombardment and the immediacy of social interaction between violence, the realism that you find in games and movies." Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-Md.) brings it back, acknowledging those factors but saying, "we've got to get the guns. I mean, we just do."
Highlights: Easton ludicrously says that principals need to be better equipped to handle such situations through "training them to use stun guns [...] armed guards make more sense than that."
Brit Hume discusses why it is so hard for Americans to address gun control: "There's always been this kind of Wild West component to the way we are as a nation. You starting talking about steps you can take … you're up against the First Amendment, or the Second Amendment … [we are] free, prosperous, and dangerous."
Highlights: Governor Malloy: "What we know is he shot his way into the building … he penetrated the building by literally shooting an entrance into the building. And that's what an assault weapon can do for you … this is a violent world, we are a particularly violent country within that world."
7. MSNBC's Up With Chris Hayes: Continued coverage of the Sandy Hook shootings, featuring Goldie Taylor, Ezra Klein of the Washington Post, David Sirota of Salon.com, author Jane McAlevey, Professor Sarah Deer, legal scholar Akhil Amar and former Baltimore police officer Peter Moskos.
Highlights: Sirota explains that Democrats perhaps do not realize that "8 out of 10" southern Republicans' reaction to the shooting was wishing someone with a gun was present to handle the situation.
Goldie Taylor talks about her father's murder-by-gun. "It was not a AK-47, it was not a Bushmaster: it was a .22, 4 bullets to the head … 20 years later, my brother Christopher … he was murdered in a remarkably similar fashion. Both of them were gun owners. Neither of them had an opportunity to defend themselves, they were ambushed." Taylor admits to owning a gun for many years afterwards, which made her feel more secure – "there's a bravado that comes with it." Goldie says she no longer feels secure with (a chilling, yet heartfelt call for a re-evaluation of our nation's policy on guns). "If we can regulate poisons … why can't we regulate the most dangerous product out there?" As Sirota pointed out, the NRA originally pushed for stringent gun control in order to portray gun ownership as responsible and safe.