Roy Exum: Ted, You Do Something!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

When the members of Congress held “a moment of silence” Monday for those who were massacred at a Texas church the day before, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) walked out of the chamber, saying, “I can’t do this again … I’ve been to too many moments in silences. In just my short time in Congress three of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history have occurred. I will not be silent.”

Then, brother, get off your high perch and do something about it. Lieu, born in Taiwan before his family immigrated to the United States, is a sitting member of Congress and his walk-out is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Congress, as dysfunctional and broken as it well might be, makes the laws of our country and rather than “show-boating,” Ted ought to take pen in hand and draft some new laws for Congress to consider and stop this madness. A strong Congress would have acted long ago.

“My colleagues right now are doing a moment of silence in the House of Representative chambers,” he said in what appears to be a “selfie” video. “I respect their right to do that and I myself have participated in many of them.”

But as he stood outside the Congress chamber, Lieu said what he should have been saying inside to the other members of the weak-as-water group so well-noted for not getting anything done. Lieu told his iPhone that our nation “needs to pass gun legislation now,” according to news reports.

“I urge us to pass reasonable gun-safety legislation, including a universal background check law supported by 80 percent of Americans, a ban on assault rifles, and a ban on bump stocks.” (A bump stock is a device that replaces the rear stock on a semi-automatic weapon, using recoil to make it fully automatic.) “We need to do that. We cannot be silent. We need to act now.”

While I am disgusted with Ted Lieu’s self-aggrandizement during a moment of silence, I fully agree on banning bump stops, silencers, fully-automatic weapons and any other form of mass destruction. I know a lot of people who own assault rifles and I believe it is their right to bear arms for their personal safety. I also believe that anyone who walks around with an AR-15 ought to have a special permit to do so, one that would call for an exhaustive – and pricey – background check that would include mental competency. 

Ted Lieu says there have been three mass killings during his time in Washington and cites 49 killed in Orlando, 58 dead in Las Vegas and 29 more recently in Texas. He says he’s had enough moments of silences. In the time he’s been in Washington three moments-of-silence have been held for 137 people and everybody knows – including Lieu – mass shootings will be one of the “hot potatoes” on the 2018 re-election trail.

But you know what is far worse and nobody dares mention in Congress?

Thus far in 2017 there have been 552 killed and another 2,644 shot inside the city limits of Chicago. Do you think we’ve got a little hypocrisy going on? In 2016 the final tally in the Windy City was 721 dead and another 3,658 who were shot.

So, in the time it has taken Ted from being sworn into Congress in January of 2016 until he bolted from the chamber to say “I just can’t do it again,” there have been 1,278 killed by gunfire in Chicago and another 6,302 shot in America’s third largest city. Yes, that includes the 50 victims – half of them children -- who were gunned down last weekend when 29 were killed in Texas. (Comparatively, 2,386 U.S. troops were killed in Afghanistan in 2016)

To the best of my knowledge, there are not any moments-of-silence when somebody is shot every two hours or killed every 10 hours in Chicago alone. Will our country soon become as calloused?

* * *

The AR-15 assault rifle was used in the Orlando, Las Vegas and Texas massacres, as well as the terrorist attack in Chattanooga but in almost every case, it has been used in response as well. Texas law enforcement confirmed an AR-15 stopped Sunday’s shooter or it could have been much worse.

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