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Macalester President Rosenberg urges boycott of semi automatic-supporting politicians

Rosenberg on politicians: "To withhold money is to speak in a language they will understand."
Rosenberg on politicians: "To withhold money is to speak in a language they will understand."
Image by Tatiana Craine

In "A Pledge," Macalester President Brian Rosenberg urges citizens to work toward preventing another Newtown school shooting by refusing to give money to any political candidate who doesn't support the prohibition of semi-automatic rifles.

SEE ALSO: Macalester President Brian Rosenberg appalled by Santorum

"What you do -- what I now do -- is resolve to act according to a single, simple principle: I will give no money to any candidate for local, state, or national political office who does not openly and actively support a ban on the legal possession of military-style assault weapons," Rosenberg writes in the op-ed, which was published by the Huffington Post.

Here's an excerpt (click link above to read the whole thing):

This should not be a Democratic or a Republican issue. One can be for or against smaller government, for or against higher tax rates for the wealthy, for or against single-payer health care, for or against the legalization of same-sex marriage. One can believe or not in the reality of human-generated climate change.

None of this should prevent our coming together to declare that there is no conceivable reason for the mother of Adam Lanza to be in legal possession of the .223 caliber, semi-automatic Bushmaster rifle that was used in the Newtown massacre--a military weapon designed for quick reloading and to inflict enormous and rapid devastation. And so it did.

I understand that banning such weapons is not the sole answer to the profound questions raised by the Sandy Hook killings. We need to be shaken out of our national apathy on the question of how best to treat those with severe mental health problems, and we need to examine closely our distinctive national culture of violence.

But we also need to begin somewhere, and I will allow no preposterous arguments about slippery slopes or government plots to steal our liberties to prevent my beginning here. I will listen quietly to no more arguments about "people killing people" rather than "guns killing people," because the reality is that certain kinds of guns allow people to kill people much more easily and rapidly and that in societies in which such guns are banned--meaning pretty much everywhere but the United States--fewer people, fewer children, are murdered.

A counter-argument to Rosenberg was presented in our post from yesterday, "John Monson, owner of Bill's Gun Shop: 'The bad guys don't really care what the law is.'" In 2004, just as a 10-year federal ban on certain types of assault weapons was expiring, Monson argued the federal prohibition was ineffective and said he believed people who wanted to obtain military-style weapons and use them violently found ways to get them, laws be damned.

But we'd imagine Rosenberg would reply that even if that's true, we as a society should do everything possible to make obtaining those guns as hard as possible. And in that respect, he thinks there's lots of work to do and no more time for excuses.


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