Is it possible that there is a real change occurring, as we speak, about the way the nation is beginning to look at how we have been addressing gun violence? There was a recent police conference held in New Orleans and one Attorney General William Barr spoke out. And he spoke loudly.
Although his speech covered several areas, it was difficult not to hear a reoccurring chorus and theme regarding a few key areas of his symposium. Barr’s firm stand on enforcing the law is no secret but if at all possible he upped the ante here.
One story covering the conference quoted the AG regarding those opposed to his hard stance. He said that they “spend their time undercutting the police, letting criminals off the hook, and refusing to enforce the law.”
That was the overall message, the pointed part of the message dealt directly with gun violence and how we deal with gun violence. At this particular conference, Barr spoke directly to the issue of mass shootings and the murder of law enforcement agents. He spoke about dealing with those responsible in a fashion that was swift, and final.
In his own words, “…in cases of mass murder or in cases of murder of a law enforcement officer there will be a strict timetable for judicial proceedings that will allow the imposition of the death sentence without undue delay… punishment must be swift… .”
That was regarding new legislation he said that the U.S. Attorney General’s office will be proposing to Congress. If you are listening closely, what you will also hear quite clearly is an effort to help end gun violence. Sometimes the greatest defense is a deterrent. In this case, a deterrent of the most powerful kind.
It is uncertain if the President is in-line across the board with Barr’s entire policy and stance on law and punishment but there seems to be plenty of common ground there. Let us not forget as this story so kindly reminded us, that is was the President himself while addressing the law enforcement community who told them they weren’t required to be “too nice” to suspects.
Too many of us have known for far too long that gun laws, gun restrictions and more burdensome and costly legislation on the backs of gun owners wasn’t fixing the gun violence issue. The President has said that he plans to overhaul the criminal justice system and William Barr might be the right man for the job.
The tragedies over the past week that was led by the awful headlines in Ohio and Texas are grim reminders that something must be done. Something different than what we’ve been doing.
This charge led by Barr is about more than criminal law and punishment, it is also about doing something to stop gun violence so we don’t have those types of headlines anymore.
Will tougher punishment, will death put a stop to gun violence? The simple and obvious answer is, no. Could measures and steps like these, however, be part of the solution? Don’t we all hope so?
What this message from AG Barr was though, was a hint of change. A change about the way our country’s leadership is thinking about gun control, controlling gun violence and finding different answers. If that means swift and deadly justice, then as difficult as it is, sometimes the truth is hard to swallow.
It is impossible to fathom the horror, the fear, and the loss that the victims of these recent shooting tragedies endured. We won’t even pretend to try. What we can do, what we can all do, is demand more be done.
If that looks like tougher punishment, then so be it. If any of us think that capital punishment is too much a talk with any one of those moms, dads, brothers, sisters or friends might change your mind.
Maybe a conversation with someone who survived their wounds? I’m sorry, did that make you uncomfortable? Is that too personal, too real, too much?
Barr’s talk was about several topics but what may have been most clear, is the message we never heard. This could be a new attitude and a new direction in how we address gun violence in America.