Las Vegas Sun

August 21, 2019

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Where I Stand:

Follow Sheldon Adelson’s money toward gun safety

Israel can take care of itself.

Children and other innocents in America’s shopping malls and entertainment venues can’t!

Americans had many thoughts about the horrific mass murders this past weekend in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio — the same kind of thoughts we have all had after every mass murder this and every year for as long as we can remember — but those thoughts have rarely turned into any appreciable action. One of the rare exceptions, of course, has been Nevada following the Oct. 1 murders. Our Legislature finally made some small but significant steps toward gun sanity this year.

I was on my way to a Las Vegas shopping mall Saturday when the news was being reported about the tragedy in El Paso. I pondered whether a mall in Las Vegas could be next — and whether it could be the one my friends and I were going to visit. Or you and your family?

After all, Nevada has its share of white nationalists and other nutty fringers as well as those too incompetent for a variety of reasons to own firearms.

That’s when I had my single thought about how to get ahead of the nuts and the dangerous people in society. It’s a solution to finally convince our political leaders, specifically President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — the first won’t lead in a meaningful way on gun safety issues and the second is mean because he won’t budge — to actually do something about these senseless killings. And to do it now.

It’s about money. No, not the money from the National Rifle Association which for far too long has bought and paid for congressional inaction. Those who have failed to legislate must bear some of the blame for maintaining an environment that allows these murders to continue with alarming regularity in our country.

I am talking about the money that fuels the Republican Party and specifically the White House and the Senate leadership.

We don’t have to travel very far to find the one donor to the Republican Party — make no mistake, it is the Republicans who today are preventing anything resembling a sane response to these bloody stains on the American pursuit of life, liberty and happiness — who can prompt movement at the very pinnacle of political power with the mere stroke of a pen or simply a threat to withhold funding.

That one person lives in Las Vegas and can make the difference overnight.

Sheldon Adelson gives hundreds of millions of dollars to GOP causes. He does so because he believes — especially with this president — that he will get what he pays for in a close and helpful relationship between the United States and a country he loves, Israel.

So far, Trump has done everything Sheldon asks for when it comes to Israel, and I expect there will be a lot more coming. As an unabashed supporter of the U.S.-Israel relationship, I am happy with Sheldon’s commitment and priorities.

But, right now, Israel doesn’t need any more of our help. What it needs is a healthy America in its corner supporting the cause of freedom and justice for people everywhere. But we Americans can’t get to that place until we feel secure in our own homes, in our own cities, in our houses of worship and in our shopping malls.

We can’t begin to get close to that kind of peace and security until we do something to stop these senseless murders, most of which are carried out by deranged people who shouldn’t have guns or twisted ideologues who have been encouraged to act out because they are not discouraged from doing so by political leadership at the very top.

So all Sheldon needs to do is call his friend the president and simply say, “I am writing a check for hundreds of millions of dollars again this year but I am leaving the recipient line empty right now. Whether that ultimately says Republicans or Democrats will be determined by how fast this country passes enforceable gun safety legislation. I mean right now.”

I can’t think of anything or anyone who can do as much for so many Americans as Sheldon can do right now. I believe he has it in him to make this incredible gesture toward saving so many innocent Americans.

And I believe wholeheartedly that it will work.

Ever since the Supreme Court decided it was OK for the wealthiest people and corporations in the country to give unlimited resources to the political process, billionaires like Sheldon have gained virtually unchecked power and influence. Now he can use that power for good.

Gun sanity has never been about the Second Amendment, as much as the NRA and its supporters would have us believe. Our Founding Fathers would never have created a country that can kill itself daily from within and a Constitution that would allow it.

No, gun safety is all about the money — and who makes it by selling weapons of war to the public.

That creates the opportunity for Sheldon to step up and put his incredible good fortune to good use.

Come on, Mr. Adelson, show America that you can use your money for the most human cause of all: Saving lives.

You will be forever remembered in America for this good deed that, perhaps, only you can do. And you will be lauded in Israel for making its American friend a land of peace and security for its people.

After all, Tikkun Olam — saving the world — is at the heart of Jewish life. You can start right now, right here at home.

Brian Greenspun is editor, publisher and owner of the Sun