Gabby Giffords and Gabby Hayes

Sometimes I scratch my head and wonder. Other times I don’t wonder at all. I’m amazed, disappointed, and chagrined. Today was one of those as the Senate’s refused to pass legislation that would have indicated a modest degree of sanity and freedom from the gun lobby.

gabbyhayeswestern17My generation grew up watching Gabby Hayes and others in the Westerns that dominated our TVs.  The law of the Old West was the law of the gun-slingers. We played cowboys and Indians with pretend guns and bows and arrows, re-enacting America’s westward expansion sometimes wondering whether the ones with bows and arrows were more civilized than those with guns.

Gabby Giffords book photo

Gabby Giffords book photo

More recently a different Gabby – Gabby Giffords, a vibrant U.S. Representative from Arizona – was shot and nearly killed, joining the growing numbers of victims of gun violence.

This later Gabby sent an email expressing her disappointment after today’s Senate’s refusal to adopt simple, common-sense legislation.

Moments ago, the United States Senate voted on two measures that would have strengthened our gun laws and helped keep guns out of the hands of criminals, domestic abusers, the dangerously mentally ill, and known and suspected terrorists.

And in the wake of yet another mass shooting — the deadliest in modern American history — the Senate chose to do the unimaginable: nothing at all.

Five years ago, I was shot point blank in the head, and the Senate did nothing. When 20 young children and six educators lost their lives in Newtown, Connecticut, the Senate did nothing. San Bernardino, Roseburg, Navy Yard, Charleston, Isla Vista — nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing.

Well, I am a fighter and I am not going to give up now. This won’t be easy, but we’ve made great progress over the past few years. And I know that if we continue to stand together, we are going to pass legislation that saves lives, or we will elect a Senate that will.

… I am sure we’ll hear platitudes like “tough vote” and “complicated issue,” but this was neither. These senators made a decision based on fear and calculations about the gun lobby’s influence. But I can promise you their fear is nothing like the fear my constituents felt years ago, or the people at Pulse nightclub in Orlando felt last weekend.


Sometimes I wonder. What will it take for those we elect to office to become clear?

Until they act, the Gabby Giffords of this world and those she represents will continue to fall because someone believes, or wants us to believe, that the old world of Gabby Hayes is the real America.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, June 20, 2016


10 thoughts on “Gabby Giffords and Gabby Hayes

      • I hope you don’t think that reply was a mic drop. The simple fact is, we have a toxic political culture now because we have nationalized every single issue. There are places in the country that have extremely restrictive gun laws because that’s what most of the people there want. There are other places where people feel differently. Trying to impose your idea of morality on people with diverse views usually ends poorly.


        • Mike, my apology for the cryptic reply. You’ll find an earlier post (The Common Ground Beneath the Gun Debate) on Views from the Edge that calls for redirecting the debate about guns that might engage the search for solutions in the shared values of the Declaration of Independence. I’d like to engage the discussion with you and will look forward to hearing your thoughts.


  1. I think (I’m afraid) we will have to wait until some of the worst die-hards pass on. It seems that those who understand the need for new laws don’t get out and vote, while the small percent of Americans represented by the heads of the NRA get out en masse. Thus legislators don’t pay a price (like being voted out of office) for voting with the insane few who think terrorists, domestic abusers and such like should be able to easily and legally buy guns and ammunition that have only one purpose — to kill as many human beings as possible in the shortest span of time. Those legislators have blood on their hands. I weep for my country. Maybe we never had ideals; if so, maybe we should teach the truth in history classes, like our near genocide of the Native American population, internment of Japanese Americans, etc. Maybe then this kind of thing wouldn’t come as such a shock.


    • Re: the latter comment about history classes, could it be that the younger generation which has rallied behind Bernie has been the beneficiary of such teaching? It was our parents’ generation and those who taught us that swept the truth under the carpet. Perhaps you remember sixth grade at Marple when our teacher asked how many of the class would vote for Eisenhower and how many for Stephenson. Only Woody raised his hand for Stephenson!


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