Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Three Things about Which to Be Hopeful We May Be Making Progress on Gun Control, Russian Meddling and Security Clearances

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Three Things about Which to Be Hopeful We May Be Making Progress on Gun Control, Russian Meddling and Security Clearances

Article excerpt

Three developments last week encouraged me to think that America may be capable of dealing with some of its fundamental problems, including gun control, Russian elections interference and lagging respect for our security-clearance process.

I should add as prologomenon that I am not given to Mary Sunshine analyses, no doubt driven by spending parts of my life in wartime Beirut, Somalia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

I am, however, encouraged about prospects for meaningful gun control by the intensity of the fury, particularly on the part of young people, provoked by the killing of 14 students and three teachers in Parkland, Fla., by a troubled young man with a legally bought AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle.

I realize that the 2012 slaughter of 26 first-graders and teachers in Newtown, Conn., came to nothing, except in Connecticut, in terms of our unfortunate tendency to mass murder one another with uncontrolled weapons. But I am encouraged now by several phenomena.

The first is that young people are carrying the ball. They don't give up easily.

The second is that they have realized that the real problem is gutless members of Congress, paid off by the National Rifle Association, which, in turn, is paid by America's gun manufacturers.

Third, it is an election year for the entire House of Representatives, a third of the Senate and many state legislators. That means that, if the young people consider a candidate's position on gun control as a litmus test for their and perhaps their parents' votes, the NRA and its backers will have met a formidable opponent. The young people will need to be careful not to be put off by legislators' weasel-like "false flag" tactics of commissions, committees,"proposed" legislation and the like. They need to insist on laws signed by the president or governors.

As for Russian interference in our elections, this came a step clearer to resolution with the indictments on Friday of 13 Russians and three Russian companies, based on the work of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller. It now is considerably more difficult for President Donald J. Trump or anyone else to claim the Russians didn't do it. If Mr. Mueller's team has enough information to name names in indictments, that means there is enough information to bring cases in court.

Nevertheless, I find it difficult to believe that Russian President Vladimir V. Putin would have undertaken such a risky dive into American elections without a reasonable expectation of reward if his favored candidates won, or even if they didn't. That means the Russian team almost certainly had to have American partners. We would like to assume that the names of those Americans will be the next revelation of Mr. Mueller's office.

One doesn't back a candidate with money and other support without making that candidate aware of one's assistance. …

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