Commentary: ‘Do something’ is a chant growing difficult to ignore

By Michael Leppert

Do something. Do anything that might appear to be something. Congress, show the steep majority of Americans that you have the courage to simply do your jobs. Firm up your jaws and prepare to take a punch or two from a loud minority of people who think any inconvenience is an assault on their inflated vision of their constitutional rights.

But mainly, just do something on guns.

Michael Leppert is a public and governmental affairs consultant in Indianapolis and writes his thoughts about politics, government and anything else that strikes him at

It’s simple advice that I have given policy makers many times over the years. Every time I do, I am flooded by the outrage that seems to steadily brew in the hearts of those who enjoy the mantra of “shall not infringe.” That phrase is clipped from the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and translates for some to mean that any regulation or restriction to the right to bear arms is a violation of our founding document. Those people are obviously wrong, but they sure love saying and writing that little phrase.

The near simultaneous mass shootings last weekend in El Paso and Dayton have turned the heat back up on the debate about gun control. The white supremacist element in the El Paso massacre adds to the difficulties for President Trump and Republicans in Congress. The arguments for the “do nothing” approach to both gun violence and domestic terrorism seem to have finally run their course this time.

I have written that before and been wrong. Pessimists will say I’m still wrong, but here’s why this time is different.

President Trump owns what happened last weekend. No, I do not blame him as if he pulled the triggers. But the racist things he has said and done as president make it impossible for him to be the healer in chief in places like El Paso. He had already divided that city with his campaign rally there earlier in the year, and his demonization of people who live there on both sides of this border town. Any tragedy there would have made it difficult for Trump to take the role of consoler. The mass shooter there posted a screed detailing his white supremacist reasoning for the killings, making it impossible to avoid connecting the dots right back to the White House.

It was not substantially easier for him in Dayton, where chants of “do something” were heard on his first gun-violence tour stop Wednesday. Indiana born and raised Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley received President Trump at the airport, along with Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown. Both are Democrats, who expressed to the president their desire for action in Washington on guns. Mayor Whaley said, “I think the victims and the first responders were grateful that the President of the United States came to Dayton.”

She also said “A lot of the time his talk can be very divisive, and that’s the last thing we need in Dayton.” One can only assume that this comment is what sent Dan Scavino, White House director of social media, into a Twitter rage Wednesday. He accused Whaley and Brown of lying about what took place during the visit.

No one knows what Scavino meant. More relevantly, I am astonished to learn Trump has a “director of social media.” That quite possibly could be the worst job on Earth.

Trump’s divisive, racist rhetoric, and his party’s defense of it is now becoming a heavy load to carry. Trump’s acquiescence to the long standing “do nothing” approach by Republicans on guns just got heavier as well. The two items are now irreversibly married to one another, and that combination is what is new this time.

Amnesty International issued a travel advisory for the U.S. on Wednesday “due to rampant gun violence.”

Indiana Senator Mike Braun said on Thursday “…if we don’t do common-sense things to take guns away from folks that use them the wrong way, we’re going to hurt our ability to keep and bear arms in the future.”

That sounds like support to “do something.”

I often get the question during debates on this issue of what new law would have prevented the horrific mass shooting that just happened. Over the years my answer has almost uniformly become: “pick one.”

Maybe it is background checks, red flag laws, or a return to the 1994 “assault weapon ban” contained in the crime bill. Maybe it is funding for the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) to study gun violence as a public health crisis. All have public support. Inaction does not.

So, pick one. Or two.

But do something.

Michael Leppert is a public and governmental affairs consultant in Indianapolis and writes his thoughts about politics, government and anything else that strikes him at

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3 Responses to Commentary: ‘Do something’ is a chant growing difficult to ignore

  1. If people truly want to “do something” that will start to turn this issue around, the “something” that needs to be done is to start eliminating all of these government programs that have taken the role of the father in the family and personal responsibility. The “something” that needs to be done is to start holding people responsible for their actions instead of subsidizing their decisions with a government program.
    “Anything” gun related will not stop these tragedies, as we have hundreds of existing laws on the books that are failing to stop these people and if you think that someone not deterred by the death penalty is going to be stopped by anything people are suggesting, then that’s a whole new level of dangerous absurdity.
    These actions are the consequences of decades of assault on the traditional family and the principles and values generally associated with it. The father has been replaced with a multitude of programs and kids are growing up in homes without father figures, loving parents and social media that amplifies social detachment 24/7. It took decades to get here and “doing something” by enacting more useless laws reacting to mob cries will only further detract from the true underlying cause of these tragedies.
    Why is it that just a few decades ago, high school parking lots were filled with vehicles with firearms, many with their windows rolled down. Score the 80’s, one could buy a machine gun without background checks. We used to be able to walk into a hardware store and buy a gun or order one online without background checks and there were no mass shootings.
    Then the Reagan shooting. And instead of everyone blaming the shooter, they blamed the tool and “did something” by implementing background checks. Next up was the assault weapons ban, yet Columbine happened anyway. Thankfully, it was allowed to expire because it “did nothing”.
    The one common thing in these shootings is that the person actually committing the crime is never blamed, it’s the gun that people go after. This shifts responsibility away from the shooter and cultures a mentality tgat I described in my opening paragraph.
    If saving lives is truly the goal, our attention and resources are being irresponsibly misdirected. One of the current solutions to these tragedies is to ban “assault” rifles. The facts show this to be either gross ignorance of the facts or intentional deception.
    America is a country of about 320 million people with about 2.8 million deaths annually. There are an estimated 400 million firearms in the hands of about 100 million Americans.
    Of those 2.8 million deaths committed from about 400 million firearms, the FBI shows 403 homicides by rifle in 2017.
    Do the math.
    There are more abortions performed in 4 hours than there are people killed with rifles in an entire year. A rifle ban will do little to nothing to stop people who aren’t stopped by hundreds of existing laws now, but a ban on abortion will save almost a million lives each year.
    Don’t want to go there? Okay, let’s look at vehicles. In the same year, 10,874 people were killed in vehicle crashes.
    Where’s the outcry to ban cars?
    I can do this All. Day. Long.
    So, you see, it’s not the guns, it’s the ideology and misdirection away from the fact that all of these government programs have created tucking time bombs and our “solution” of “doing something” will not only do nothing to save lives, but actually contribute to the problem by exacerbation the shifting of personal responsibility.
    Society is a compound fracture and instead of enduring the pain of re-setting the bone, we’d rather just keep injecting morphine to alleviate the pain and change bandages, to “do something”.
    Guess what eventually happens?

  2. I sure hope someone is funding studies to learn more about what causes these shooters to act and how to prevent it, but I’ve never understood why liberals think CDC is the appropriate organization to conduct such a study.

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