Thank the Republicans for the state of health care in the nation a decade ago: that is, if you were rich, you got good health care; if you were poor, not so much; middle class, only so-so and quite expensive.

Thank the Democrats and the President (OMG, he’s Black, I know) for the modest changes (Affordable Health Care) we now have.

Those policies include more people and make more health care more available. It is not “Medicare for All,” not Europe, but the nation is healthier. But watch out! Republicans promise, if elected to the White House, to end that care. They have tried numerous times and have not presented an alternative plan, except, you know, “business as usual.”

Speaking of health, high-powered assault guns are not healthy for most people (the user or the target). You a hunter? Great, I was too, growing up in rural Oklahoma. (Still miss my “over and under” shot-gun/rifle. I was so proud of it until it got stolen; that happens, or didn’t you know?) I even helped reduce the south Texas population of White Wings in the early days of my Valley adventures. Are you heading out soon for some deer – and beer? Think the President is coming to get your hunting rifle? Nope. He dealt with that irrational fear at the recent Town Hall meeting (CNN). He is a Constitutional scholar/professor. He respects the Second Amendment (and the rest of the Bill of Rights).

Republicans scoffed, even claimed an onion was responsible for his tear when speaking of massacres of students. Republicans apparently had no such sorrow. Or, as they were sucking up to the gun lobby, suggested “that is the price to pay for our guns.” The irony is most Americans (even most gun owners) believe in the overdue, sane, modest proposals (background checks) the President will put into Executive Orders via his powers granted by the U.S. Constitution (which they claim to revere).

President Obama assured the woman who had been raped his policies would not deprive her of a gun. He perhaps did not deal adequately with her false assumption that she would be safer. Google any reputable source (Slate, Mother Jones, Brady Campaign, et. al.) Women, especially, are more likely (five times) to be killed or maimed by their own gun. Other gun carriers are four times as likely to be harmed by their own weapon. Almost the same statistics apply for home storage; crooks don’t get killed, children and owners do, more often. Somehow, for many, the statistics make no difference.

Why? Why the disbelief in statistics and science? One major problem (about which the President spoke) is the National Rifle Association (NRA). Please note and remember: it is a very strong lobby for the gun manufacturing industry. The NRA is not a hunters’ or collectors’ association, despite its clever propaganda. It lobbied successfully to eliminate from the Center for Disease control funds for research on guns as a major threat to the general and particular health of American citizens. Hence, we have not the benefit of even more persuasive statistics about this threat to our health.

The President was cool in the Town Hall. Who else could have handled it so well? He faces (has faced from the beginning of his first term) solid Republican opposition — just because! To anything he proposes! They promised that opposition — and delivered. Again, why? It is obvious they played on the racist fears of many Whites, not just Republicans. “This Black Man was not born in the U.S.” (Their candidates still maintain that canard.) “This Black Man is coming for your guns.” Other, younger and more progressive citizens see the racism and reject it. But, will they register and vote? (Attention: Mexican Americans; Women; Millennials; your “not-so-involved-average Joe/José or Jane/Juana Citizen; anyone concerned with safety and health.)

Any statement from the President, say, about condemning cops gunning down young Black men, or, more recently, about the need to prevent more massacres of young students or others, engenders ridicule and refusal to cooperate by Republicans. This is a responsible party? This is even an American party? This is even a human party? Here, in Texas, it gets worse.

Gov. Abbott (and Republican cabinet and Republican-dominated legislature) defy reason. They defy Police and Sherriff’s Associations support for gun control as they encourage Open-Carry (and Closed-Carry), even guns on campus. Chances are they will not be the professor shot by an angry student who failed an exam or a course. (Or a Wal-Mart employee who is ordered to ask to see the permit of an open-gun carrier.)

It doesn’t take much to “set off” someone in “road-rage” or “classroom-rage” or perhaps “shopping-rage.” With a gun in one or more hands, the stage is set for more bloodshed. The blood is and will be on their (Republican legislators) hands. If this is your party, the rationale for your usual vote (to supposedly protect capital gains or 401Ks) is questionable. Think about your enabling vote for gun policies that endanger your health and perhaps the life of a loved one. Then will you be so complacent?

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying this guest column shows U.S. President Barack Obama participating in a live town hall event on reducing gun violence hosted by CNN’s Anderson Cooper at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia January 7, 2016. (Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)