April 3rd, 2013

Speakers

United States Senator (D-CA)

Description 
The United States should restrain the use of guns on the street and drones in the air according to U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein. Although the Obama administration drone program has drawn criticism from both the left and right Senator Feinstein contends the CIA has conducted it responsibly and should keep running it rather than transfer it to the Pentagon.
 
Diane Feinstein, US Senior Senator from California, spoke of the “stark horror” she felt on the day of the Sandy Hook massacre. Regarding assault weapons such as the semiautomatic rifle used at Sandy Hook, she said, “These weapons are antithetical to our values.” And regarding the children killed, she added, “Every time I see those faces I say shame on us that we let this happen in this great country.”
 
She spoke of the bill that she and her colleagues in the Senate have drafted, seeking to dry up the supply of assault weapons over time. “I have seen death up close and personal and it is not the way it is on television,” she said, referring to the 1978 murders of Harvey Milk and George Moscone. “This is a lifetime pursuit for me. If I can’t get it done this time, there will be another time.”
 
Feinstein spoke of the difference in the Senate today from when she arrived in 1992. “A fear has set in,” she said, a fear that if people vote on certain bills, they won’t be re-elected. “My view is then they shouldn’t go to the senate if they’re not prepared to stand up and vote.” 
 
Should assault weapon bans be left to the states? Feinstein spoke of how easy it is to bring weapons across state borders. “I think we do need a national solution.” She pointed to the UK and Australia as two countries where there isn’t the high homicide rate of the US. Feinstein also suggested that the videogame industry should respond to these violent killings by patrolling itself, or it may become regulated the way child pornography is. 
 
Regarding the issue of drones, Feinstein revealed that, though this is a covert program of which she is chair, she would like the collateral damage to be made public because “the official numbers are much much lower than any other numbers that are circulated out there.” She went on to say that the oversight right now is very strong and consistent, and she does not believe it should be turned over to the military. Regarding the nonmilitary use of drones, Feinstein said that technology is ahead of policy. “This is an enormous privacy question for the US. It’s one thing to use them on the borders to prevent intrusion, it’s another thing to fly them over our cities and towns.” 
 
Turning to the issue of climate change, she said, “People think the earth is immutable, that we can’t destroy it, that it’s always been this way. It isn’t so.” She believes that with the obvious devastation from severe weather events, people are going to come around and support the reduction of CO2