Saturday, February 17, 2018

Mad as Hell

There are no easy answers to the outrage and tragedy of mass shootings in this country and I am not naive enough to believe that banning assault rifles alone will end them.

The gist of the argument against banning these weapons of mass destruction, which is precisely what they are, is why do honest, law abiding citizens have to give up their guns because of the criminal acts of others?

To that my answer is this:

I once enjoyed playing lawn darts, keeping my shoes on before getting on a plane, and the right to pee in a bathroom of a restaurant where I was not a customer. Unfortunately I can’t do any of that anymore because some assholes did stupid things making it bad for everyone else. 

You know what? I’m ok with that because if these small sacrifices contribute to the greater good of society, then so be it.

No, banning the guns alone is not going to solve the problem, not at this point in the United States where we now have more guns than people. But the least we can do in memory of all the lives lost so needlessly in the name of the right for people to own guns, is to not make it so goddamn easy for these killers to slaughter innocent people.

Is that too much to ask?


Michael said...

Social media is overwhelmed with memes and statistics from people who are mad as hell. They all seem to want someone to wave a magic wand and make it impossible for mass shootings to ever happen again but they are all missing the underlying and very inconvenient truth. That truth is that a huge swath of America is not in favor of restricting gun ownership in any way shape or form and to that end they have rallied around the NRA and its sister organizations.

The NRA is blamed, not erroneously, for fattening the coffers of PACs and pols but I don't believe it is to the same extent as other special interests. I'd wager that big oil, big pharma, and other lobbies are far more generous. What the NRA does, however, is to remind our elected officials of just how important the second amendment (as most recently interpreted) is to the ethos of America and to that end, those who put them into office, and therein lies the rub.

A significant part of that ethos is that we are a violent nation. History shows us that virtually all nations have a violent past but ours is active and has been as such throughout its entire existence. We don't choose to see ourselves as such but it is the elephant in the room. Our culture is rife with violence. It is the stuff of film, literature, music, video games, etc. It is the white hat vs. the black hat that has morphed into the NRA mantras of "the best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun" or "guns don't kill people, people kill people."

We are the only developed nation that has codified virtually unrestricted gun ownership in its constitution. It doesn't matter that it was done in an era of muskets and daily threats to the existence of most of its citizens. It continues to stand as the proverbial hedge against tyranny that so many gun rights adherents extoll as the founders primary reason for putting it into the bill-of-rights.

Ultimately, before anything substantial changes the proliferation of military style semi-automatic long guns (or any other of the firearm bogey men) it will take not just a majority (which many polls indicate already exists) but a plurality of red and blue states. The very forces that gave Donald Trump an electoral college victory are those that must be the agents of change. Until that happens, and I doubt it will anytime in the foreseeable future, we can count on more and more and more of the same. Thoughts and prayers will be all that emanates from Washington and anyone that rails for more will be painted with the same broad brush as liberal snowflakes or unpatriotic bleeding hearts.

Yeah, I'm mad as hell too. Then what?

James Iska said...

As always Michael, thank you for your insightful comments. I was struck by your bringing up the "the proverbial hedge against tyranny" argument of some gun rights advocates which taken to its logical conclusion would mean there could be absolutely no limit (including nukes) to the type of weapons allowed private citizens in order to defend against governmental tyranny which would conceivably have the backing of the military.Fortunately we're not quite there yet but if the trend that I've experienced in my lifetime is any indication, we may be headed in that direction.