Gun control is again a hot topic in American public spaces (namely social media) after the most recent deadly shooting — and quite soberingly yesterday, many were struggling to keep up with which random kill-fest was indeed the most recent.
Over on Facebook, I shared a link about gun violence in America, a commenter commented, and several had to be apprised of the latest. Was it Isla Vista? No. Seattle? No. Vegas? No, there had been another school shooting in Troutdale, Oregon — the 74th since Sandy Hook.
Following that most horrific day in America, we witnessed the conversation about gun control mimic our own insanity as a nation on this issue. Bizarrely, no small number of gun-hugging folk literally chose to believe no massacre occurred in Newtown, Connecticut, because to even admit it would be to admit that guns kill children, unavoidably.
To have guns is to have the deaths of children, either via human error or malevolence. And they don’t die peacefully, Noah Pozner’s mother told us so in the depths of her fresh grief.
In an America that once was, before guns became a massive battleground, we’d have given this woman a modicum of respect and kindness — after all, she endured what is every parent’s actual worst nightmare. Instead, she was vilified, as was Robbie Parker (father of victim Emilie), and Neil Heslin (father of Jesse White.)
What could have been a discussion about guns became a discussion about mental health, of all things. As if we could have protected those first graders by burying them in an avalanche of Paxil to block the bullets.
There was no evidence that Adam Lanza would ever even be considered for mental health treatment, or if he did, that it would have made any difference in the situation.
As a person with wildly variant political views myself, I’ve always said that we don’t need gun control, not specifically. First we need gun honesty.
While the NRA doubles down on its claim that a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun, the conversation has been muddled enough that we don’t even recognize the dishonesty of this statement — we just count it as a shaky data point.
In fact, there was a good guy with a gun at the second to last massacre just a few days ago — no, not the one in Oregon, and not the one in Seattle. In Vegas, where two shooters targeted random police officers at lunch, draping their bodies in Gadsden flags.
Again, let’s drop the damned pretense when it comes to murders like these. It doesn’t appear that Jerad Miller and his needlepointing wife Amanda were mentally ill in the slightest. The former, a felon, was legally prohibited from owning a firearm after his felony conviction, and he was pissed. That anger simmered and boiled over, and instead of making anything out of his pathetic life, he just decided to take out some cops on the way down.
A good samaritan and concealed carrier at the Walmart where the Millers made their sad last stand did what we’ve always heard a responsible gun owner will do… drew and attempted to neutralize the threat. You probably know by now that both the shooter and the defender wound up dead, bodies stacked upon bodies because ‘Murica!
In a Tumblr chat last night, President Obama addressed the most recent shooting in Troutdale with a resigned air, aware that even the mildest preventive measures would be met with violent rhetoric if not more violence.
“We’re the only developed country on Earth where this happens… And it happens now once a week. And it’s a one-day story. There’s no place else like this.”
No place like this indeed — most of Europe lacks our love for firearms, and manages to not have been herded into FEMA camps or forced to have gay sex, a fear America’s “ammosexuals” often express. Other countries, like Canada, manage to co-exist with guns with only a rare spree killing, more proof that stemming the vast rivers of blood from sea to shining sea are a pipe dream in any meaningful fashion.
At this point, with the NRA’s lock on lawmakers and a shooting happening almost every day, it seems wise to plan not for the America we want, but for the America we have.
As far as gun control goes, I’ve always been of the position that America’s gun culture has a cost. The cost is 27 dead in Newtown, the cost is Columbine, the cost is a bloodbath at the movies in Aurora, Colorado because really, would any of these dudes have tipped the radar before they went down in a hail of bullets, taking every visible woman and child with them?
Oh wait, Elliot Rodger did. Cops went to his home amid reports he might be planning a mass murder, but he was like, really nice and normal. So they left him, and a few weeks later, seven people were dead.
At least President Obama has realized this gun nonsense is a waste of energy. He recently admitted:
“Most members of Congress are terrified of the NRA… The only thing that is going to change is public opinion. If public opinion does not demand change in Congress, it will not change.”
We really need to go a step further though, and just accept the culture surrounding guns is so poisoned, so toxic, it will simply never change without qualification. The more we “demand” change, the more people will die in the paranoia created by this impotent back and forth over an immovable aspect of American life.
I’ve been banging this drum for some time — which is why I was surprised to finally see someone in the media admit that the guns and mental health business was a stupid canard meant to provide a veneer of caring while ignoring the issue.
The Week begins an article by admitting the crux here:
“We as a nation don’t care about any number of murdered children, no matter how many, or how young. We want our guns.”
Absolute truth. Let’s not put any more parents through what the parent of murder victims in Sandy Hook, or the parents of Trayvon Martin endured. We can’t stop these kids from being shot, but we CAN stop their families from being demonized simply in the rush to absolve guns.
The gun huggers have resisted restricting private sales, to prevent people like Dylan Harris and Eric Klebold and Jerad Miller (a felon barred from owning a firearm) from accessing guns. They’ve gone to the mattresses on even simple measures like registries, sent death threats over biometric locks.
It’s probably time for the rest of America to just give in and give up. With 74 school shootings since Sandy Hook, maybe it’s time to consider homeschooling your kids — and if not, teaching them how to react to shooters. You zig-zag, baby, a moving target is harder to hit!
With ammosexuals flooding Chipotles and shooters shooting up the Walmart, perhaps rely more on Amazon than big box stores. Your chances of being capped by the UPS man are far, far slimmer. (And if not, remember, don’t run in a straight line.)
The bare truth is not us, not anyone is coming for your guns. Keep them, buy two, ammo shortages are a lie concocted to drive ammo sales. But hey, go nuts, buy ALL the ammo. What does it really matter? Once you start shooting, it won’t stop until you’re dead, it’s best to be well-equipped, right? Your average American citizen can’t outspend the NRA on this message, so let’s just be honest that we have no interest in restricting guns in any fashion at all — legal or cultural.
As a country, we should just embrace this craziness in the hopes it will fade. Maybe even consider changing our “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” credo. After all, happiness is hard to pursue when you take a bullet to the jaw.
What about, “America: Good. Bad. I’m the guy with the gun?” We cannot beat them. So let’s join them.
December marks two years since Sandy Hook, and the more we talk about gun control, the more cognitive dissonance kills us — it’s our own mental health on this issue that should be worrisome, and not the mental health of celibate white boys with a gun kink. We know by now that guns don’t kill people, people kill people, but those people who kill people happen to have guns — and just like any other criminals, they will shoot you if you go for their guns.