It’s difficult to find the right words, or even the right avenue to sling the words down, to address the topic of gun control. It’s a hot button issue for almost everyone, in one way or another.
Just so we’re all clear, I’m going to drop a disclaimer here at the front.
I own a few guns. They haven’t been shot in years, and probably need some repair. For the most part I’m not interested in shooting anything anymore, except with a camera. I have enjoyed shooting in the past, I have enjoyed hunting in the past. The reasons I’ve enjoyed those things have little to do with the actual firing of a gun. I’ll confess that among my hobbies, if I had infinite dollars to spend, target shooting would probably happen once or twice a year.
That being said, I’m going to say a few more things and I apologize if I meander or go totally off the rails. Maybe I’ll even edit this before I post it.
In the wake of what’s happened in Orlando there has been a huge outcry demanding tougher rules on guns, and assault weapons in particular. This seems more than reasonable to me. Lives are more important than the ability to purchase a machine whose purpose in creation is cutting people down in large swaths. I don’t think anyone I know would argue against that point. Even the people I know on the right – and I live in Arizona, an open carry state where it seems like everyone and their mom, poodle, and goldfish live and breathe Republican – are in favor of making it more difficult for people on terror watch lists to get these types of weapons.
Despite this, I see a lot of meme’s being posted to Facebook by people who I know and otherwise respect, decrying the notion of “Blaming the guns” for the atrocities committed with them.
I want to make this point as clearly as I can, so take a deep breath and read the thing I’m typing instead of the thing that the NRA wants you to see.
No one wants to confiscate your guns. No one wants to take away the rights of typical, more or less upstanding citizens who only want to shoot targets and fuzzy woodland creatures. No one. Not President Obama. Not Hillary Clinton. Not Bernie Sanders. Certainly some people are for a ban on assault weapons. You know, the ones made specifically for killing people. I tend to be in that group, but that’s a layer of specificity beyond the point of this post.
To go along with that, no one is blaming the naughty, naughty guns for the tragic, horrible events that they are used to carry out. Most of the blame goes to the shooter, as it should. But these things continue to happen, at a rate unheard of in any other country on the planet.
Hey, guess what America. There’s still one thing we lead in. Good fucking job.
At a certain point, society has to take responsibility for the people it creates, and the policies that allow them to flourish, unhindered.
Despite the NRA keeping the federal government from being able to actually study gun-violence, we do have some statistical data. I’ll start here with a handy website that tracks all of the mass shootings in America. You’ll note that as of today, June 14th 2016, there have been four since the shooting in Orlando. SINCE. As in, NOT INCLUDING.
You’d have to wonder, why in the world, if nearly everyone is in favor of at least SOME form of regulation, does it never happen?
Well, it doesn’t happen because the NRA doesn’t want it to happen. This must be abundantly obvious, to any who look at the situation with even the barest hint of clarity. The NRA is more concerned with making sure you can buy guns in America than it is with whether or not you’re alive to shoot them.
The NRA lobbies Congress unrelentingly, every year, to the tune of $3 million or so. Mitch McConnell, Majority Leader in the Senate, is openly bought buy the NRA (dreadfully melodramatic music choice for the video on that link, sorry).
I was going to say this is just another instance of our corrupted government taking its marching orders from big money lobbyists, but it feels crass to be so reductive about it. Vast amounts of money are spent every year by lobbying firms like the NRA to influence policy, and they don’t GIVE A FUCK what you or anyone else with a vote thinks.
The truth is that it isn’t reductive at all, in fact it is quite the opposite.
Expansive to the point of affecting every human being that lives in America. All of us.
We live in a world of acceptable risks. We drive with our children and loved ones in the car, knowing that it’s possible we could all die from the decision. The risk has been studied, steps have been taken to mitigate it. We have seat belts. You are required to pass a test to drive legally.
We go out to the movies, assuming our relative safety.
We go to work, assuming our relative safety.
This is usually the part where someone says “Ah, but if you regulate the guns the black market will take over and they’ll just buy them illegally!”
If you were about to say that, turn around and tell the NRA to make sure it greases up before it shoves its hand up your ass to use you as a puppet.
The Orlando shooter bought his weapon legally. Would he have sought one out illegally to carry out his evil (yes, evil. Real, fucked up, human evil) plan?
Possibly, but we didn’t make him. We let him go pick one up like it was a bag of oranges.
I’ll go back to the driving metaphor one more time. Cars are for moving people and product around. They are dangerous to use, but we’ve made provisions for that and put plans and systems in place to deal with accidents when they happen.
Guns, by their very nature, are destructive tools. If you shoot something, you had better be intending to destroy the thing, because that’s what happens when a thing gets shot. They serve no other purpose, whether it’s a paper target or a human one.
It is well past time to start regulating tools of destruction, and demanding that our government – who we fucking voted for and elected, not the NRA – take our concerns seriously.
They can regurgitate an endless stream of thoughts and prayers, but when they aren’t followed up with actions that are determined to reduce the number of times we have to offer up those empty warm fuzzies then it is time to vote them the fuck out.
I am as serious as a heart attack. The rest of us go to a job and do a thing because our bosses pay us to do the thing they want. Well, so do our congresspeople. It’s time to make sure they know who the goddamn boss is in this country. We elected them. Their position is one of service to us, not the lobbyists.
Call, write, whatever. Go out and be heard. Because if you don’t exercise your authority then you don’t have any, and the lobbyists get to keep pretending they own the country, and the flow of guns to any madman with a credit card and a grudge will continue unabated.