Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I Have Some Questions

The latest iteration of our largely stupid gun debate was the so-called "Day of Resistance", featuring people walking around on Saturday with rifles strapped to their backs.  Because nothing says "freedom" like a bunch of strangers itching to shoot someone, am I right?

I've been largely silent about the whole gun debate for quite a while, because I am enraged by that most vocal minority who seem to insist, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that their inalienable right to own a murderous weapon trumps all other rights defined by the Constitution.  It trumps our collective need for safe and secure communities.  It even seems to trump the nation itself, these so-called patriots insisting that this right is an anti-governmental right, never once caring about the inherent contradiction in such a position.

But I digress.

The topic isn't the law or constitutional propriety of gun control.  Even under the Heller decision, regulation and prohibition of gun sales and ownership is allowable.  What's been proposed, and passed in New York, can best be called cosmetic changes to gun laws - reducing magazine capacity; restricting the sale and possession of a few types of weapons whose only purpose is the killing of other human beings; doing research on gun violence that has been blocked for far too long by the NRA - and all of it is certainly out of all proportion to the need to act.

Which leads me to my topic: In the wake of the Newtown massacre, many "gun rights advocates" have been overly vocal, insisting with the caps lock broken both literally and figuratively that whatever is proposed or passed, it is all about attacking them.  You hear it and read it all the time, how "law abiding gun owners" are being vilified.  You read about the impending gun-grab, which is never proposed nor even thought.  The Day of Resistance was set for February 23 because the ammunition size, .223, is one held up by gun control activists as particularly vile because it fits in civilian style semi-automatic weapons designed to look like military rifles.

It is the ammunition the shooter used in Newtown to kill 26 people, 20 of them children.

I have a question that I know will never be answered in any satisfactory way, but it should be asked: What the hell is wrong with you people?  Let's pretend for a moment that the body count hasn't continued to rise, with over 2,000 corpses in the two months since Newtown.  Let's pretend for a moment that Columbine and Aurora and Ft. Hood and Portland and all the other mass shootings never took place, that what happened in Newtown, CT was some kind of aberration instead of the regular sacrifice of life that seems necessary to ensure the continuing presence of guns in our national life.  Let's pretend all that so someone can tell me how a bunch of people being slightly inconvenienced is such a threat to fundamental liberty.  Let's pretend all this and someone tell me if anyone has given a moment's thought not to themselves but to the families who had to spend the week before Christmas burying their children, presents for them sitting under their Christmas trees never to be unwrapped.

This is something more than narcissism.  The way this whole thing turned from a necessary consideration of steps to make it more difficult for people to create corpses into an ugly shoutfest featuring our worst citizens insisting, "IT'S ALL ABOUT ME!!!!" makes me wonder if it's even possible for a society such as ours to govern itself.  Ours is not a society aided by modern communications technology, as the small minority of people who believe the lies of the NRA are amplified beyond any reasonable sense of proportion.  Apparently, there continues to be the thought that if one shouts loud enough and long enough, people won't notice how few people are actually shouting.

Just as an aside, I should also note there are people on FB friend list who do this kind of thing.  They copy and paste the same crazy photos and memes, repeating the nonsense about Obama being a tyrant and how owning a gun is the most sacred of all the Constitutional liberties, blah-blah-blah.  Some of them are not stupid people by any means.  They are teachers and preachers, some who I've known since we were kids.  I really want to ask them: Really?  Have you actually looked at what's being done before posting that thing about Obama being a dictator?  Do you really think you're right to purchase a gun - and, really, isn't this enshrining consumerism as a constitutionally protected right? - trumps any sense that we live together in a society in which we need to live together in peace and quiet and, most of all, trust?  Have you given even one second's thought to the families of those dead children?  Or, has it all been a sudden rush of fear that this incident, of all the shootings and death across our land, would be used to inconvenience you?

If you buy the nonsense about tyranny and gun-grabbing and our barely contained state of nature outlined by Wayne LaPierre, then I really have very little respect for you.  Since there is not a shred of evidence to support it, if you just click "Share", or copy and paste stuff from others without thinking, then you are worse than stupid.  You are allowing yourself to be duped by people who's agenda is quite simple - they want money.  Specifically, money from gun sales.  They'll take your money and make your homes quite a bit less safe, and then tell you it's all about freedom, and you lap it up because . . . why, exactly?

With roughly a thousand corpses a month thanks to gun violence - homicides and suicides, accidental shootings and domestic disturbances that escalate to murderous violence - we need to act.  The steps on offer barely scratch the surface of what should be done.  Yet we are distracted from acting by a small group under the influence of gun manufacturers, a small group into whose ears are whispered threats of tyranny and oppression disguised as well-meaning legislation.

How do these people sleep at night, with the voices of the dead pleading for action?

Virtual Tin Cup

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