There has been a lot of discussion (again) regarding gun control in the wake of the latest mass shooting (again?) in this insipid country. We have a crowd on the left clamoring for gun control. We have a crowd on the right saying everything is just fine the way it is. (Quite frankly, anyone who thinks everything is fine as-is has hit the crack pipe too many times.) There is a crowd from both crowds blaming mental illness on these heinous attacks.
I have tried to not to engage in this debate because it’s such a fiery topic. Everyone has an opinion about it and most of those folks cannot be persuaded one way or the other. The “debates” often devolve into name-calling and idiocy.
I have this sometimes frustrating ability to see multiple points-of-view on an issue. However, one thing I have a somewhat shameful intolerance of is stupidity, and I’m hearing a lot of it from the pro-gun crowd. Typically, I can just ignore it, but these things are really pissing in my Cheerios. For example:
Sooooooooo…that meme is really what sandpapered my balls enough to write this post. First of all, no one is trying to make guns illegal. What people want to do is make guns harder to obtain. There are dozens of places I could purchase a gun right now were I so inclined. Were I craving some meth or heroine, though, I wouldn’t have the slightest idea where to look. Also, people who use meth or heroine are only killing themselves. People who buy guns are using it to kill others. Analogy fail.
If, for some reason, guns were banned criminals would still get them, yes, but it wouldn’t be anywhere close to being as easy as it is now to get them. If you doubt me, Google gun violence statistics from England, whose gun violence is almost non-existent.
Soooooooo…we’re comparing weapons with the sole purpose of killing a living being to a vehicle meant only to convey a person (or persons) from one location to another? Is there an Uber app for Smith and Wesson I don’t know about? This is an asinine comparison. What car was designed with the intention of being used to murder a living being? What engineer maxed-out the horse-power on his design for maximum killing efficiency? Has the automobile industry been lying to us all these years about what we should be doing with our vehicles? And again, we have an argument against something no one has proposed. No one is trying to take your guns, people. We’re trying to figure out a way to keep them from finding the hands of those who would use them for ill deeds. That is all. But calls for gun reform are met with responses like this:
“We’re in a difficult time in our country and I don’t think more government is necessarily the answer to this,” the former Florida governor said at a campaign event. “It’s very sad to see, and I resist this notion because we had this challenge as governor – stuff happens. There’s always a crisis, and the impulse is always to do something and it’s not necessarily the right thing to do.”
Stuff happens? Seriously? Stuff happens is what you say when you get a flat tire or spill coffee on your shirt. It’s not an appropriate response to the umpteenth mass shooting of the last few years. Our continued inaction is allowing those who would commit these atrocities free reign to do so. And, yes, there’s an impulse to do something because this isn’t the first time this has happened. It keeps happening.
I know plenty of gun owners. They are good people who would never walk into a church and indiscriminately, or discriminately, begin shooting people. They know how to use them. They know how to properly care for them. They know how to keep them out of the hands of children. They have gun safes. They have trigger locks. They are responsible with their weapons. Unfortunately, though, it’s too easy for folks to obtain guns with no background checks legally.
In the last couple of years, the topics of mass shootings and mental illness have become somewhat intertwined. We had one guy with Asperger’s Syndrome go on a mass shooting spree and all of the sudden mental illness is the root cause of mass shootings. To be sure, there are one or two mental illnesses that might leave one in a homicidal state. That being said, however, the only person most people with a mental illness try to hurt is themselves. They self harm. They commit suicide. They don’t go into a church, ask everyone what religion they are, then pull the trigger if an unsatisfactory answer is given. That’s not depression. That’s not bipolar. That’s not schizophrenia. That’s just plain evil. Unspeakable evil. And there’s no pill for that. Yes, mental health needs to be a much larger priority in this nation, but people blaming shootings on mental illness are spouting ignorance. I know dozens of people with some form of depression and none of them are homicidal. Suicidal, yes. But not homicidal.
If you read the news on a regular basis you know that gun violence plagues our country. Not only are there frequent mass shootings, but there are individual shootings occurring all too frequently in every major city on a daily basis. LA. Chicago. New York. Atlanta. Hell, Cincinnati newscasts have been filled with shootings almost exclusively lately. Yes, the constitution guarantees us the right to bear arms, but our forefathers weren’t omnipotent. I highly doubt that the 2nd amendment would exist if they had had the ability to look 200 years into the future and see our countrymen blowing each other away like stalks of corn in a tornado. This is a different time. A different society. Things change, which was why the ability to amend the constitution was given. So it could adapt to our societal needs.
If you are among the many who shrug their shoulders when reading about gun violence in the news and, like Jeb, say, “Hey, stuff happens,” then you are passively enabling the next mass murder. Things are not okay. People are dying. Our system is broken. Instead of bitching and whining about this imagined attack on the 2nd amendment, why don’t responsible gun owners become a part of the solution instead of remaining a part of the problem? Why can’t we all agree that gun violence is out of hand (because it is) and work towards a resolution? There has to be a common ground, and we can find it if we set aside all the rhetoric and focus on saving lives instead of conjuring phantom “liberal” agendas.
As for me, there was once upon a time I thought there was no need for gun control. But shooting after shooting after shooting has left me misanthropic. The traditional arguments against gun control ring hollow every time multiple people are murdered. Telling me that the founding fathers gave us the right to bear arms doesn’t comfort me when those same people endorsed slavery. Telling me you need it to defend yourself or your home doesn’t sway me when there are other means to protect yourself. Telling me the bad guys are going to get it anyway so why try is a horribly lame excuse. That’s like me saying there’s no point in taking a shower since I’ll just get dirty again. I’d rather try to keep myself clean than be perpetually dirty. And likewise, I’d rather make some effort to keep guns out of the hands of criminals rather than just shrug my shoulders, do nothing, and say, “Stuff happens.”