Oh, well, shoot (as they say). I don’t know.
We’ve got a problem with guns. We don’t agree what it is, but no matter who you are, you have to admit we do a lot of shooting in this country. We blast away. Most of us don’t, but this is one of those areas where one person can have an outsized effect. And the fact is, other nations in the world do not experience the gun violence that we do here in the U. S. of A. You know, unless they’re in a war. Something’s going on. Can’t keep pretending not.
So we have a situation in which otherwise reasonable people, people I know and love, people who will never perpetrate a crime, who merely want the ability to defend their home and family in the way they feel comfortable with, and maybe pop a deer every now and then, are so horrified by the utterly absurd prospect that someone is going to try to take away their guns, their protection, that they have drawn a line: and the line is All weapons, Always. They might not need a military assault weapon capable of mowing down a crowd of people, personally, but they will now defend to the death someone else’s right to have it. Preferably someone else’s death. Shall we own mortars? Anti-aircraft missiles? Where, on the continuum that began with muskets in the Revolutionary War, do we draw the line?
It is the National Rifle Association that suggested this confiscation scenario to them, of course. The NRA used to be a gun-safety and responsibility organization, not averse to some regulation, but pivoted hard in the ‘70s and now is primarily an engine to energize far-right voters and drive gun sales. It has been wildly successful on both counts.
God’s commandments crumble before the Second Amendment in these circles—or, more precisely, its second half. What, these days, is the meaning of a “well-regulated militia”—that orphaned throw-away clause? The people who claim to know the answer to that are the ones that scare me the most. They are spectacularly over-armed, and they want to take down the government, which is still you and me—for now.
Republicans in the service of the NRA do not hesitate to decry terrorism if it comes in the right shade, but refuse to call this American tragedy the terror it is. Have we really found it acceptable that our children are drilled in the expectation that someone, some day, will try to kill them at their little desks? If we lock them inside their schools and strap weapons on their teachers, do we really imagine they will come out unscathed? Madness.
But talking about this is now called “politicizing” the issue. There must be a name for that special amount of time between “too soon” and the next murderous rampage. It’s so hard to find that sweet spot, wherein we might have an adult discussion. There’s hardly even enough time for a good prayer. Here’s a thought: whatever we’re doing now isn’t working.
They say what we need is more guns. There were about 400,000 AR-15s in the country in 1994 before the assault gun ban went into effect, and since the Republicans repealed it ten years later, we’ve accumulated 20 million more and mass shootings have tripled. “Stupid” is the most charitable word to use for politicians who think we need more guns. It’s like solving the climate crisis by pumping more carbon into the atmosphere. Which is, in fact, the Republican plan.
They say it’s a mental health issue. Why, then, are there so many more mentally ill people in America and why are we making dead certain they can have military weapons and large-capacity magazines?
Why, in fact, is this entire rolling tragedy so uniquely American? That’s what a British journalist asked Senator Ted Cruz, because it is exactly the question we need to answer if we are looking for real solutions. Ted Cruz is not. He flipped the game board over on his way out of the room rather than answer. He stormed off in a red-white-and-blue huff. Because that’s what he’s paid a ton of money to do.
It’s true that the second amendment guarantees a right to bear arms. However, given the oft-emphasized importance (emphasized by many of the Supremes) of remaining true to the intentions of the original framers of the Constitution, we should be free to own ONLY the types of firearms that were available in 1791, when the Bill of Rights was ratified.
Doesn’t that make sense?
And women probably shouldn’t be allowed to own any either. Also some of those other kinds of people.
“A well-regulated militia”. How has that been ignored? Why can’t I have a Howitzer to protect my home or maybe a small thermonuclear device in my front yard to deter trespassers? How far do we take the right to bear arms? Will children be required to wear body armor in school? Maybe they should carry guns, too, just to defend themselves against random school shooters.
I think control is out of the question as it is far too late for that. Pandora’s box of firearms was opened long ago. Sorry to be such a downer, but it has been sad to watch the U.S. descend into a lawless third world country so quickly.
I believe it’s true that there are so many guns out there now that restrictions would have only a dampening effect, but that’s still something. The assault weapons ban in 1994 did help.
Yes Joan, given the recent “exact words” logic, it should be muskets for everyone! I’m so fed up right now I can’t think straight. And to think I was actually wondering what mitt Romney thought of all this as I believed he was one of the fairer-minded Republicans. Turns out he’s taken more money from the NRA than anyone, 13 million blood soaked dollars! Murr, be careful where you aim that thing 😉
Nobody’s shot me yet, and I have a very public stance on abortion that should have gotten me offed by a pro-lifer long ago.
The ONLY upside to this whole fucking disaster is that even Paul, my news-junkie husband has staged a moratorium on listening to the news on the radio. It’s just too depressing, and there is nothing we can do about it. As Anonymous has said above, the Pandora’s Box has been opened and there is no way to come back from that.
I’m certain Paul’s moratorium will be short-lived, but I will enjoy every fucking minute of radio silence (except for jazz, of course!)
My news intake has gone way down in the last few years. And my habit of jumping into social media threads with my valuable opinions.
It was certainly short-lived; the radio is back on, tuned to the news. (NPR… but still depressing.)
My news-junkie wife has not reached the moratorium-on-TV-news stage. I wish she would. I call what she does “counting the rivets.” If we’re tied to the RR tracks with no hope of getting loose or being spotted by the engineer of the approaching train or of being rescued in some fashion, I’d as soon look at the butterflies and flowers as the train approaches, but she’d rather count the rivets on the approaching engine.
“Have we really found it acceptable that our children are drilled in the expectation that someone, some day, will try to kill them at their little desks? “
I lived through that. I remember drills in case the Russians bombed us. (Like hiding under your desk would save you from being nuked! Oh, puh-leeze!) I used to be a Catholic back then, and I remember not only being terribly scared, but actually praying to “god” to prevent then Russians “throwing bombs at us.” This anxiety has never left me. I just learned to live with it (drinking…. gummies…..)
I don’t remember being all that scared about duck-and-cover. I don’t know why, because I have never been a brave person. I wasn’t keeping up with the news, though. And I’m pretty sure the active-shooter drills would have devastated me.
I remember thinking, during duck and cover drills, that it was incredible that the adults thought this would give any protection at all from nuclear attack. Didn’t give me much faith in the elders.
“Why, in fact, is this entire rolling tragedy so uniquely American?”
Because none of the d***heads are prepared to give up their “freedom” to bear arms, more arms and to use them of course.
Add to that young men influenced heavily by video games and social media and it’s a recipe for disaster.
American definition of “Libertarianism”:
“Freedom” and “freedom to destroy” are at all times and under all circumstances completely indistinguishable. But I’ve said that before.
Let’s all make a vow to never vote for ANYone who takes gun money, ever. And tell NPR we want to KNOW who those candidates are for every election, every time, from now until forever.
If you read “An indigenous people’s history of the United States”, which I recommend, you may conclude that a “well-regulated militia” was a tool of white European settlers to commit genocide against Native Americans in order to steal their lands.
I vaguely recall reading somewhere (not exactly an “appeal to authority,” is it?) that another purpose of a “well-regulated militia” was hunting down escaped slaves.
Since the NRA’s goal became, in the 1970s, maximal firearm and ammo sales at all costs, they have worked day and night to convince Americans that the 2nd amendment gives every citizen the right to buy, sell or otherwise transfer, to store, transfer, carry or otherwise possess, any quantity of any firearm under any circumstances. Their ideal scenario is civil war and anarchy, because that’s the scenario of maximal sales. (The only limitation on that would be they want to still see a stable currency.) They bought the legislatures (since the government is for sale), which worked very well. It has all been very effective because this is a nation of stupid cowards. By “stupid” I mean “proud of their ignorance,” and by “cowards,” I mean that it doesn’t matter HOW brave they are on a battlefield or even in a barroom brawl, if all it takes to take total control of their behavior is to say “Look out, people who are different from you are coming!” then they are cowards. But that’s nothing that wasn’t said above, just different words.
Do you think that most people in the country are for gun control? Or are the NRA/Trumpers smaller but louder? Because it seems that no matter what the subject is on social media (like wasps, FFS!) someone manages to wedge guns into it. I mean, really! Wasps?
I have no guns, but, sort of like Murr, I have a ceremonial sword plus a really sharp dirk. And I am crazy. ( But we all are, IMHO, just in different ways and to differing degrees.) It disturbs the hell out of me that people are just shooting random people — especially children! I can see defending your home, but that is NOT it, people!
All the survey results I’ve seen say yes, a substantial majority is for some degree of gun control. But the way people vote says no, they’re not, or at least not enough to vote that way.
I have no guns either, just a small collection of knives, including one that I use in the garden to open bags of potting soil and another that I carry whenever I go out, to cut a seatbelt or break a car window if necessary.
You break car windows?! Oh, you bad boy!
Haven’t had to yet. I hope I won’t ever. I did once use it to swipe a bunch of grapes from a vineyard. Then we hid out in the parking lot behind a church and ate them.
You want to defend your homes? Put grilles on your windows and bolts on your doors.
Bar the doors and pass the gravy..
A lotta people out there watched far too many westerns when they were kids.
I’m still here paying attention but this subject wears me out and I haven’t felt like chiming in. Y’all go ahead with your bad selves, though!
Expect more mass murders. I refer you to Mark Granovetter’s 1978 paper “Threshold Models of Collective Behavior,” which he thought up as a way to mathematically model how a riot develops but it applies here also. Very briefly, the more it happens, the more it will happen. But: “These models
treat the aggregation of individual preferences; they do not consider how
individuals happen to have the preferences they do.” (That would be history and psychology and politics.) If you’ve got nothing better to do, you can read it at https://www.cse.cuhk.edu.hk/~cslui/CMSC5734/Granovetter-threshold_models.pdf