A few years ago I started posting incidents involving firearms…whether it was a mass shooting like yesterday, a child getting his parent’s gun and shooting himself or others, or a father who, because of paranoia about “the state of the world” decides to kill his entire family to “save them”. I did this for one very specific reason…the gun culture that we have today allows this to happen again and again with no action because too many people are afraid to go against the NRA or believe that the death of innocents is just a cost of supporting the 2nd Amendment, written in the 18th Century.
Because of these posts I ended up in conversations with folks about solutions. What I quickly found out was that those on both edges of the discussion have no interest in solving the problem, just pushing their dogma on the subject. Those on the far left of the issue seemed intractable and feel nothing but a ban on firearms is necessary. On the other side the NRA folks believe that ANY change is an assault on the Constitution. During these conversations I even managed to get banned from smith-wessonforum.com because I didn’t support the prevailing position 100%. I was considered a troll because I offered up the audacious suggestion that it might be wise for gun owners to begin the national conversation or others would define it for them. I upset the echo chamber…but I learned a lot.
This latest slaughter has brought out interesting arguments as to why it happened and what should happen…
- “God could have helped but doesn’t go where he is not wanted”. The most obvious question is What kind of God is such an asshole as to allow kids to get executed to prove a point to adults who don’t believe ONE view of God should permeate the public schools?
- “The government did this as an inside job to push gun control on the people of America”. There is not a comment that can crystallize the absurdity of that irrational thought.
- “If the teachers were armed this would not have happened”. This response is usually uttered by those who believe that THEY would have saved the world and by extension their John McClane fantasy would allow anyone to do the same. Never mind that not a single school in the country would allow teachers to carry weapons, without safely stowing them away from kids.
- “Guns don’t kill people, people do”. Well sure, trot out this bumpersticker philosophy as the last ditch denial. Guns may not be the decision maker but they sure make killing a whole bunch more efficient, deadly and convenient.
- “Any solution would never stop all the killing”. The “if it is not 100%, do nothing and see if that works out better” response.
- “We have to ban all guns” Certainly a complete approach but is unrealistic, impractical to execute and stomps on the part of the 2nd Amendment that is reasonable.
- “Now is not the time to discuss this. We should give the parent time to grieve.” Two problems occur from this approach. First, putting the discussion off is a way to hope it goes away completely. Second, we have so many instances that if we were to define a “quiet time” for comments, there would never be any time at all.
So we have Isolated Incident # 1.00E+6. It falls three days after the Clackamas Mall shootings and, as I write this a News Flash pops up to tell me a gunman entered a hospital in Birmingham, Alabama and wounds three before being killed.
Oh, and one other quick point. I drove by The Gun Warehouse in Lexington today. The parking lot was overflowing to the street and grass areas. Panic buying was in full swing. Fear, Uncertainty and Dread have won again.
What is the point of this missive? What I see from folks on the NRA side of the discussion is an attempt, by any and all methods to avoid the conversation that is going to happen. They obfuscate the discussion and try to minimize the event – hoping to stop the conversation and the results of it.
Bottom line…if changes are made to gun laws you can’t blame the “liberals” or the “gun-grabbers”. The responsibility lies completely in the lap of the gun enthusiast community that refuses to accept that there is a problem and that their constant attempts to avoid the reality of the 21st Century on an 18th Century Amendment. The gun enthusiast will be fully responsible for any changes that are made. That is the consequence of obstinance and obfuscation.
A bit of background.
I was under the age of five when I witnessed, from 20 feet away outside the Harlan, Kentucky A&P the shooting and killing of a police officer by the parents of the person he had just arrested for bootlegging. The bookkeeper at the time, Thelma Fox ran outside and stood between me and chaos until my father could be called from the meat department of the store.
That got me to thinking about a conversation not long ago about “who we knew that had…” My list disturbed even me. I have seen someone killed, I have had two guns drawn on me, I have had family shot, I have had friends both be a shooter and shot, I have seen the results of suicide by gun, I have a friend who spent time in prison for killing someone [over a mutual girlfriend].
On the other side of that coin I have enjoyed target shooting for decades, it being one of the very first bonding experiences with my father. I have seen grown men giggle like little school girls the first time they fire a fully automatic weapon, I know folks who have over 500 guns in their collection and they are without question some of the safest, most honest, responsible folks that I have ever known. I have a hard time making a list of my friends, liberal or conservative who DON’T have guns, and the reasons are for protection, for hobby, for collecting, for investment.
I point this out not because this balance of experience makes me or my opinion somehow “better”. It does not. So many of my generation went to Viet Nam, went to Desert Storm and the next generation have spent entirely too much time in Iraq or Afghanistan…the experience from battle, of being in country is so much more impactful…death so much more immediate. Years later my father told me the look on my face at seeing a man shot an killed at that young age was what he saw on people’s faces time and again at Normandy and his tour to Germany. My experience is not unique…my perspective is. And it is from that perspective I know there is a need to solve a very complex problem. It can be solved, and will. But it needs to have all sides at the table, not only for their contributions to the conversation but so that, when solutions are derived they will have been a part of them, not looking from the outside.
Let’s see if we can’t get through the holidays without more of these Isolated Incidents.