Hoping for a better tomorrow,
Hoping for a better tomorrow,
“If I believed an assault weapons ban would have prevented this from happening, I would have supported it.” Marco Rubio, CNN Town Hall February 21, 2018
We all remember the game we played as children, usually while swimming. Now imagine playing the game, but in a strange twist of fate, all the other children were replaced with doppelgangers who happened to be deaf. You call out “Marco….Marco….MARCO!” Your frustration grows as your playmates remain silent. Finally, unable to take it anymore, you open your eyes to make sure your friends were still in the pool. There they were, just as you remembered before closing your eyes. So were they ignoring you? You call out again, “MARCO!” Still silence. Like any child, you get real close and yell into someone’s ear, “MARCO!” Nothing. Finally, unable to take anymore, you grab a friend by the arm violently, screaming “Marco!” and shaking him or her. He or she responds, “what the hell? Stop grabbing me!” You begin to cry, and get out of the pool.
I am that frustrated kid. I am sure many of you feel similarly. How can these troglodytes live amongst us? Are they kidding? How did this guy get elected? How can this devil woman believe the venom she is spewing? How is this La Derrière character allowed to breathe the same oxygen I am? Can half our country really be this stupid? Why aren’t the more educated among the gun freaks not stepping in to slap some sense into their ignorant brethren? How many children have to die before things finally change? All of them? And if all of them is your answer (and believe me, after the nonsensical answers I have heard from your camp, I wouldn’t put it past you), then what exactly are you protecting with your prized guns?
And down the rabbit hole I go…again.
Look, kudos to Marco Rubio for even having the balls to show up Wednesday night. The governor and our Narcissist-in-Chief were clearly too busy polishing their extended taints (the space their testicles, which were sold to the NRA, once occupied). And good ol’ Rubio even showed sense enough to concede a few points…albeit minor points…on every White Supremacist’s favorite Constitutional Amendment. But look at his quote again (“If I believed an assault weapons ban would have prevented this from happening, I would have supported it.”) This is so insulting. How can you know if such a ban has never been enacted? Who cares what you believe? Facts save lives. Not beliefs. This is the same BS-laden venom anti-vaxxers spew that puts children’s lives at risk. And how dare you look the very children who miraculously survived the Rambo-like blitzkrieg of an assault weapon carrying 19-year old, and spew that garbage. YOU HAVEN’T TRIED EVERYTHING YOU CAN TO SAVE LIVES! And you know how IDROS knows this? BECAUSE YOU HAVEN”T ENACTED A LAW THAT MOST LIKELY WOULD HAVE PREVENTED THAT 19 YEAR OLD D-BAG FROM BUYING THE ASSAULT WEAPON!
In a recent Facebook post, when I called Bullshit on the NRA and their supporter’s entire platform vis-a-vis guns, many of my faithful friends and readers asked me…”So now what do we do?”
Below is IDROS’ playbook (this is not exhaustive):
Marjory Stoneman Douglas once said: “Be a nuisance where it counts. Do your part to inform and stimulate the public to join your action. Be depressed, discouraged, and disappointed at failure and the disheartening effects of ignorance, greed, corruption and bad politics—but never give up.”
Let’s honor her, and the brave students and faculty at her namesake school, by doing all we can to move the needle. We must not let these precious lives…any of them, from any of the tragic shootings of our past…be lost in vain.
As always, thanks for reading. Please share, and if you have any clout with the Teachers’ unions, the NEA, the Department of Education, the PTA, etc…let’s make this a MARCH to remember. Our children are counting on you.
Please let IDROS know if you have any other ideas to share that might help save lives.
Let me begin by saying, and then reiterating, that I am not seeking legislation that would take everyone’s guns away, or render gun ownership unconstitutional…
I believe guns are here to stay and like it or not (I don’t), they are part of our society.
But I also believe guns play a role in far too many catastrophes in our nation, and that some changes would probably prevent some of the tragedies, the senseless loss of lives, wrought by the mind-numbing, head-scratching proliferation of mass shootings, Darwin Award nominations and unacceptable “accidents.” I write “probably” not because I don’t 100% believe the right changes would make a difference, but because I, for my part, am willing to concede that until my proposal is enacted and given a proper sample size of time to take hold of our society (which has pretty much devolved into the Wild West of Spaghetti Western fame), I honestly don’t know whether things will measurably improve. But if one life is saved per year, changes are warranted. I believe many more will be spared…I am not alone…we have done things “their” way for too long already and have plenty of “ammunition” (pun intended) to push for change…now let’s enact that change, give it some time, and then compare.
Because the gun lobby has become stronger than the BO of a longshoreman after a two day shift, stronger than the active ingredient in SNL’s Colon Blow (Phil Hartman RIP…another tragic victim of a senseless shooting), stronger than Obi Wan threatens Darth Vader he would become should old Ani strike him down, stronger than the Mountain, stronger than a tech stock circa 1999, stronger than death itself (and death, we all know, is undefeated since the dawn of time)…those of us who believe the 2nd Amendment as imagined by the NRA and staunch gun supporters today is a complete fraud, and is interpreted as loosely (and falsely) as that geography textbook that was recently found to have referred to slaves as “workers” need to get creative.
Here is my plan:
You know who gets totally screwed in today’s campus/school shooting every day hum-drum, Groundhog Day if it was directed by Eli Roth world we live in? I mean, besides all of us, especially those of us with children in school who fear every day and night that the horrible story interrupting the crawl on every television, the nightly news story du jour will feature our own children’s institution…because that’s a given, right? RIGHT?
No, I am referring to the teachers, principals, team coaches, school nurses, admins, professors, and other college campus employees who seem to be thrust onto the battlefield daily in the scariest war imaginable by virtue of their profession. I am guessing none of them, even the rent-a-cops and public safety officers at most schools, signed up for this new fine print inserted into their job descriptions. Sure, there is probably a Sergeant Tackleberry type at some schools…a wanna-be hero, an ex-military type trained to kill by our government’s finest, a gun nut or two and a few other vigilantes and loose cannons, but by and large, the majority of those who dedicate their lives to educating and bettering our children are not looking to be charged with protecting our children from mass murderers and terrorists, with performing daily and weekly drills hiding the kids from danger “just in case,” and with potentially being shot and even dying in one of the historically safest professions out there.
Because of this, I propose all of these school employees, public and private, from elementary school all the way up to graduate school, across the USA, go on simultaneous strike. And I propose they continue to do so until changes are made. And I guarantee changes will be made. (Just imagine…)
I am not trying to insert myself into other people’s livelihoods…to force people already grappling with awful fears and potential scenarios unimaginable to most of us…to take up a selfless cause that could have difficult, unacceptable side effects, economic ramifications and even outcomes. But I am trying to get some of the people closest to the current trends, who have everything to lose, who already must struggle with “what ifs” and nightmares regularly because of the increasing prevalence of these tragedies, to help put an end to the madness, or at least to mitigate it…to act…to do something that might…just might reduce the number of these awful crimes from occurring.
The changes we should enact:
All guns must be registered like cars, with VIN numbers. Those who have guns registered already, need to do nothing else for registration purposes.
All guns not currently registered need to become registered (there will be those who do not comply here…primarily criminals).
To buy and register guns, a licensing and testing period must be passed, just like becoming licensed for a car. All gun owners and gun USERS (even if you are just using your dad’s or brother’s gun at the range), must get licensed, and keep their licensure up to date.
Anyone with a registered gun (see above) must become licensed, or the registration is forfeited.
To qualify for a license, there must be age limits (I propose 18), eye sight minimums (like with driving), and mental health examinations. These last two must be re-affirmed every two years for mental health, and six years for eyes.
All guns must be insured, and all licensed people must also be insured.
Gun Shows will be outlawed.
A hefty tax will be placed on ammunition which will pay for all the services and labor required to enact these new requirements – which will be overseen by the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).
This will be Federal legislation, and apply to all states in the union (sorry Texas…and those who wish they were Texas).
New protocols will be implemented to allow for police and ATF personnel to make sure guns and their owners are in compliance with all of this – including but not limited to having random gun checks, not unlike sobriety checkpoints on the road.
Those caught with unregistered guns, uninsured guns, etc. will be jailed.
And the kicker: To qualify for a license, applicants must have already served two+ years in the US military in some capacity. Those who have not, must enroll. It’s part of the 2nd Amendment (trust me…it is…and all the friggin’ NRA supporters deserve to live the actual words of our Constitution, rather than the falsified Fantasy Land interpretation they forced upon us for the past thirty years). Plus, the training prospective gun owners will receive is vital.
And to all of you psychopaths who think we need to arm our teachers and school personnel:
I just keep getting images in my head of what it is, exactly, that you ignoramuses are calling for…schools filled with teachers and rent-a-cops and principals and sports team coaches, armed to the gills – and by the way…if these unfortunate, underpaid and underappreciated but generally noble people pack heat on their person, how many of them, when push comes to shove, would actually shoot one of their students? How many would/could get overrun by high school/college bullies and miscreants (I had a middle school teacher get beat up by a 7th grade student in front of an entire homeroom class…no joke…and fortunately, no guns). And if these teachers, et al, kept the arsenal locked away, as they should, for safe keeping, then what good would it really do anyway in the instant it was needed? And how many good teachers would be dissuaded from pursuing that career out of fear of having to pack heat and possibly use a gun one day…on one of his or her students? The idea of a veritable weapons bazaar at an institution of learning, at any level, is in fact, the most disturbing and preposterous idea of all I have heard.
I would love to hear some of your ideas…mine might not be the best, but it is something, and I believe it would work.
Thanks for reading.
So where was I? Oh yeah, guns are bad…
Since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary (actually, since the tragedy at Columbine High), I have been deeply saddened, angered, repulsed and generally frustrated by arguments I have heard, read and witnessed from the other side of the barrel (pun intended). Some of the head-scratching rhetoric has been directly directed at my own commentary, while a great deal more has addressed other posts on social media sites as well as opinion pieces, essays, pleas and interview answers among countless other media outlets.
Most of the hot air pro-gun honks blow is worthy of nothing more than this classic gem:
But there are some decent common arguments I have read/heard, worthy of a response. I have listed a few of these in bold type below, with a rational rebuttal below it. I am really trying here, because there are lives at stake. And if last Friday is any indication, innocent, young lives at that. I now have a baby girl. I am quite sure all of you with children had a very difficult time dropping your loved ones off at school this past Monday morning (and all mornings after that), if you were even able to muster the strength at all. This madness will, unfortunately, never fully cease, but we can definitely save lives. Even if we save one precious life through our efforts, it will be worth it.
So please read my rebuttals, and agree that it is time to change. There is no way to know if these proposed changes will be better than the current system of anarchy unless we try. But I suspect they will be. And they really can’t make our current state of blood-bath tinged affairs any worse, right?
So please do what you can to help. We need to rise up and protect our children. We need to protect our country. And we need to protect our fellow man. Pro-gun types will argue, “That’s our point.” Well please read below to see OUR logic:
Our Second Amendment rights: Any argument clinging to our Constitution and the Second Amendment is farcical at best. Written nearly 250 years ago, the language and spirit of the Amendment has no relevance or place in today’s society. A) The amendment itself is just that, a change to the original reflecting the dire need, in the time it was written, to allow citizens to bear arms as part of a regulated militia that would combat those attempting to exploit and exert their unwanted will upon the citizens of the USA; B) There is precedent allowing for Constitutional Amendments to be reedited out, just as Prohibition was 80 years ago; C) The times dictate the need for a change to the Second Amendment and its interpretation, as well as the resources and infrastructure dedicated to enforcing the changes made.
As an aside, one potential solution to consider might just be to REINFORCE the language of the Second Amendment, requiring all who would like to bear arms to be required to enlist in the armed forces, where they can get the necessary safety and responsibility training of using a deadly weapon. However, military experience often leads to mental trauma later on in life, so this fix might actually necessitate further action (*see below regarding my plan).
We will basically be arming criminals, and disarming innocent people trying to defend themselves: First of all, I am a realist. As much as I would love guns to be completely outlawed and made illegal, I do not believe this is a viable or practical option. For one thing, there are like 300 million guns out there in the general population of our country, and collecting each and every one of them would be impossible, not to mention extremely dangerous. So what I am proposing is far more stringent GUN CONTROL. My plan follows:
Ban all automatic and semi-automatic weapons, military grade armor and all other assault weapons. Effort to seize, collect and destroy all of these types of weapons already in circulation (this may be difficult and dangerous, but would be worthwhile).
Make it extremely difficult to procure guns going forward: Require written and practical tests, just like with drivers licenses, continuing education, and quality mental health screening up front as well as every three or five years of gun ownership. Require criminal background checks as well as multiple (two or three) character witnesses, notarized, that will basically vouch for the applicant.
*For military personnel returning to civilian life after deployment, require more rigorous mental health screenings up front (consider their return like you would the average driver exiting a freeway. One’s propensity to speed is far greater immediately following an extended period of driving fast…plus, my guess is that the battlefield causes more stress and mental anguish than our highways…just a little more, but more nonetheless). Also, require more frequent screenings (PTSD and other military psychological trauma can lie dormant, like an inactive volcano, until one day…well go visit Pompeii, or read about it).
For athletes and any other professionals who might suffer head trauma on the job, during practice or while training, require the same rigorous and frequent mental health screening as for military personnel throughout their careers as well as after.
Limit the number of guns one person can purchase to one in a three or five year period.
Make serial numbers more permanent.
Account for guns more closely, adding resources to Homeland Security and ATF to do so.
Possibly place GPS tracking capabilities of some type on guns.
And finally, require guns to be manufactured with some kind of password protection or fingerprint activation so that only the licensed gun owner can use said gun (this is obviously to prevent the type of atrocity that occurred in Newtown, where the murder weapons were registered to the mother, but her son “stole” them and used them for unspeakable evil).
If people had guns at the school (or theater, or mall), these tragic events would never have happened, or at least fewer people would have been killed/shot: Variations of this argument are as ubiquitous as awful reality television, and it frightens me to no end believing that proliferation of firearms on our streets and in public places such as schools, malls, movie theaters and amusement parks will create a Cold War-like stalemate that will actually make our world safer. First off, have you ever driven on a public road, or in a parking lot? People are irritable, and honk, cuss and irrationally cut people off all the time. Are these the people you want carrying deadly weapons around 24/7? Second, I do not want teachers and school officials carrying loaded weapons in my child’s school. How do we know we can trust those people and their general mental well-being? How do we know they would act responsibly and safely under duress? And what if they were unable to control their own students, and lost control of the weapon, or had it stolen, and then the students had a loaded weapon in your child’s school? But most important to this ridiculous premise is the safety of our own police and security personnel already in place. How on earth will police who arrive to a scene where a gunman, or multiple gunmen are at large, differentiate between the “bad guys” and the “good guys?” I foresee an incredible number of accidental gunshot wounds and deaths resulting from this vigilante approach.
What if the killer uses a bomb? This argument is certainly germane to our times, and is worthy of concern. However, it has nothing at all to do with the gun control debate. Whether people are armed with guns or not, if terrorists or crazy kids (possibly synonymous) plant a bomb somewhere, no amount of guns are going to stop them. And the same holds true for suicide bombers. Police don’t shoot terrorists with bombs strapped to their chests for a reason: they can still detonate the bomb even if shot, and the act of shooting might actually detonate the bomb on its own.
I don’t trust the majority of my fellow Americans. How can I be sure I won’t run into a psychopath out there? I need my gun(s) to protect myself and my family from everyone, because it seems like anyone, anywhere could be a mass murderer. This is the most hypocritical argument of the bunch. Are we supposed to trust our own children to go play at a friend’s house now? How can we trust NRA members? What if YOUR kid finds YOUR gun while OUR kid is at your home? What if someone gets shot accidentally? I find it totally unacceptable to put even your kids at risk in that scenario, let alone mine, and other innocent children of anti-gun parents. This isn’t a Dirty Harry movie, or Dexter. This is real life, and the more guns out there, the more people trying to be a hero, the bloodier and scarier our society becomes.
If somebody wants to kill people/themselves, they can do it, with or without guns: I heard this argument a great deal following the tragedy in Kansas City as few weeks back, when NFLer Belcher shot his baby mama 9 times and then killed himself in front of his coaches at Arrowhead. And I agree. But I guarantee said person would kill a lot fewer people in the same amount of time, and more importantly, there is a far greater chance of surviving a knifing, a beating or a strangulation, as morbid as that may sound, than a gunshot or NINE. There is also the personal angle some psychiatrists have argued, i.e. using a gun is very impersonal, whereas knives, bare hands and strangulation are very personal murder techniques. This may just give an attempted murderer the time to think/feel a connection and stop him or herself in the act. Unlikely, but possible.
And speaking of the tragedy in KC, many people were quick to criticize Bob Costas for using a national spotlight at a sporting event to wax political (calling for stricter gun control), saying it was neither the time nor place. Well clearly, a mere two weeks before the tragedy in Newtown, it was as good a time and place as any. How dare anyone tell a hardworking man like Bob Costas, who has earned the right to talk to us in our living rooms each week, what he can and cannot talk about. Furthermore, on the heels of yet another senseless murder with a gun, when is a more appropriate time to speak out? Is Kasandra Perkins’ life not as precious as any other victim of gun violence? Is her three month old son, who will now grow up without his mother and father, no less a champion for change than any of the children in Newtown, or Aurora, or Columbine?
For another sports figure using his own limited celebrity to speak out on the issue, unsolicited, but beautifully, please click here. Winthrop Coach Pat Kelsey’s speech is a must listen sound bite for all.
If people really want guns, they will get guns anyway they can, even through illegal means. Look at narcotics as an example: There is no way to prevent this. As I already mentioned, there are nearly 300 million guns already out there in America (and many, many more the world over). Criminals will produce and trade guns in any type of regulated environment, and any tightening of the law will only make their product that much more valuable. BUT – making it more difficult to get guns, coupled with better regulation and expanded resources to track and enforce gun control will definitely deter some, delay some and overall, will reduce gun traffic. Remember, nothing will perfectly eliminate gun murder. But if we can reduce the body count at all, it is a win.
Murder is actually a fraction of what it was, per capita, today vs. in the 1980s: That might be true on an overall basis, but reading Malcolm Gladwell and understanding demographic trends, the crack cocaine phenomenon, better police strategies as well as the effects of Roe vs. Wade explains a big portion of that discrepancy. But this argument is completely made irrelevant when considering the alarming increase in the frequency of MASS gun murder. A rare event in the 1980s, there have been 31 mass murders since 1999 in the US. More stringent gun control can help.
Guns kill people like spoons make people fat: Variations of this gem abound (Guns don’t kill people, people do). And you know what? It’s difficult to argue. But there is no doubt that guns are lethal weapons, killing machines, designed with one primary use – to fire a compact metal object really fast at a target in the hopes of killing, or at least incapacitating said target. Spoons were not designed to make people gain weight, just as a means to convey liquids and loose foods from plate/bowl to mouth. So a disconnect in the logic of this argument stems right from the design table, from the very origins of both utensils. And furthermore, as my cousin astutely reasoned, if you look around at all the overweight among us, it becomes even more apparent that if even a fraction of as many people abused guns as do spoons, we likely have a serious problem on our hands. And we do.
What will we do if our government abuses its power, our military goes rogue or if a tyrannical despot seizes power? Let’s face it. If Orwellian times descend upon us, or even if anarchy runs amok in the US, there is no armory of guns the collective sum of us can have that will render us safe. Our government and military have a stockpile of weapons capable of blowing up the entire solar system, even assuming Pluto is still part of it. Our military has advanced technology, WMDs of varying types, planes, tanks, submarines, boats, choppers and trained personnel. Our Second Amendment rights are not protecting us from evil or tyrannical government anymore. Rambo is fictitious. So are Colonel John Matrix and Robert Clayton Dean. This is yet another reason that Amendment needs to be redacted, or at least, rethought and re-amended.
There are many more arguments and logical rebuttals to appeal to the educated pro-gun, NRA types out there. Unfortunately, reason and logic will be wasted on the frightening segment of that populace that continues to bewilder with comments like “you are gonna have to pry my gun out of my cold dead hand you liberal scum.”
To reiterate: Please help change our nation. Please help save lives. Contact your congressman here.
Thanks again for bearing with me (and not bearing arms).
Have a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and safe new year.
This two part passion piece was paid, in full, by the blood of:
Abraham Lincoln, William McKinley, James Garfield, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Mahatma Gandhi, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., John Lennon, Sam Cooke, Bill Brady, Robert F. Kennedy, Harvey Milk, Marvin Gaye, Phil Hartman, Jam Master Jay, Malcolm X, Selena, Sean Taylor, Gianni Versace, Darrent Williams, Peter Tosh, Notorious B.I.G., Tupac Shakur, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, the victims of Columbine High, Virginia Tech, Red Lake High, the Tuscon Safeway, the Aurora Movie Theater, the Wisconsin Sikh Temple, Newtown Elementary School, every other site of a mass shooting, and thousands more non-celebrity, non-publicized (or publicized on a very limited, local basis) names every year.
And partially by: Teddy Roosevelt, Pope John Paul II, George Wallace, Ronald Reagan, Bob Marley, Larry Flynt, Andy Warhol, Jackie Wilson, 50 Cent, Suge Knight, Greg LeMond, Garrett Morris and millions more.
My heart is crying. I am at a loss for words, as many of you are.
First and foremost, I would like to extend my condolences, thoughts and prayers to the families of those that were senselessly murdered in Newtown, Connecticut, as well as those who must now live with the horror of the events that transpired last Friday morning. For 20 families (27, actually), it likely feels like the Mayan End of Days was real after all…it just came one week sooner than expected.
I do not like to get up on a soapbox.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time this year that I have felt this anguish, this befuddlement, this frustration.
31 times since Columbine, we as a society have been left scratching our heads, searching our souls, uttering words of disbelief, crying, screaming and demanding changes.
What happened in Newtown this past week was all the more tragic, having transpired on what we as a society view as sacred ground (an Elementary School) and because the fatalities were primarily children…very young and innocent children. And because it was the second such tragedy befalling our society in one week’s time. But mostly because of the children.
Things can’t go on this way.
Each time a mass-murder involving guns occurs on American soil, our country sinks further into the bowels of a horrific, frightening and polarizing debate regarding Gun Control. Even a tragic murder suicide involving an NFL player less than a month ago sparked this same debate.
And with every instance, much to my dismay, time passes, the passion for change seems to ebb, and society returns to business as usual, guns a-blazing, holsters full, ammo at the ready…as if nothing ever happened.
I can no longer sit quietly and watch these massacres continue without making an appeal to the sensibilities of anyone out there who feels guns are not part of the problem. I would even like to address those that are willing to concede that point, but are still compelled to believe their Second Amendment rights are more important, in the long run, than allowing our government to make more stringent gun laws that might make it incredibly difficult to buy a gun, and potentially even make it illegal to own a gun.
No matter what people think the Second Amendment says, or how literal they believe those words to be, even today, when we are not living in fear of an army sent by a far-away king attempting to exert control over us by any means necessary. Just like living in America as a full citizen, gun ownership is not a “right.” It never was. Gun ownership is a PRIVILEGE. And with any privilege comes great responsibility. Somewhere along the way, this was forgotten. Somewhere along the way, our nation’s leaders failed to reinforce this fact. Somewhere along the way, guns became something we as a society took for granted, that we viewed as an American rite of passage, a commodity as common as gasoline and as easy to buy and sell, too. Our machismo as a nation depended on the ubiquity of firearms. As we pushed westward, we feared attacks by Native Americans…and we massacred them with our fire sticks. And as we laid claim to vast pieces of land, valuable minerals and natural resources, we took up arms again to protect our homesteads, our livelihoods and our families. Potential robbers, vandals and no-goodniks came to fear guns wielded by upstanding citizens and the law. Or at the very least, respect them. Soon the gun became the de facto law.
Our neighborhoods were secure, replete with gun-carrying watchmen. Our banks and stores were robbery proof with a gun behind the counter. We taught our sons to hunt and to shoot a gun. Women, fearing rape and abuse, flocked to gun ranges to cling to some semblance of security.
I, for my part, am certainly willing to concede that guns are not solely to blame here. We can all point our fingers at a number of things that contribute to this unsettling trend of bloodshed our generation is currently witnessing. Mental Health issues are a big one, and this includes the resources dedicated to research, community outreach, treatment and the de-stigmatization of mental illness in general in our society. Our media is another perpetrator that deserves some of the blame. Godless and evil killers seem to be glorified by our media after each atrocity, and these soulless people are too often given far more attention than the victims and the heroes that try to stop them. Part of this is our own societal issues, as humans find the unknown, the evil, the bizarre and the misunderstood to be far more compelling than those who are normal, law-abiding, regular Joes and Josephines. Furthermore, other media outlets, such as the movie, television and video game industries create and release a never-ending pile of violence-centric content on the public. Other fingers point at Big-Pharma, and our propensity to over medicate our youth with chemicals and band-aids to mask real problems. And then there are those that blame current parenting techniques, our education system, our diets (which trend toward processed, genetically altered foodstuffs) and our technology (electronics and the internet create a world far less dependent on personal contact and intimacy).
Any and all of the above factors need to be addressed, and very well might be (read: ARE) contributing to a growing epidemic of mass-murder. But there is one factor that seems to be the giant elephant in the room after almost every catastrophic and heart-wrenching breaking news story: GUNS.
This latest tragedy in Newtown has restirred the pot, bringing the gun control debate, and its associated vitriol, to the forefront of national conversation. This time, we cannot let the passage of time once again mask, or at least assuage the passion of those in favor of more stringent gun control. There are too many innocent souls who have paid the ultimate price for us to continue to kowtow to the NRA, to the Second Amendment hardliners and to the general gun-toting populace that refuses to yield on this issue.
Please note that for nearly 250 years, we have endured the Second Amendment. But the frightening and deadly interpretation of that Amendment has only emerged over the past 35 years (please read this article for the gory details).
This coincided, unsurprisingly, with the rise of the NRA. Well, Charlton “Moses” Heston (RIP) and your terrifying army of stubborn gun wielders: we tried it your way…the NRA’s way. And we gave it a go for far too long. I saw that the NRA finally commented on the Newtown tragedy, saying “[We are] prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.” That quote was totally fear-induced. There is no way for them to make such an insipid promise. But they know the tides are turning, and want to appeal to the “undecided” in this debate with a last gasp of strength and bravado. Here’s the thing…every argument made by pro-gun honks and NRA supporters hinges on hypothetical, unsound, unproven, flawed logic. There is no evidence, no sample size, not one fact to support their arguments. Just guesses and rhetoric and hubris. And why? Because we haven’t had a chance to see how things work in an American society highly regulated for firearms.
Since the Newtown massacre, I have been trying to rally the troops, to lead an intelligent dialogue for change. I have become, apparently, an accidental activist for gun control (I couldn’t make this up if I tried…there is actually a term for this phenomenon, and I am glad I am not alone in my efforts.)
So I am asking you all to consider acting as well. Even if you are on the fence, educate yourselves. Please don’t allow the children in Newtown to have died in vain. Please do whatever you can to help prevent further atrocities in the future. Our efforts may not completely eliminate senseless murders, but if even one or two lives can be spared, it will be worth it.
Please do something. Because doing nothing is just what the gun lobby and the NRA are hoping for. They sense weakness, and will use their vast resources and influence to counteract any measures from their opposition…unless said opposition can rise up, unified, in numbers pro-gunners have never seen or imagined before. We have them on the ropes. It’s like Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, and the NRA is King Hippo (rather apt, no?)…the fat slob’s mouth is now agape, fist in the air, cocked to punch us…and Newtown was the stunning uppercut to Hippo’s face. Now we must land a flurry of body blows and know the bully out. For good.
Oh, and shame on you Wal-Mart. Please read this article, and consider boycotting that big box empire too. And Alice Walton, you might consider decorating at least one bare wall of your Crystal Bridges Art Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas with the blood of every victim murdered by assault weapons purchased at your stores.
Thanks for reading. The second installment of this post will be forthcoming. I appreciate your patience and understanding of my verbosity, which admittedly is even more voluminous than usual. But this issue is extremely important and incredibly polarizing (apologies to Jonathan Safran Foer), and my passion for change is equally great.