Every time we have one of these highly-publicized mass-shooting events, or Heaven forfend another rampage killing, there’s always a sententious opinion piece on every news outlet asking “When will it end?”
And yes, the answer is “Never”. In Australia, a single event was enough to inspire the whole country to turn in their guns; New Zealand was similar. In the United States, we’ve had a dozen major shooting rampages, including in elementary schools, and public opinion is fiercely divided. It’s not too much of a stretch to conclude from this that the inevitable continued shootings will convince only scattered individuals while inspiring others to resist what they would term “government overreach”.
So let’s stop asking that particular question and move on to something a bit more proactive.
There are some of you out there shouting, “The problem is gun violence! Just get rid of all the guns!” Some others respond, “You can have my guns when you pry them from my cold dead fingers!” (Evidently, they never watched the original “Red Dawn”.)
It’s possible you’re honestly deluded or optimistic beyond belief, in which case nothing I write can possibly get through to you. On the other hand, perhaps you came here expecting an argument in which the loudest voice wins, or a negotiation where everyone meets halfway from the opening positions. Either way, that’s not what this is. The purpose of this article is to break down known statistics for the benefit of the 80% of Americans who want change, so we can make intelligent decisions.
In order to do this properly, we’ll need a discourse, so that all sides can find middle ground that they can agree on. And in order to communicate, we’ll each need to use the same words to mean the same things.
For example: It might surprise some people to learn that there is actually no such thing as an “Assault Weapon”. Sure, you’ll find it in the dictionary of your choice, but the definitions are nebulous and disagree. They named the 1994 law after it, but the descriptions involved such superficial specifics as a bayonet lug or pistol grip without enough generalities to retain long-term value. The law expired in 2004; by then, the industry had long since retooled such that they could largely avoid its strictures.
Watching video of kids getting shot is traumatic. How could it not be? And who can watch that and not be furious — terrified — sickened?
So how can we possibly expect that our immediate reaction will fix a damned thing?
We don’t make good decisions when we’re upset; nobody does. Instead, we get angry; we kick and throw things; we cast blame everywhere. The universe hates us and everyone’s evil. And then, if we’re smart, we settle down and figure out what went wrong so we can stop it from happening again.
It’s happened again: We’ve had yet another mass shooting. Just between us, as more and more people start coming out of their year-long lockdowns, I predict we’re going to have a fair number more. We got a year off from them, but that just means we’ve had people become crazy at the normal rate… but they didn’t have obvious targets and so kept right on stewing in their basements.
Plus, every time there’s one of these shown on CNN, it seems other nuts see the television coverage and get inspired to do one of their own — as though being a copycat nut-job is somehow better than the first one, who might have been honestly acting out his own selfish frustrations on innocents rather than pretending to for the free press.
Don’t get me wrong: They’re both foul and almost inhumanly selfish. But the copycat is at least partly after the attention, which is worse — people’s lives are more valuable than that.
Wars and government atrocities aside, the United States has more spree shootings than any other country each year.
This is a problem that demands discussion between reasonable and intelligent people. Unfortunately, the political climate in this country is one of extreme and entrenched polarization; moral certitude precludes (more…)
I should have started this with “Spoiler Alert”. ‘Cause nobody’s seen this movie yet.
A couple of days ago, President Obama announced on national television that he was taking executive action about gun violence. He invoked memories of tragedies, from Newtown and Aurora through Ford Hood and San Bernardino, and at one point he broke into tears.