At about 12:30 this morning, an unidentified man walked into a bar in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and shot at least 17 people. Details are hard to come by, at the moment. Opinions, however are not. Nor will they be. Comment sections are already flooding with defensive posts, citing statistics carefully massaged to make it seem as though the massive inflow of guns into our society is a good thing. We’ve all seen it, too many times over. Whenever a gun tragedy occurs, which is daily, an army of comments flood the reports to defend the idea that guns are keeping us all safer.
It’s an astounding argument. The notion that more of something that harms you is the cure for that harm, may be the most inexplicable idea that man has ever conceived. It certainly doesn’t apply to any other circumstance.
We don’t bring water to battle floods.
We don’t treat diabetes with Twinkies.
We don’t fight fire with fire; at least not in the sense that we throw gasoline on the fire in our own home, when it’s burning. The house of the guy we blame for causing the fire? That’s another story.
Somehow we’ve been convinced that storing gasoline in our home will protect it from the guy (whom we’re told) wants to burn it down. Of course, the results have been easily predictable.
But when we opine those results, we always hear the same refrain: That we’re politicizing a tragedy. That a horrible, painful event is just being used to further an ideological agenda. And indeed, I am a political person, writing this piece for a liberal blog. I am fully aware of the political mechanisms that are in place, that fuel these tragedies, as well as the political actions needed to reverse them. But here’s the thing:
I don’t want to be shot. I do not want anyone I love to be shot. I don’t want people I don’t particularly care for to be shot. I do not want harm to befall strangers, even if their beliefs do oppose mine. Outside of war, shooting is the most preventable tragedy on the face of the earth.
That is not a political position.
I fully understand that in order to realize, or at the very least bolster my odds of, achieving that goal, I need to engage in politics. But make no mistake: There is no profit in my agenda, no sinister ulterior motive, and nobody behind the scenes pulling the strings. There are political action committees that exist only to wipe out handgun violence. And you can try to kid yourself, that they’re the ‘other side of the coin,’ or even the reason for the NRA, and other groups like it; but don’t try to sell me that they have anything to gain. Everyone of them was born from the pain of loss. They’re far more M.A.D.D. then anything else.
I would theorize that the cowboy and WWII movies of the 50′s and 60′s turned gun-play into a fetish for the American public, but the NRA is the group that politicized it. To this day, the NRA has never endorsed legislation that would make guns less available, less dangerous, or less powerful; in fact they’ve lobbied against every single attempt at rational dialogue. So if taking an opposing position to the NRA is a political stance, then yeah, I’m taking that stance.
Another rationalization (and I believe they’re all rationalizations) is that we proud citizens may one day be called upon to overthrow our government. You know, it could be taken over by Socialists, or Kenyans or something, and we’d be obligated to bear arms against it. To that I say, “Grow up.”
Do you really think a government that feared an armed takeover, would allow you to have guns? And all those conservative second amendment protectors? The ones who are writing legislation to allow you to carry your gun into bars, and concerts and nurseries? They’re all a part of the government too. They just get campaign money from gun-makers and the NRA. If they really thought you could take out the U.S. armed forces they’d roll over your house with tanks to get your silly little gun. You can’t harm them.
Only me. And you. That’s right. you. Your gun is a bomb waiting to go off in your hand. The notion that owning a gun makes you safer is ludicrous. And it may be your right as an American to make poor decisions, but only if they don’t harm others. Which a machine designed to drive lead projectiles at high speeds, is almost certain to do. What else can it do?
And finally; if you’ve ever spoken or written about your “second amendment rights,” or any other gun-related “right” (And if you bring up the Founding Fathers, please understand that it would have taken a squadron under George Washington’s army to shoot 17 people as quickly as this man did, they could no more imagine the kind of firepower we have today, then they could have space travel) you believe you have, then you’re politicizing it. That’s fair to say, right? And if we’re both taking a position on this political issue, I’m taking the position that man in Alabama shouldn’t have been able to do that harm.You are taking the position that those 17 people, and the hundreds more who shall be shot this month, are an acceptable price for you to own a gun. You own this, and every other shooting.
My ‘politics’ is that those 17 people should never have been shot. Opposed?