Updated: Aug 20
The lunatics have taken over. No place to hide. No time to waste. Grab the viles. Ready the needles. Time to inject.
The two main arguments we hear from folks who support unrestricted gun ownership are:
The more guns we have, the safer we'll be.
The current gun death epidemic in this country is a mental health issue, not a gun issue.
If #2 is correct, then #1 makes no sense, since your average American is about 100 times crazier than the citizens of any other country on the planet, so our gun laws should be all that more stringent, not more lax. #2 cancels #1 out, in other words. But if, on other hand, #1 is correct, then we as a country should have far fewer gun death incidents than any other country on the planet, by about a factor of 20. But we don't. In fact, it's just the opposite. We have the most gun deaths of any advanced country in the world. There are more registered guns than there are people in America. So #1 isn't correct.
Well, surprise surprise. Turns out neither is true. The gun lobby and the mindless minions who support them are just dumping bile down our nation's throat, and we're basically all just saying, "Thank you, ma'am. May I have another?" The insanity of the NRA and other gun-worshipping lunatics around the country are Public Enemy #1. Here are the latest statistics on gun violence around the world.
Source: Jason R. Silva
Ownership rates are for 2017 and homicide rates are for 2018. | Source: Small Arms Survey
As German Lopez wrote in the NY Times yesterday:
"Where there are more guns, there are more gun deaths. Studies have found this to be true at the state and national level. It is true for homicides, suicides, mass shootings and even police shootings.
It is an intuitive idea: If guns are more available, people will use them more often. If you replaced 'guns' in that sentence with another noun, it would be so obvious as to be banal."
Comedy and tragedy are near allied, and the grim and comic sight of someone sporting an open carry gun is the comic-tragedy of the United States, and the person showing off his hardware is the dangerous clown in every public setting and at every public gathering. How are we supposed to know if the guy with the Glock on his hip isn't the bad buy? Isn't the lunatic? Isn't the guy with an axe to grind and a hair trigger temper who feels impotent in the face of the chancing demographics of this country and just wants everyone know that he shouldn't be messed with? Please, someone tell me. How will any of us be able to tell the bad guy from the good one in a crowded room where everyone is carrying? Is there some "tell" that gives a homicidal maniac away? Is he the guy not smiling? Or the one with the devilish grin? The quiet one in the corner or the loudmouth in the center? Because I don't care how fast you react, whether in a crowded theater, crowded classroom, crowded bible study, or crowded culture chock full of guns. Someone with an AK-47 intent on killing will deal out a whole lot of death before you've even gotten your gun out of your holster -- assuming he doesn't shoot you first. And at 10 rounds/sec, an AK-47 kills people like a lawnmower mows grass.
Fact is, the gun at your side immediately eclipses everything else about you. You are defined by that gun. Even if I don’t want to take you seriously, I’m forced to because of that gun. Such people are "try-hards," as my daughter's generation calls people who try too hard to impress. Someone who doesn’t feel masculine enough without a gun is suddenly turned into a "real man" with a Smith and Wesson at his hip. I don't care what you tell me. I don't like being around people like that. They give me the creeps. And they don't make me feel safer. Quite the opposite. Such folks want to intimidate everyone around them. And it generally works.
It’s way past high time we call these gunslingers out for what they truly are and for how stupid they look carrying a loaded firearm out in the open in a civilized society. Every gun at a person's side is an open bet against a free society. The lunatic fringe will tell you that the more guns everyone has, the safer we'll all be, but there's only one place where everyone is armed like that, and it’s the last place you’d ever want to be: on the battlefield of war. Trouble is, criticizing anything related to gun ownership is akin to threatening to take away Linus‘s blanket. The folks who love their guns and show them off in public have so thoroughly integrated their personal arsenal into their personal identities that criticizing one is the same as criticizing both. Diss their gun and you've dissed them. Good luck with that.
Guns carry a mystique in our country's history that has captured the hearts and minds of millions of Americans, like a spell that has been cast, and my hunch is that much of this unhinged euphoria around gun ownership is at least partly related to three things:
a deep-seated sense of impotence on the part of folks who feel increasingly powerless against this country's changing demographics, which are tilting away from white male dominance in this country;
men who feel increasingly emasculated by contemporary culture's embrace of the politically correct movement in all its guises;
people who feel assaulted by the overwhelming amount of violence presented in all kinds of forms in today's media and they just want to feel more protected.
We live in a culture of death, and though the gun craze is disproportionately a problem on the Right, the Left has its own commitments to death (on-demand abortion is no less crazy than unregulated gun ownership). The lunatics have taken over the asylum, and the nut jobs on the Right and Left are playing both sides against the middle, and we're the ones who pay. Every time. More tragically, our children are the ones who often pay the ultimate price for the pro-gun lobby and its precious NRA. Teachers armed with guns in the classroom? God damn the whole lot of them.
We need more people who openly carry, not guns, but a deep-seated and sensible notion of right and wrong, who believe that there are existential consequences for bad actions, and who are committed to rational and sensible gun control. People, in other words, who are thoughtfully committed to moral standards of civic responsibility, because in a world of moral relativity, the obvious outcome is moral anarchy. And what leads to moral anarchy? One-dimensional notions of individual "freedom" that eclipse all reasonable calls to social responsibility. Indeed, anarchy is the only political arrangement where people are free to do whatever they want, and such an arrangement ain't free. Not even close. It's called the law of the jungle, and I don't want to live in a jungle. Do you?