Tuesday, February 27, 2018

On Guns

I am sick and tired of everything to do with guns, the Second Amendment, the NRA, school shootings, the absurd suggestion that survivors of school shootings are political pawns...

I'm sick. And tired.

One of the most common 'arguments' you hear from the gun fetishists is that there's no point in gun control because 'criminals don't respect laws'. And that's true as far as it goes, but it's utterly beside the point.

Yes, laws are broken all the time. And sometimes they're broken so routinely they may as well not exist -- I'm thinking here of the speed limits on Ontario's 400-series highways. They're marked at 100 km/h (62 mph) and if you insist on doing that speed you'd better get in the slow lane and even then be prepared for a lot of upraised middle fingers. It's almost universally agreed that the speed limits on those highways are arbitrarily low.

Another pointless, arbitrary law will soon vanish from the books in Canada: the criminalization of marijuana. Given the nearly limitless medical benefits of that substance--for everyone who isn't a teenager, at any rate--as far as I'm concerned, legalization doesn't go nearly far enough. Everyone who has been arrested for anything to do with pot ought to have their criminal records cleansed, and financial reparations are in order for anyone who has done prison time over a plant. You're welcome to try and change my view. Good luck.

But guns are not speed limits and they are not harmless plants. I firmly believe that they serve no other purpose besides killing people. Sure, there's skeet and such -- where you practice your aim so that you stand a better chance of killing what you shoot at. So there ought to be laws that strictly regulate guns.

No, it won't stop school shootings. But that's not what laws are for.

We don't pass laws against theft and think it will stop thievery. We pass laws against theft as a collective statement: stealing is something we do not accept.

It is, in short, not about courts but about culture.

In the United States today, a sizeable subset of the culture regards dead children as a mildly regrettably price to pay for the freedom to be a one-man army. They'll shout slander at that, and they'll do so at the tops of their lungs, but their inaction speaks so much louder than their words. 

By now we all know the song and dance. BANG BANG BANG BANG --> "thoughts and prayers" ---> "praise the first responders" --> characterize shooter as "mentally ill" (if white) or "terrorist" (if not) -- "now is not the time to talk about this/how dare you politicize this tragedy" --> flatly refuse to do anything, anything at all --> rinse in gun oil --> repeat. And repeat. And repeat.

And most of us know that "thoughts and prayers" are, to use a term usually thrown at people like me, "virtue signalling". The rest of this is darkly (VERY darkly) amusing. It never occurred to me until I saw it on Facebook, but you really gotta hand it to the Muslim world: to hear our media tell it, they've conquered mental illness. There's not a single crazy Muslim! Only white males can be mentally ill! I'd love to know how that works. As for "now is not the time"...when IS the time? Okay, you say it's too soon to talk about Parkland. Can we spare a few moments for Sandy Hook?

Gun nuts will never hesitate to inform you that there has never been a single NRA member implicated in a mass shooting. That, too, is beside the point. The NRA may not actively gun down children, but it very strongly pushes for a culture in which guns are easy to obtain, even for those white mentally ill men. That makes the NRA an accessory to many, many murders, in my books.

It's about the culture. And the culture in the United States is broken, perhaps irreparably. I still think civil war in America is all but inevitable. It bothers me that all the guns are on the wrong goddamn side.

Yes, the young are protesting. Yes, this has stuck in enough craws that some of that protest is going to make it to the ballot box in 2020. I sense generational change for the better on oh so many things, and I just wish I could hurry it up a little. Or a lot. Millennials, this is one Gen Xer who doesn't believe any of the bullshit the Boomers spew about you. You folks are going to change the world in so many profoundly positive ways...I can only hope you're not too late.

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