Enough. Just Enough.

In the wake of the recent horror in Oregon, NRA activists immediately (and I mean, the instant it hit the news, before anyone knew anything) began jumping on the “It’s anything but the fact that guns are so readily available fault” talking point. The idea that the campus was a “gun freeze zone” was disproved. The campus allowed concealed carry, just not within it’s buildings. “Well, students and teachers should be allowed to carry guns in the classroom!” Some student just walking into class with a gun, completely unquestioned, is a recipe for disaster. A couple people suggested that this was all the media’s fault and they need to stop covering these stories. One person actually used the term “censor these stories,” thereby stating that they were willing to give up their First Amendment Rights to Free Speech in order to keep what they perceived their Second Amendment Rights to own a gun.

Ben Caron even went so far as the state that guns should not be registered to owners at all. I’m sure being completely unable to track a firearms would make the lives of the police so much easier.

The other usual arguments have sprung up: “Knives can kill.” But you rarely hear of people going on a “stabbing sprees,” or at least not ones that injure or kill more than a couple people. “Cars can kill.” But we regulate the hell out of who can drive a car, we register to the car so we know who owns it, we make them carry insurance so they are liable for any damage, injury or death they cause, and take away their license to drive if they have repeated proven themselves a danger to others on the road.

There has been bill introduced in Congress that gun owners would be required to have insurance against injuries to themselves and others. I think that is a pretty reasonable idea.
Then there is the “mental healthcare issue” which as some validity. Some. Reagan did gut the mental healthcare system 1980’s, which put a lot of mentally ill people on the streets.

But one is reminded that the VA Tech shooter of 2007 had a court ordered psychiatric evaluation that ruled him as “a danger to himself and others” and treatment on his record (which made it a felony for him to own a firearm) before he began buying his guns from a gun store, pawn shops and the internet. Whenever he encountered a background check, he passed. Is the idea that we need a background check system that actually works such a horrible thing? The NRA thinks so. They have fought tooth and nail for people to be able to walk into a gun store and walk out with an AR15 in ten minutes. Guns matter more to them than human lives.

I have no problem with responsible gun ownership, but the fact is too many people that are irresponsible or just damn crazy can easily get get their hands on guns “over the counter.” Yes, criminals will always be able to get their hands on guns, but they don’t sell them to any mook who walks up to them on a street corner. A background check system that actually functions would not only make it much harder to felons, drug addicts, spousal abusers and the mentally ill (all of which are forbidden to own firearms by federal law) to get their hands on firearms, every time they tried, it would alert local authorities as to what these people are trying to do and give the cops an idea that maybe they should check on this person.

And frankly, all these gun nuts that have this idea that if a madman starts shooting where they are, they will suddenly become John McClane. That’s almost as scary as the murderous loonies are. The majority of these people have no tactical training (playing CoD doesn’t count) and can’t possibly do any more than add to the chaos, if not injure to kill innocent bystander just trying to get out of the line of fire. Secondly, for cops walking into that situation, how are they supposed to know who is “the good guy with the gun” vs. “the bad guy with a gun?” All they will see are two shooters.

This is the 45th school shooting in 2015 alone. There have been 134 mass shooting between 2009 and 2015. How much longer are we going to let these tragedies happen to our families, our children?

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5 thoughts on “Enough. Just Enough.

  1. Other than being a mum I’m probably not qualified to put in my tuppence worth, but bloody hell, if it wasn’t for the actual deaths, and children at that, this would be just silly. I serious do not understand the need for a ‘normal’ household to own a gun.

    • Beyond the families that do hunt deer, rabbit, partridge, etc. (and many do for sustenance), there really isn’t one. The NRA and their fans swear it “makes people safer,” but that really is not what it seems to me. Beyond the mass shootings which have simply gotten out of control, having guns in the home is a proven danger to children, it is an easy “ego-booster/ultimate dominance” in the case of an argument on the road, between neighbors or in domestic abuse so that people are too ready to use them to “solve disputes,” and too many people get them and simply don’t know how to handle them.

      I’ve said this before; the attitude towards firearms in this country has changed. Where and when I grew up, in the 1970’s in rural Maine, guns were viewed as a powerful tool to be handled with care and respect, much as one would approach a chainsaw. But now too much of America views them as toys, as ego props and they are too ready to carry them around for no reason other than to show off and intimidate. That’s what all these Open Carry idiots are doing: bullying the public by openly displaying their guns. “C’mon, I dare you to confront me while I am holding this AR15. Yeah. I’m the man!” When I lived in CA, the best friend of my brother’s ex-wife was one of those “weapons enthusiasts.” He had the swords, the shurikens, the nun-chucks, just every stupid thing he could get that he had no clue how to use, including guns. And whenever he and his GF had a fight, he would pull out a pistol and start waving it around. She finally had enough and called his bluff. “You think I’m scared of you? Are you going to shoot me or what?” The bullet passed through her cheek, so there wasn’t any major damage, just reconstructive surgery. He got eight years in jail. It’s that kind of attitude,” the “The guy cut me off in traffic, so I’m going to wave a gun at him” attitude. The murder rates alone prove that guns have *not* made Americans safer.

      This year, three out of the eight apartments in my building were broken into over the course of six months. And they all occurred when the residents were away. The thieves, who probably lived in the complex, watched the cars and knew when people had left for work. Most thieves do not want to encounter a person when they break into a home. One of the apartments contained a gun which was stolen. The gun did nothing to stop the theft and may have even been an attraction.

      My place was never broken into. I have dogs. Even when I was living in the Harbor City Strip in L.A., I had no fear in my home and no fear walking the streets at night because A. I was part of the neighborhood and B. I had dogs.

      Yet Americans are attached to firearms as “part of our American identity.” It’s “our tradition.” The same way the Japanese are attached to whaling and dolphin slaughter as their “traditions” and the Danish to slaughter Pilot Whales as a “tradition.” There is a certain point where the “tradition” does more harm than good. The 2nd Amendment reads: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” That has been taken to mean anyone can own a gun. (There are states where blind people can buy a gun.) And we have no well-regulated state militias anymore, unless you count the state-National Guard units (and their guns are held in the armory). Something has to be done to get pistols and assault weapons, which serve no purpose other than to kill people, out of the hands of the irresponsible public. To make background checks strict, to require training, to require liability insurance, and make the punishment of the misuse of a gun so punitive it would make people think twice before buying a Glock as an ego-prop.

  2. Female genital mutilation is a ‘tradition’ still a really bad idea. The wilful misinterpretation of the spirit of your constitution (please, forgive my ignorance, is the bill of rights the same thing?) seems almost developing into a habit, the whole ‘Christian martyrdom’ thing I keep reading about, the Ms Davis version of martyrdom that is, seems to be almost exactly the same as the so called ‘Muslim martyrs’. These murders seem to be the same, they see themselves as the victim who has no option but to fight back. Then rich, bitter old men literally hand them the weapons.

    • Sorry for the delayed repsonse. Yes, female genital mutilation is another “tradition” that needs to disappear. As an Anthrpology major, we had the discussion in one ethnology class of “How far do you take the “emic” point of view (viewing culture by its own worldview) before switching to the “etic” point of view (objective or subjective from the point of view of your own culture)?” If one were to consistantly stay in an emic mindset, then the Holocaust was o.k. because that was Germany’s culture at that time. Well, of course that’s B.S.. You have to draw the line when a “cultural norm/tradition” does harm. America’s love affair with guns is harming people.

      The Bill of Rights are the first ten amendments to the Consitution. When the Colonies first struck out to become their own nation, first they tried the “Articles of Confederation,” which layed the groundwork, but only provided for a weak central government. It didn’t really work to tie the states together as nation. Then they replaced that with Constitution which outlined how the federal governemnt worked, what it would provide for, and the rights of the states. However, it did little to provide for the rights of the individual. So the “anti-Federalists” demanded (rightfully so) that the Bill of Rights be attached to the Consitution. These first ten amendments covered things like freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, the right to bear arms (which is very liberally interpreted), no unwilling quartering of soldiers in private homes, protection from unreasonable search and siezure of person and property, right to trial in front of a jury, can’t be tried twice for the same crime, cannot be arrested without cause/specific charges being made, civil trials (arguments over contracts and property, etc.), reasonable bail, and that if not listed in the Consitution (including its amendments) or in the consitutions or laws of the states, that does not automatically mean the right does not exist. More amendments have been added since, we’re up to 27 amendments. (Though two of those are prohibition and then repealling prohibition, so they sort of cancell each other out.)

      The Consitution is the end-all-be-all of laws in our country. It is the measure by which the Supreme Court makes its rulings. The 14th Amendment of the Consitution, which states that no state can make a law that denies rights and protections to one group that it allows to others, is the reason all the “gay marriage bans” voted on at the state level are being overturned. They are unConstitutional. They always were. And the fact that we can add amendments to the Consitition means it is not a static set of laws that will be outpaced by the times. It’s just very hard to get an amendment added. You have to have the votes of 2/3rds of Congres (both houses) and then the ratification by 3/4 of the states. Do you know how hard it is to get that many people to agree on something that big? “Herding cats” doesn’t even begin to cover it. But it also means you can’t change the Consitution at a whim.

      The “Christian martyrdom” thing is getting on a lot of Americans’ nerves too because it is so blantantly false. Christians make up 70% of America’s population, yet they make up 92% of our Congress and it’s practically a requirement for presidency. They are over-represented in our government, and it shows by how much legislation is being driven by that right-wing evangelical christian morality (like all the attacks on women’s reproductive rights). And it’s not all Christians that are bleating “Victimization!” It’s the Evangelical right wing christians who get pissy and pouty when they are not allowed to use the government to ram their religious doctrine (their interpretation of the Bible, which is strikingly void of Christ’s teachings) down the throat of the public. They want to abolish the wall between church and state. They want to set up their own theocracy. (Ignoring the irony and hypocrisy how much their theocracy would mimic aspects of the Islamic theocracies they loathe so much.)

      The thing is, what they do not realize is once that wall is torn down, power flows both ways. Yes, religion, most likely Christianity, will have material legislative power, but then the government will start to have material legislative power over religion. Of course, first they will outlaw Islam, and then pick off the other religions by either barring their practices in some substantial way or banning them outright, then the Jews. They will be last because of our ties with Israel. But then when it’s down to just the Christians, they will start to eat their own: The Universal Unitarians, then Catholics, then Episcopalians, basically the government will eliminate all demoninations/sects of christianity that do not teach/practice the very specific doctrine of the people in power. Government will interfere in religion because religion interfered in government.

      I can’t remember who it was, or the exact quote, but one of the Founding Fathers (probably John Adams) said that religion and government are kept more pure by keeping them apart.

      But that would be asking these people to have logic and foresight, something they don’t seem to have much of.

      And you’re right that these are the people who are the most up in arms, who are the most terrified of…everything (and I mean pants-wettingly terrified) and yes, they are the ones who are fondling their guns the most. But there are responsible “liberal” gun owners and responsible conservative gun owners who really wish the NRA and its fans would STFU and go away because they are making all gun owners look like heartless, bloodthirtsy maniacs. And while the NRA paints all gun owners this way, the more likely they are to engender a disproportionate backlash. Instead of reasonable things like, “Let’s make a background check system that atcually works, let’s tighten up on registering weapons and tracking their sales/transfer of ownership, let’s make gun owners carry liability insurance, etc.,” people are going to say “Gun owners are fucking nuts, so let’s just get rid of the guns.” Which looking at Australia, might not be a bad thing. But I don’t think Australians were as culturally wrapped up in their guns as we are in ours. So that is a very hard transition for America to make.

      But just saying, “It’s our tradition, it’s our cultural heritage” is just not reason enough when people are dying at the rate they are in this country to guns.

      We can’t keep going the way it is now, and the conservative demands for less control over firearms will only add to the problem.

      Sorry for the rant. It’s a subject I am torn on because I was raised by and with people who hunted for sustenance as well as pleasure, but what I am seeing is in our greater culture insane.

      How are you? 🙂

    • And that another law that needs to be put in place: Everytime a small child gets their hands on a gun that the parents have left lying around or within easy reach, loaded, and kills themselves or another child, people keep calling it “an accident” like the hand of God left the gun where the kid could get it. It’s not “an accident.” It’s criminal negligence and the parents should be tried for manslaughter.

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