Okay, okay. We’ll do “guns” again. Sheesh.
So… two weeks ago, on Friday, May 23rd— the same day the Isla Vista, California gunman went on a rampage that resulted in the deaths of six college students and injury to 13 others— approximately 5 children (age 14 and younger) were killed, and 525 were seriously injured, in motor vehicle crashes in the United States of America.
Because that happens every day in this country. EVERY. DAMN. DAY.
Guns are definitely scary, especially when crazy people use them to commit murder… but I suspect we human beings are mentally wired-up to be MUCH more shocked and frightened at the thought of some evil boogeyman surprising and murdering us for no reason than we are at the revelation that more children are killed by automobiles than gun-toting loonies. Just look at our media.
TRUE FACT: Last year, more Americans were killed by toddlers than terrorists.
And yet… how the pundits do howl.
The politicization of “gun control” into fear of “gun seizure” and the defense of “gun rights”— and the subsequent invocation of the 2nd Amendment and political infighting over its interpretation— only really began in 1963, when the whole country shit its collective pants at the assassination of JFK. As is typical, it was a wave of “but we have to do SOMETHING!” that tripped the switch on 50 years of paranoia and political manipulation. Before the Gun Control Act of 1968, there was plenty of sensible gun regulation in the USA— almost all of it COMPLETELY SUPPORTED BY THE NRA, which was fully active in supporting reasonable laws to keep guns out of the hands of loonies. It was an “everybody wins” situation.
It only REALLY became an issue in 1975, when the NRA dove headfirst into politics to form a massive voting bloc intended as a wedge to engage in pressure politics. Since then, the NRA (and its supporters) have taken an anti-government stance and have dumped close to a billion dollars into PAC activity to mobilize its members in support of whatever prominent political causes are supported by its BOD. That organization has been directly responsible for creating the aura of paranoia and reactionary anti-government “gun seizure fear” that currently prevails throughout much of America’s gun-owning citizenry.
Truth be told, gun regulation laws haven’t changed much over the past 50 years, apart from a few dumb “ban the scariest-looking weapons” initiatives and the occasional closure of inter-state smuggling and stolen merchandise loopholes. Some states and cities have passed ordinances. But seriously— there hasn’t been all that much.
Even the great God of the NeoCons, Ronald Reagan, supported gun control regulations on multiple occasions— WHEN THEY MADE SENSE. But he also supported the cause of organized labor unions much of the time, for the same reason (he stomped the guts out of the Air Traffic Controllers union when they tried to shut down American air travel, though. His union support was always situational).
The 2nd Amendment isn’t going anywhere.
It’s still not legal for any American citizen to own any kind of firearm in existence and keep it in his house, simply because he feels like owning it. Never has been.
The commercials and treatises and other “save our guns” rhetoric is just a political maneuver to sway votes and make money through politics. Always has been.
We HAVE gun regulation. That’s not really the problem. The problem is guns are so ubiquitous in our society— there are so many of them— that it doesn’t matter HOW many restrictive gun laws are passed, there is always going to be a way for a determined psychopath to get his hands on one when he decides to do something horrific. Again: like automobiles. People get killed all the time by drunk drivers whose licenses have been revoked yet who were STILL driving (illegally) at the time. Doesn’t matter. You can’t police every single set of automobile keys in America. There are too damn many.
It’s not the legal gun owners who are the problem; it’s mostly the gun INDUSTRY. They want to be able to sell more guns to more people forever and ever amen, because that’s how they earn a living— selling them as a commodity. But “make the bad guns go away” isn’t really a practical solution, because there are already 300 MILLION OF THEM in the general population. You might as well try to regulate and destroy all the steak knives in America. It can’t work. It’s too late for that to work.
The only practical solution that works to deter this kind of event is better security in public places. More cops, better armed guards, providing a measurable, visible deterrent. I KNOW you can’t police everywhere. But it’s the only thing that works to curb violent anti-social behavior. It even deters psychopaths. Not even the craziest of whom wants to get blown out of his socks before he can get off a single shot.
Yes, it’s tragic that there are psycho nut jobs in our population… but statistically, there always have been. Yes it’s bad that they use guns… but they also use knives, bats, and in one recent case a samurai sword.
The guns are already out there and can’t ever be taken back. So… maybe we should concentrate on doing something that will actually do some good— PREVENTING the nut jobs from killing anyone by stopping them before they can do it.
That means more and better security. There’s simply nothing else that works.