The Real Solution to Gun Violence
“I am a power-hungry coward, and I like guns!!”
Just once, I want to hear someone say it. Instead, we have to hear insulting lies — bald-faced hypocrisy that is so patently and demonstrably false as not to warrant any response at all and yet, it gets broadcast as if we need to debate it, which someone inevitably does.
“Laws that keep guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens do nothing to stop criminals from getting their hands on them, too.” So said Ted Cruz (or something along those lines — I am not willing to make myself watch his sniveling little face utter the words again) at the NRA conference that happened just after the latest mass shooting. Does it seem as if an NRA conference is always scheduled to follow a mass shooting? That’s because there are so many mass shootings, there’s always one just before, after, and even during pretty much any event of any import.
In a more self-respecting country, Ted Cruz would expect not just to get assaulted with questions from a BBC reporter with a microphone or confronted by someone with demands at a sushi restaurant. He would expect to get slapped, because the words that come out of his mouth are or should be beneath the basic standards of decorum that decent people in a country of conviction reserve reserve for other decent people operating in good faith. However, this being America, land of the docile, all he gets is some pointed questions from which he can retreat to the comfy confines of the people who cheer fictions like, “The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a fun is a good guy with a gun.”
Strawmen and boogeymen proliferate at moments like these. The death cult of the Second Amendment loves to ignore the fact that the shooter was in fact a law-abiding gun owner up until the moment he started pulling the trigger. By the laws of the great state of Texas, the Uvalde shooter was within his rights to buy two semi-automatic rifles right after he turned 18. Yay, freedom.
Of course, he was a madman, dontchaknow. It was a failure of the mental health system. Who de-funded it again? Oh right, Saint Reagan and every Republican lawmaker after him.
We need armed teachers!! There’s the good guy or gal with a gun again. The bad guy with a gun (who, as I said elsewhere, looks pretty much the same as the good guy with a gun to me) always has the drop on the innocent, no matter how many sidearms they have stashed in their purse. You ever been shot at when you aren’t expecting it? No one — and I mean no one — handles it well. The sound is deafening, and the natural reaction is to freeze or flinch. It is not a question of bravery or strength or skill or presence of mind. It is simply that the state of mind required for daily life is incompatible with being constantly on the ready to return fire. No one is designed to live like that. And you wouldn’t want to.
Look, I know it’s scary to think that someone might kill you. I know it’s comforting to think that you are in control, if you just have enough firepower.
I have some news for you: someone can always kill you. It’s a simple fact of life, and it doesn’t matter how many guns you own. In fact, the more guns you own, the less safe you are. You only feel safer. It is an illusion of control and power. What delivers the reality of power and control? Living in a society of people who aren’t trying to exert power and control over one another.
If you would just admit that you are scared and you like it this way — you like the idea of firing back and you love the prospect of righteous violence — I would still think you stupid, but at least I could respect your honesty.