About twenty years ago, when the NRA went ’round the bend and came down on the side of assault weapons instead of common sense, we pulled into the driveway of my in-laws place in the country and my father-in-law was in his pick-up with a razor blade, scraping the NRA sticker out of his window. He had already mailed his letter resigning his lifetime membership. He was a Marine in Korea. He knows what machine guns are for – killing people – and civilians don’t need them.
By the time we left that day, my husband and I had both written letters resigning our lifetime memberships and I used the same razor blade to scrape the decal out of the back window of my car.
This day has been twenty years in the making but the shooting in an elementary school today in Connecticut proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back…I will never, let me repeat, NEVER cast a vote for any politician that has the blessing of the NRA. If a Democrat on my ballot has their endorsement or a high rating, I will not vote for anyone in that race, because if you have the support of the NRA, you can’t possibly represent me.
It is time for reasonable people to stand up to the authoritarian goons at the NRA who have been using fear and paranoia (to be blunt, terrorist tactics) for years to cow politicians.
No more. They don’t even represent a majority of gun owners, so their influence needs to be sharply curtailed.
Every week, it seems, there is a mass shooting – and this week there were two. The people who were killed in Oregon at the start of the week are barely cold, and on the other side of the country, we have 26 people dead, eighteen of them children who were in their elementary school classrooms.
Every time it happens, the gun nuts – and the White House – somberly intone that ‘now isn’t the time to talk about gun control with emotions running high.’
So when can we have that conversation?
Mass shootings happen so frequently that half the nation is in a perpetual state of mourning and the other half is inured to it and it doesn’t even register.
I don’t ever want to hear another brainless twit say “guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” because that is a bullshit argument made by gullible fools. Guns sure as hell do kill people, because they make it possible for a person to “run up the score” like the shooter in Connecticut did this morning when, after killing his father in New Jersey, he went to the kindergarten classroom where his mother was teaching and killed her and eighteen of her students.
Even before the death-toll was known, people were defending the poor innocent guns that were being maligned.
One person even tried to pass it off as inevitable and used the shooting in Norway to bolster their argument, because Norway has some of the toughest gun control laws in the world. The only problem with that argument is that Norway has had one mass shooting in years, while the United States has had two just this week.
That same person then switched gears and tried to say that drunk drivers kill people, too, and no one is trying to take away cars or alcohol.
There is no gentle way to say this…that is a bullshit argument. Ever heard of a little organization called MADD? They got drunk driving treated seriously and got laws passed that made the perpetrators pay dearly – financially if they are caught driving, and with years of their lives if they hurt or kill someone.
Let me be clear before I go on – I’m the resident gun nut in these parts, which we define as “someone who owns way more guns than they need but not nearly as many as they want.” When I was growing up, guns were part of our lives and we used them judiciously. No one hunted for sport. Everyone ate what they hunted, and I knew people who ate because they hunted. I knew people who filled their freezers with rabbit and quail and pheasant, but sat out deer season; but I also knew people who planned their entire year around deer season and never hunted birds or small game. No one threatened anyone else with them. They were respected for what they were – they were made to kill. Gun control may have meant that you could hit what you were shooting at, but it was also meant you could control your temper. It was simply understood in that culture that you just didn’t shoot at people. Period.
Then I grew up.
I took a career path that put that reality up against the one filled with the carnage that I dealt with every day when I put on my uniform and went to work saving the lives of people who, for the most part, ended up crossing paths with me because they were dumbasses, or at least lacked the good judgment to keep themselves out of danger. It really is that simple. When it comes to gunshot wounds, not that many are random, and the number of innocent victims is dwarfed by the number of people engaging in – ahem – high risk activity who end up catching a bullet.
When my realities collided, the tricorn hat got knocked off the Second Amendment, and I started putting firearms in their proper context.
Guns changed society in immeasurable ways. Guns changed geopolitics when a single shot from a handgun felled Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the end result was a world war.
A mail-order deer rifle killed an American president and yet another handgun killed that President’s brother just months before he would have been elected President himself.
When I say that guns changed everything, I am not exaggerating. They are the biggest god-damned deal mankind ever unleashed upon ourselves.
If you don’t think about the fact that you have in your hands an instrument that has the raw, unbridled power to change the course of history in the blink of an eye every time you touch one…you should not have access to a gun.
There is no question that we have a serious problem in this nation with gun crimes.
We all need a gut-check.
We need to start by fully enforcing the laws on the books, but we can do something more, and we ought to, even though it will be politically volatile and make the right wing freak out and buy even more guns and ammo in their never-ending preparation for the always-coming (when there is a Democrat in the White House) revolution.
We need to bring a basic framework of laws into standard compliance across all 50 states, with common sense adaptations. States need to share information. Thorough background checks for all firearms purchases should be mandatory, including psychiatric/psychological occurrences. I would go so far as to mandate that private sales, those currently unregulated, would have to take place through the county sheriffs office; and any unregistered sale proven in a court of law carry a stiff penalty, with mandatory prison time and the loss of the right to bear arms after a conviction.
I have been saying this for years: All the states need to have the same basic framework of gun laws because there are a few “donor states” with lax laws that flood the streets with cheap guns and that is why we have an epidemic of gun crimes clogging our ERs and our court dockets.
Just ten states supply most of the guns used in street crimes, and Mississippi, West Virginia and Kentucky at the top of that list.
We can’t make guns go away. And I don’t want them to. But we can – and should – make new ones harder to get, and we could control the ones that are out there by actually enforcing the laws that are on the books right now and getting serious about bringing the ones that are out there currently untraceable into the system one-by-one. It ain’t ideal, but it’s a start – until smarter people than me can get serious about this. Which will require standing up to the NRA and telling them to stop whining like whipped pups that the Second Amendment is under assault because the majority of people – who are not NRA members – want gun owners to have some rules they have to follow or they lose their right to carry weapons that were designed with one purpose – killing – in mind.
A good place to start would be with passing a basic federal gun control law that established purchase limits (who the hell needs 25 handguns at once that isn’t a licensed dealer? I’ll tell you who…an unlicensed dealer.) But the odds of something common sense like that happening are nil in this political climate, with teabillies in high dudgeon and an islamofascistcommunistsocialistnazipaganmooslimkenyanusurper in the White House.
So hold the states hostage and point their own guns at them to do so. If they take in more money than they send to Washington, limit the amount of money that flows back to them to dollar-for-dollar until they toughen up their gun laws at the state level. That ought to get the attention of states like Mississippi, West Virginia and Kentucky in a right-quick hurry.
Don’t try to tell me that “now isn’t the time” to have a serious conversation about guns and gun control because it’s too soon. If we don’t start it now, when can we? It’s always going to be “too soon” because there is always another one of these vile, reprehensible acts.
If eighteen dead children, most of them kindergarteners, isn’t enough to start the conversation, we’re officially pathological as a nation.
As for me, I will never again cast a vote for any politician that seeks the endorsement of, or even has a high rating from, the NRA.
The NRA doesn’t even represent the majority of gun owners, but they have disproportionate influence on our elections. They trade in fear and paranoia – and so far as I am concerned, they are a domestic terrorist organization and should be treated as such.