Monday, November 20, 2017

GUNS IN AMERICA

Another month. Another mass shooting. What's going on? What do Americans think about it? How do Americans propose to deal with the situation?

We need more guns, Some People say. More good people with guns will stop more of the bad people with guns. Odd, isn't it, that even with 300,000,000 guns in the US, it seems as though the good people are never around while the bad people are shooting? Wait a minute, Some People say. Good guys shot the bad guy at that Texas church, didn't they? Well, yeah. After the bad guy killed 26, wounded 20 more, and decided to leave the church. OK, Some People say. That means we need more guns in churches. And that gives you a clue about the brand of Christianity espoused by Some People. Beat your swords into AK-47s.

OK, Some People say. How about the latest shooting in California? California has strict gun laws. That didn't stop the shooter. But Some People forget that California's gun laws are only as strict as the Supreme Court allows. And California is bordered by Arizona and Nevada, two of the least restrictive states in the country with no permits, no registration, and no magazine restrictions.

That's really the story of the gun culture in the US. In order to justify their inordinate, almost religious love of firearms, the opponents of proposals to register and/or ban certain types of firearms and to prohibit certain classes of people from ownership are forced to wander farther and farther afield from logic and reason. They will say that the rifles of Revolutionary times were as far advanced from their predecessors as an assault rifle is from 18th Century technology and that the Founders understood this. As if the Founders had anticipated a guy walking into a church with a weapon capable of killing an entire congregation in the time that it would have taken them to fire one bullet and maybe have time to reload fire one more. They will say that the Second Amendment guarantees an absolute right to firearm ownership when every other freedom guaranteed under the Bill of Rights has been limited in one way or another from the beginning and over time as circumstances have changed. 

When it's pointed out that cars are registered, inspected, and insured and their drivers tested and licensed, Some People reply that we don't blame cars when there are fatal accidents, we blame the driver. Why should guns be different? But guns are different. Guns are different because, when used as designed, cars are not deadly weapons. When guns are used as designed, people die. And the more guns that there are, the more that people die. The most recent studies show that for every one percent increase in gun ownership there is a 0.9 percent increase in the rate of deaths by firearm.

At this point, Some People start throwing out statistics of their own, demonstrating that Some People are the Same People who find statistical anomalies to demonstrate that global warming isn't really happening, much less that there is a degree of human liability. Some People insisted that global warming had paused since 1998, an outlier year that was hotter than blazes. At least, Some People were touting a global warming pause until the last four years proved to include three of the hottest ever recorded. Some People apparently do not live in Miami where downtown streets flood every time there's an onshore breeze at high tide. Some People apparently don't live in Houston where there have been twelve catastrophic flooding events in just the past three years.

Some People are like Those People who were tobacco executives and stood in front of Congress and raised their right hands and swore under oath that there was no proof that cigarettes cause cancer. 

It's time that we let Some People know that we're mad as hell and we're not going to take any more of their pious rantings. The Constitution is not a suicide pact. And it certainly wasn't meant to prevent us from considering the safety and well-being of our children who, by the way, are shooting each other with regularity because Some People can't keep their guns out of their children's hands.

My posts of a political nature are collected HERE.




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