Thursday, May 26, 2022
Guns N' Roses
Our rose bushes are going crazy as they always do in May and June, bursting with flowers. The parakeets are unimpressed, though.
They're fixated only on one thing: food.
Now, there is no easy way to transition from beautiful roses and parakeets in the garden to the dark news coming out of Texas. But here goes.
Obviously when I wrote yesterday morning's post I hadn't yet heard about the shootings in Uvalde. In fact I didn't hear about them until I went to work and finally looked at the news online. As usual after such a hideous event, I have so many thoughts swirling around in my head that it's hard to articulate them. I felt the same after Newtown and Las Vegas and Parkland and Orlando. How many times do we have to live through these disasters before we address the fact that the United States has way too many guns, not enough restrictions and controls on said guns, and that our society provides inadequate mental health care for people wrestling with inner demons?
Our social sicknesses were on display almost right after the Texas shootings occurred. There was an immediate false rumor, perpetuated by a member of Congress, that the shooter was a transgendered illegal alien. The fact that the American hate machine kicked into action to demonize both immigrants and transgendered people -- and to deflect the conversation away from gun control -- when there were barely any official facts available is astonishing and repulsive. Paul Gosar should be officially censured (again).
I don't have any faith that this is going to lead to better gun control. When Newtown occurred back in 2012, I thought, "THIS is it. This is the event that is finally going to force America to come to terms with its disgusting infatuation with firearms." And did it? No. If killing elementary school students isn't enough, if assassinating presidents isn't enough, if 45,000 gun deaths (20,000 of them homicides) in 2020 alone isn't enough, then what is?
Gun control works. I can tell you that from my more than ten years of living here in the UK, where there are strict anti-gun laws and there's barely any gun crime. We just don't have them here (particularly handguns) and if anyone who's not a gangster misses them, I haven't heard about it.
I am certain that James Madison and the other founding fathers who wrote and approved the Second Amendment never imagined its ramifications. How could they? Not only didn't they envision modern high-powered weapons, they didn't foresee modern mental illness, the ease or circumstances under which one furiously deranged 18-year-old could exterminate a room full of schoolchildren. To lay these evils at Madison's feet or to defend them with the U.S. Constitution is obscene.
America needs common sense gun control laws. Period. Background checks, cooling-off periods, limits on the numbers of weapons a single buyer can acquire, limits on the types of weapons available. Also age restrictions -- it's ridiculous that someone who's basically still a teenager can't buy beer but can acquire a high-powered rifle. Any rational, sensible person could see the wisdom in restrictions like those.
We also need to take a hard look at our society. How do we create these alienated, friendless people? What resources should we be devoting to better mental health care and socialization? What do we do with these young men who live in the twilight world of the Internet, playing late-night shooter games and venting their wrath on 4chan message boards?
But will any of that happen? Will there be any substantive change? I doubt it.