The Third Third

Taking Aim at Guns

I have been trying to reframe the so-called Great American Gun Debate.  I feel I need to find new words that implicate new kinds of choices and action. Moral choices.  Humane action.  Because somehow, even the slaughter of  innocents in schools, (and churches, offices, and concerts) isn’t rising above “collateral damage,” or the “unintended consequences” of the War of the Weapons our nation has engaged.  The discussion we’ve been having in this nation isn’t working.

Gun control.  Gun safety.  In Congress they’re fighting over the number of angels on the head of a pin as if it matters what they call it when children die at the hands of a deranged gunman armed with an AR-15. They’re taking money and talking points from polemicists striving to stave off any and all changes to the system — the very system that puts military weapons capable of mass killings in rogue civilian hands and the system that keeps these Congressional folks in power, (albeit powerless to stand up against these murderous policies).  Those safe seats in Congress and the unfettered sway of the gun industry have apparently been deemed far more essential to our democracy than the lives of the innocent who have been lost.  It seems to me the blood of all those murdered in mass shootings is on the hands of every public servant hiding behind whatever it is they’re conveniently (and not necessarily correctly) reading into the Second Amendment  and every gun lobbyist.  And it’s past time to hold them accountable.  

Make the choice if it comes to this:  

  • You lose your seat in Congress because the NRA takes you on if you support a ban on semi-automatic weapons — or 10 or 50 or 300 more innocent people lose their lives in a mass shooting.  
  • You assuage the fears of those fringe folks who think the government is hellbent on taking their guns away — or you assuage the fears of children and their parents who send them to school every day. 
  • Your gun industry loses a percentage of its profits from sales of semi-automatic weapons  — or, 10 or 50 or 300 more innocent people lose their lives in a military style massacre.  

And, speaking of a military style massacre, this kind of killing of innocent civilians might well be considered a war crime in another context.  Let’s not lose sight of this.  This is not ordinary course.  The mass murder of civilians is not normal.  It is not acceptable.  And it doesn’t happen anywhere else in the developed democratic world but here, in America.  Heartbreaking.  For shame.

We don’t need little fixes, or to “fill the gaps.”  We need a wholesale re-thinking of our values and our priorities, with emphasis on the sanctity of human life.  We need an acknowledgement that military style and all other semi-automatic weapons have no reasonable place in the hands of civilians in a free, democratic society.  None.   You say: We have to move slowly, work toward common ground for incremental change, pay homage to those who think we’re coming to take their guns away.  I call Bullshit. The only working slowly or incrementally I am willing to do at this point is to start with banning any future sales of semi-automatic and military style weapons and later figure out how to get them off our streets entirely. And then make sure the wrong people don’t get any guns — with comprehensive and coordinated background checks, and improved mental health funding, services and reporting.

This is not blasphemy.  It’s not radical.  It’s not punitive.  It isn’t a power grab.  Or a Win or a Loss.   It merely upholds our nation’s very foundational purpose: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — freedoms which are obliterated every single time innocent lives are lost in a massacre perpetrated with weapons of mass destruction.

comments powered by Disqus