It’s That Time Again

It’s that time again. Seems to come around more quickly these days. Everyone posts their “thoughts and prayers” and how “love is the answer” and most of all how “let’s not rush to judgment and take away someone’s second amendment rights.” Same old words, slightly different tune. You know what it’s really like? That scene in Clue where they wander from room to room and just look at all the bodies, and they don’t react at all. That’s us, right now.


There’s been some lovely, heartwarming things that have happened since that night, such as the massive line of blood donors, and the rush of love and support – not to mention some practical suggestions for real assistance that we can all provide to the victims and families, even if we’re not in Orlando. Great stuff. But the truest thing I’ve seen today was a tweet -I know, such a millennial thing to say, but read it.


And it’s true. There’s nothing safer than the second amendment. No matter how many times this happens, or how many other countries manage to cope with a society in which fewer people carry guns, and therefore quite logically, fewer people die from gun violence, nothing will ever change. I’ve read some pretty crazy justifications for this – some presidential candidates have blamed it on the president. That’s bullshit, and I think you know it, Candidate-who-shall-not-be-named. I even read a comment saying that the drive to reassess gun control is a plot by ISIS to make it easier for them to attack us. Not kidding. Someone used their fingers to type that out and post it. I can’t fathom the kind of delusion you would need to be suffering in order to seriously believe that.


We need no help from outside forces to destroy our own citizens, and we keep proving it to ourselves every time this happens. Any national enemies we have can just sit back and watch as we mow down our own citizens and gawp about in confusion at how to stop this from happening again.


Not sure if you’re aware of this, but here in the great state of Texas, you can basically walk in, point at a handgun, say, “I want that one,” and you can walk out of the store a proud gun owner. As someone pointed out, it’s more difficult to buy nasal decongestant than a handgun.


The witless douchebag who committed the atrocity in Orlando was not only a domestic abuser, but had until recently been on an FBI watchlist for terrorist activity. Bearing this in mind, however, even if he had still been on the watchlist, under our current system, this would not have prevented him from buying a gun. So in essence, our gun laws are failing to protect us from the not inconceivable possibility of an actual terrorist legally purchasing an assault rifle.


I would also mention that the Candidate-who-shall-not-be-named is calling not for a gun law overhaul, but a ban on foreign visitors. Might I point out that the Orlando shooter was born in the US, so he was in fact, an American citizen?


Perhaps xenophobia is not the answer.


It’s almost as though every time this happens, it should be more and more obvious what needs to happen, but we’re purposefully refusing to see the one solution that really would prevent this from happening as often. Not even the murder of schoolchildren could change the status quo. Not the senseless murder of innocent, unarmed church worshippers, nor the murder of college students, nor will this most recent and most deadly murder of innocent people at Latin night at an LGBTQA club. Odds are, the status quo will remain unchanged. The politicos will continue to bluster and people will continue to give blood, funds, emotional support, and of course, knee-jerk defenses of the second amendment.


We will continue to ignore lessons from other countries – like the Dunblane tragedy in the UK where 16 kindergartners were killed, along with their teacher. Or the shooting spree in Port Arthur, Tasmania, which left 35 dead. Both incidents spurred the UK and Australia to drastically change gun laws, removing them entirely from private hands. Behold, gun violence has decreased.


Conversely, there are examples like Venezuela, where measures to control gun ownership has only resulted in increased gang activity and roughly 24,000 murders in 2014. Or Mexico, where it is possible, albeit difficult to own a gun. Consequently, many law-abiding citizens have obtained illegal guns to protect themselves from the increasingly influential criminal element in their country. I understand people want to prevent that from happening here, however, I think there’s an element to the situations in Venezuela and Mexico that should also be considered.


Bear in mind that a vast number of illegal guns in Mexico and other parts of Latin America come from the US civilian market. Something like 70 percent of the weapons confiscated by Mexican law enforcement since 2007 came from US manufacturers. The story is much the same in the domestic illegal gun trade. Most illegal firearms in the US are purchased through straw purchase sales or through Federal Firearms Licensees, who may be tempted by the profits involved in gun trafficking.


Draw your own conclusions from that, but it seems apparent to me how to fix more than one issue, here.


Look, we’re not trying to take your guns away, just enact some kind of reasonable background check or restriction on who can purchase high powered assault rifles – the types of guns that kill people quickly and for which there is no other purpose. And most of you support background checks, according to several survey data, so why not give it a go? We don’t have to be like Australia or Britain, or Germany, or Japan, but we can do better than this.


Don’t let’s have this conversation again when another 50 unarmed people are senselessly gunned down in public while minding their own business.

If you want to claim that guns don’t kill people, that’s fine, but you know as well as I do that they sure do make it more efficient.