Nothing changed.

Another shooting, in Oregon this time.

So people, tell me what’s worse: the fact that there’s another shooting, the fact that no one is the slightest bit surprised, or that it was in a “nice and quiet neighborhood”.

There was once a meme saying that there could be no reasonable debate on gun violence in this country after Newtown; that when the country decided that the guns were more important than lives lost, it was over. Right now, I’m inclined to agree with it. Right now, I see an entirely different side of people as a whole, and I can’t say I like what I see.

 

I hate that I’m not surprised by this, and I hate that nor is anyone else. I hate seeing all the “prayers” from politicians, media, etc. – stop praying and start doing something! already – and I hate the trope of “if there was a good guy with a gun” being trotted out every. goddamn. time. it happens. I hate ALL of it. And worst of all, I hate that this has become the norm.

Seriously, people, just stop. Stop this madness. When an average person sees someone with a gun holster, their immediate thought is not, “Is this a good guy with a gun?” – their immediate thought is, “I’m getting the fuck out of here because this guy might spray the room!” But the culture in this country encourages that, whipped up and aided and abetter by the media. Know who gets rich off such a climate? The NRA, gun shops, and the undertakers.

The one guy who was conceal-carrying on campus did not rush over to “take out the bad guy”, as the Wild-West ideology would have you believe. He didn’t do it for a very salient reason: if the law enforcement officers heard shots, they would take out whoever was shooting, and it could’ve well been him. So let’s forever dispense with the “good guy with a gun” bullshit.

The amazement that people express that this happens in a “nice quiet neighborhood” incenses me to beyond words, though. Will people, specifically white conservatives, please stop imagining that violence and dysfunction is unique to the city? And/or inner-city areas? Give me a goddamned break. The reality is thus: the biggest difference between urban and suburban environment isn’t the vices: it’s how far people go to hide theirs. In the ‘burbs, you have more money going around to gloss over the same exact vices and abuses. In the city, you can see people’s vices openly, but in the suburbia, you see a gilded veneer of “community” and “church” and smiles to the face while badmouthing behind the back. The smiling ignoring of bruises, tearstains, track marks, abuse heard from the house next door, etc. all in favor of “let’s preserve the nice neighborhood”.

Frankly, I’d rather be in the city. At least I can see if there’s a threat openly, instead of having to guess at what the “pillar of the community” is hiding.

Let’s actually discuss this. Let’s actually point out the elephants in the room. Let’s actually point out that every single culture that says “it doesn’t happen with us” is only asking for that to be disproved. Let’s actually point out all of that. Let’s talk about the fact that this has become acceptable. Let’s talk about the culture of this country where, after a major shooting, people actually go out to buy more guns. Let’s discuss all. of. that.

Mental illness is not the problem here. A lot of these shooters have motivations that fall well outside the DSM spectrum. There are a lot of mentally ill people all over the world, and the one thing they don’t do is take up weapons to shoot up a room. No. They don’t do that. So please let’s stop dragging this one out whenever a guy goes off the skids. And also, let’s stop dragging out the ‘ghetto’ trope if the shooter is black. Seriously, just no.

And what I’m about to say will make me incredibly unpopular, and I’m aware of the uproar that will result after I say this, but, here goes anyway: if someone watches Fox “news” and identifies as a “tea party” Republican, can they please be automatically disqualified from being with 100 feet of a weapon? Because I think at this point, it’s safe to say that these people have no business being near even a pellet gun. They don’t believe facts. They don’t listen to reason. They don’t think for themselves. They’re also the ones buying weapons in large amounts (and there is one gun-shop owner who stocks AR-15s because there’s a rush to buy them after every shooting… I truly wish this surprised me, I do). And they believe, firmly, that the government is coming to attack them. Really? The US Military does not and did not, historically, attack its own civilians (Civil War probably being a sole exception). So okay, please, tell me again why you need an assault rifle if you live in suburbia.

The media does nothing whatsoever to help. I still hadn’t forgotten Palin’s crosshairs map and Gabby Giffords being shot as a result – and right now, they’re reaping the results. The NRA has lobbied to kill several background check bills – which are supported by most gun owners!!! – and paid the Republican party handsomely for it.

I know that correlation is not causation. But really, at this point, the more teabaggers come out of the woodwork to scream against background checks, the more I wonder if they’re the ones who would be disqualified by them if they actually were into place. It actually took petitions to input a provision in Louisiana and Georgia legislature that people who were arrested for domestic violence should be barred from owning a weapon. It takes petitions to pass a law that prohibits a violent person from owning a deadly weapon. Digest that, please.

I’m fully aware of the First- and Second-Amendment backlash to this idea, but let me also tell you this: speech inciting to violence and harm is not protected under the First Amendment. This is why you don’t scream “Fire!” in a crowded theater; doing so causes mass panic and stampeding people. This is also why you take care with your words; if they incite someone to a violent act, you’re held legally responsible if the person you’re talking to says they got the idea from you. This is why bullying deaths result in arrests: you can argue that it’s ‘just words’ but if someone gets hurt or killed as a result, then guess what: you can’t claim First on it. If someone dies as a result of your words, or your rhetoric, you cannot claim the protection of the First.

 

The minute that this country has decided that gun ownership and Second Amendment were somehow more important than the right of people not to get killed, the discussion shut down. Truly, what discussion can there be? The NRA will fight anything. The NRA has profited handsomely off these shootings, and continues to. And the guns obtained in these shootings are actually legally purchased. Same as the one used in Newtown. So how can we discuss this when we already see that the gun lobby’s muscle speaks a lot louder than spilled blood?

Nothing changed. And I guess we can expect more of the same. More “prayers and thoughts” with the families from the people who actually have the power to do something and refuse to, because their NRA lobby bribes are just too damned sweet.

K.G.

Advertisements

About Kat G

Sci-fi author. Jazz aficionado, an all-around enjoyer of peace, quiet, beauty, and contemplation.
This entry was posted in The Usual. Bookmark the permalink.