A Heartsick Man in a Sick, Sick Land

When the unthinkable becomes a damn-near weekly occurrence, something is seriously wrong with our society.  Four days ago, ZRM put up a post which posed the questions:

Huh?  How many times will a loosely-bolted-together near-human take an easily available weapon and large amounts of nearly-unregulated ammo to turn a random mostly-safe community space into a bloodbath of passers-by?

What the f*** does it take, Wayne LaPierre, you greedy intransigent gun-lobby whore?  How many innocent people have to needlessly die?

Yesterday, he posted the follow-up.

Unfortunately, the weasels in the government and the media are unwilling to address the “elephant in the room”, which is the easy availability of high-powered, high-capacity firearms in this country.  The gun lobby is just too goddamn powerful for the lily-livered lapdogs in the corridors of power to oppose… they merely wring their hands and whine, “It’s too soon to talk about gun control.  Think of the families!”  These families just had their young children killed, talking about gun control won’t make them feel any more grief.  Eighteen dead children?  What the hell does the ghoulish Wayne Lapierre care about eighteen dead children?  Wayne Lapierre is raking in too much blood money to be concerned with eighteen dead children.

Of course, gun fetishists will insist that the right to bear arms is enshrined in the Constitution, but that is a crock of malarky… as I noted in my last post about a mass killing, the gun nuts typically omit the first clause of the Second Amendment.  In its entirety, the Second Amendment reads:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Here is my proposal… call it “Second Amendment strict constructionism to make Conservatives lose it:  If you want a gun, you must be a member of a well regulated militia, and not a nutbag Turner Diaries LARPer B.S. militia.  You would have to register your gun with state or local authorities, and show up for periodic (monthly or quarterly) muster, receiving training, safety instruction, and an evaluation of your fitness to bear that weapon.  No regulation, no arms.  It’s as simple as that.  Having no regulation of arms is the unconstitutional position… “conservative” distortions notwithstanding. 

Later this morning, I’m going to be surrounded by dozens of children the ages of the children who were killed in the Newton, Connecticut massacre.  After our classes, everybody - children, parents, coaches, counsellors - will be assembling for a lovely party to celebrate the holidays, before the program goes on hiatus for two weeks.  While I surely hope that the kids will be blissfully unaware of the horrors that unfolded sixty miles to the northeast, I will make a point of greeting each of them by name, and bidding each of them an individual farewell before we part.  All the while, I’ll know deep down that, even though my friends and I have been giving them the wherewithal to deal with bullies, the guy whose instruction will really be helpful if they encounter a genuinely dangerous situation is Jerry, the track coach.

POSTSCRIPT:  Riddled‘s Smut Clyde, in a comment at Snark Central, posted a depressing assessment of American society, one which I, sadly, cannot refute:

When there is a thriving market in weapons specifically designed for killing lots of people in a short time, when you have the industry and its lobbyists and its affiliated political movement encouraging the purchase of weapons and ammunition, then it seems odd to label the people who buy and use the weapons according to directions as “disturbed”. It’s a form of disturbance that is in tune with your society.

I fear you nailed it, old chum… it’s this societal sickness that makes me so heartsick.

Note: I cleaned up the language somewhat, in deference to my gracious hosts.  I posted a slightly “saltier” version at my eponymous hideaway.

Posted by Big Bad Bald Bastard on 12/15/12 at 07:12 AM • Permalink

Categories: NewsPoliticsBedwettersNuttersOur Stupid MediaSkull Hampers

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When there is a thriving market in weapons specifically designed for killing lots of people in a short time, when you have the industry and its lobbyists and its affiliated political movement encouraging the purchase of weapons and ammunition, then it seems odd to label the people who buy and use the weapons according to directions as “disturbed”. It’s a form of disturbance that is in tune with your society.

And let’s not forget an entertainment industry that teaches, graphically, how to use these WMDS creatively, in everyday situations, to maximum effect.

For my mind, the worst of it is the average “patriotic” gun nut thinks of himself as the great defender of freedom—even though, if we ever did get a fascist regime, he’d be a flag-waving supporter.  (But not an important supporter, mind you.  No, just a sad member of whatever third-rate militia they set up to let losers imagine that they’re a vital member of the state.)

I think you have nailed the definition of ‘American Exceptionalism’. We are an exceptionally disturbed society. Alas.

Thx for the linkage, BBBB.  Although I wish it was to one of my more optimistic posts about architecture or music.

Rumproasters, welcome if you visit the Empire!  Don’t be put off by my having less control or discretion on my language than B*4 though.

Quick warning:  first comment is moderated, but after that it’s fair game, and I rarely moderate anyone.  Unless they start mocking me with squirrel posts.

Mentioning that we have a lot of gun violence in the US is considered “politicizing the event” because gun nuts seem to think “people who do not think the bodies of 6 years olds (or anyone else) being riddled with bullets is okay” = “just another pressure group.”  I am pretty solid on the idea that not wanting senseless violence should be the default setting for the human psyche. It really shouldn’t be a niche or fringe view. To hear them, liberals can’t help but bring up gun control and use these deaths as an example because we simply can’t be as patient and level-headed as people who stockpile assault rifles in their basements in advance of the coming race war.

Hmm.

This concludes my attempt to see things from their point of view.  It is now beer o’clock in my timezone.

My parents worked in public schools their entire careers. An early-childhood school bears my my mother’s name—she loved working with the little ones.

Yesterday, I was thinking that it was one of those days to be glad they aren’t alive anymore to see all of this.*  They were willing to take on a lot of extra stuff in their jobs, but laying down their lives in the course of the day wasn’t anything they ever bargained for. My dad was paralyzed on his right side—he wouldn’t have been able to run, but I feel fairly sure he would have done what he could to defend his high school kids, and my mother would have done the same.

I think it’s the guns. It’s the valorization of “No compromise! Take ‘em ALL Out! Go down blazing!” in our entertainment and our politics. It’s the lack of intervention with people with mental illness. It’s all of this and a lot of other things. But without the guns—especially ones designed solely to kill lots and lots of people very quickly—the tragedies could be contained.

Not completely avoided. But I am so effing sick of hearing “Well, people will always find a way if they really want to, so no point legislating.” (Particularly from people who then turn around and legislate the SHIT out of women’s reproductive rights, gay people’s relationships, etc. etc.)

People who want to get bombs on planes can really do it if they want, but that doesn’t mean we make it easy for them. Why on earth is gun control the policy debate where “Can’t stop all the bad things—so therefore do nothing” is the default position?

*The principal of the school in Winnetka, Illinois—where Laurie Dann went on her rampage way back in 1988—was once the principal at a different school where my mom worked. She liked him a lot and she said that while, on the one hand, the community was lucky to have someone like him in the public spotlight that day, she was so sad that this would haunt him the rest of his life.

Sorry this is so long. I am just so sick and angry about the nihilist and defeatist attitudes I’ve been seeing from the killing-machine apologists. And let’s start calling these kinds of weapons what they are. No one needs to defend their home and families and livestock with them.

Also, while I’m ranting, perhaps it would be good to point out that we don’t know how many POTENTIAL killers have been thwarted by additional roadblocks to gun ownership. Maybe they took it out on themselves rather than classroom full of kids. Maybe they got help before the rage got the better of them—and before they figured out a way around the law.

There never was any logical reason to have assault weapons be legal.  The sickest part is it requires the blood of innocent kids and their teachers to point that fact out to a nation scared of the froth from the teabaggers and the NRA blood-money leaches.

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