Thursday, October 1, 2015
Thoughts and Prayers Are Not Enough
The problem with discussing mass shootings any more is that they have grown so common that, being the practical creatures we humans are, we have ritualized the event so that we can better handle it. We have a certain formalized language, and pre-set arguments. The president is right--we get numb--it's what we do when have a tolerable outrage level, when it isn't our kids, when it isn't our town, when it isn't "our" tragedy. Perfunctory statements are made, offering "thoughts and prayers". Often these statements come from political figures, who don't want to be seen in the disgraceful pose of appearing to be "politicizing tragic deaths".
Fuck that. Tragic deaths are politicized. The dead of 9/11. The dead of Benghazi. What we have here, though, is not a one or two-off happening--the United States is actually pretty damn saturated with gun violence. The incidence of gun deaths to Americans is orders of magnitude higher than that of terrorism. Our level of gun violence is actually shocking stacked up to other civilized nations.
I don't think knee-jerk "thoughts" and hackneyed and insincere prayers are worth a damn anymore. I can't sit and wait until I have a name and a profile for whatever kink existed in the smouldering brainpan of some loser who decided he wasn't going to snuff it until some dozen or so of his fellow humans did as well.
I know gun-owners. We have guns in my house. I am not anti-gun. I know a few NRA members and they aren't actually weirdos mostly. But we have a curious incapacity for regulating the sales of weapons in this country because of a propagandistic misinterpretation of the 2nd Amendment. The analogy I can think of is traffic. We regulate traffic a lot. Speed. Traffic lights. Rules of the road--because, you know. Accidents. It seems to me that if you discover that we don't just have accidents with guns, but a terrible and fatal number of "on-purposes", something ought to be done--and after all, there is nothing in the 2nd Amendment that forbids regulation--it's right there: "a well-regulated militia". A home army that can do self-defense, but isn't paranoid as fuck and armed to the teeth and killing each other!
If not now--when? If the bloody little bodies of Sandy Hook Elementary were not enough, what stack of cordwood-fallen humanity is high enough for our political regard?
If the answer is none, that what other fatal fascination earns your interest? What could? Take your bloody rights and flush away all your puling about anything else ever again. Because we permit wholesale murder. We darkly imply that only violence is the answer, and only big guns give the right kind of violence.
Our society is poisoned, and there will be some ghouls who proscribe a better access to poison to remedy it. And for my part, I am beyond thinking about how their souls or bodies are dealt with on this moral plane, for they are on no moral plane at all, at all.