I was going to write a post about gun control and stuff, but man…I just don’t want to. I don’t know how I feel any more. I grew up in a family of hunters, and know plenty of other responsible gun owners. I never thought that banning guns was a reasonable or necessary course of action—still don’t—but what we have now is not working. At this point, it seems clear that the right to buy and own guns is beginning to impede on everyone else’s right not to get shot at.
I’m thankful that the mental health aspect is getting more attention this time around (Aside: how fucked up is it that we can say “this time around”? Mass shootings are just a part of life now). Clearly, no one who shoots up a mall or a place of worship or a movie theater or a school is mentally well. But, we as a country haven’t even been able to agree that people suffering from a bullet wound should get the care they need, regardless of how much money they have or what they do for a living. How long will it take us to get to the point where mental health services are readily available to the one who would have done the shooting? At what point does the greater societal good take precedence over this libertarian cowboy bullshit?
But now, we won’t have a real conversation or get anything done again this time around. Some conservatives won’t budge on nationalized health care that could help the mentally ill that could become violent; some overlapping portion of conservatives, and plenty of liberals, won’t budge on a God-given right to the ability to carry a deadly weapon as they see fit. Instead, we’ll get the same run-around we always do: this wouldn’t happen if every adult in a school was armed, or maybe we should talk about car control since so many people die in traffic accidents. Why those still hold water, I have no idea: I have to question the thought process that leads one to believe that guns in our classrooms will lead to fewer shootings there.
The argument about traffic deaths is even worse: motor vehicles transport goods and people. They come with their dangers and we take a calculated risk in our use of them, and constantly improve regulations around their safety, both for passengers and pedestrians. And somehow, we are to believe that devices built for killing have the same net positive for society and should thusly be comparable.
At the very least, guns should be much, much harder to obtain. I saw an article somewhere yesterday about the fact that a lot of NRA members and gun owners actually agree with this sentiment. If we’re comparing guns to cars, why don’t you have to pass a safety test before being licensed to own one? Why can’t your license to use one be revoked on doctor’s order if you lose eyesight or suffer some mental illness (whether it’s schizophrenia or the more pedestrian epilepsy)?
But no, that’s not going to happen. We’ll continue having higher rates of gun death than every other industrialized nation, by a long shot, and our news stations will keep giving us 24-hour coverage to the people that commit acts of violence like this.