I try to avoid editorializing whenever I can. I prefer to give a platform to other people’s ideas and thoughts, allowing competing ideas to bounce off each other and form a larger conversation that I can curate and watch from the sidelines.
But, I’ve 100% had it with watching my fellow humans die because the United States lacks proper gun control.
Last night there was a shooting at a gay club in Orlando. When all is said and done, there will probably be roughly 20 people dead. As of right now, we don’t know who is responsible and what their motive was (though we can probably guess). But here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter.
Because we will forget. We have a week of grieving, we will promise each other in Tweets and hushed conversation that something will change — but it won’t. We’ll all go back to work Monday, talk to our colleagues about how tragic the shooting was (as well as the shooting of vocal talent Christina Grimmie) and then pour ourselves another water at the water cooler and send Karen the memo she asked for. Then we’ll forget, and it will just blur into the other 172 shootings we’ve had in the United States this year. It’s all so much. It’s all too much.
The National Rifle Association (and friends) have more power than our tears, than our tweets, and our prayers. Despite almost 90% of Americans being in favor of universal background checks, the NRA only has to move the marionette strings attached to the hip of
our their politicians, and nothing gets done.
And why? Why, why, why?
Because their right to own a M134 Minigun, or flamethrower, is more important than your life, than my life, than our children’s lives.
It’s not a matter of national security, or civil rights, or anything else. It’s just some people really, really like guns.
It’s not a national security issue. Not having gun control is the national security issue! If anything else in America — say birth control or condoms — caused even one death in America, we would rally to fix the problem in a hot second. Just think about the Ebola “crisis” when two people in the United States were diagnosed. We could barely talk about anything else, because it was a clear and present danger to our safety. Guns are somehow immune from scrutiny — because, ya know, “freedom”!
Allow me to be perfectly clear: If you have to fear for your life every time you walk outside the door, because an unknown gunman may shoot you down — I don’t care how many guns you own inside — you are not free.
It’s not a civil rights issue. On every single other right in our Bill of Rights, we have accepted reasonable limitations and regulations. You cannot run into a crowded theatre and yell “FIRE!” You have the right to own a car, but you must prove you can drive it. You have the right to be a salesman, but you cannot lie to your customers. You have the right to protest, but you cannot be violent. The NRA and gun lovers, however, tell you that “what we have now is working” (at the price of 228 dead this year alone) and that ANY further action is Obama trying to steal your guns!!!!!!!!
Which, by the by, under President Obama, more guns have been sold than any time in our nation’s history. The President himself, perhaps because of this, has consistently gotten “F” ratings from key gun control organizations — like the Brady Group.
Gun rights activists aren’t here because of national security or civil rights, they are here because they really, really like their guns. And like many other trending issues of today — such as LGBTQ+ equality — they are reluctant to change and are clinging to what they know. Their attitude is strengthened by the NRA, which has a financial incentive to stir up paranoia about guns to energize their base. This has the added benefit of jacking up gun sales, which gives healthy profits to their friends in the gun industry.
See how messed up this is?
Throughout the history of our country, a lot of Americans have died. They have died during various civil rights and labor movements. They have died while protecting our country in wars. Today, victims of gun violence are dying because some people really, really like their guns.
Yes, there have been instances where gun control has failed, and the bad guys have gotten the guns anyway. Nobody is claiming that there is a foolproof solution that will serve as a silver bullet. It may come to light that the attack on Pulse nightclub would have happened regardless, or some other excuse for why guns aren’t relevant in this event. But we have to stop relying on anecdotal evidence. We have to start fighting the trends. We have to try something. We have to do something.
Inaction is only rarely an American response to a serious problem, and we don’t wear it well. When explaining his plan to help in World War 2, President Franklin Roosevelt said, “If you’re neighbors’ house is on fire, you don’t haggle over the price of the garden hose.” You put out the damn fire, and figure everything else out later.
Our country is on fire. And, and as imperfect as it may be, we need a garden hose. We can’t forget. We need to do something. And as voters, we need to make our ballots weigh heavier than the NRA’s coffers. And we need to do it today.