Thursday, October 1, 2015

Owning gun killings

At least ten people were killed on the campus of an Oregon community college today. (The number is still in flux.)

Certainly it isn't the first gun massacre, nor will it be the last.

Shouldn't that make us all extremely angry?

Well yeah. But it won't. Not angry enough to hold our elected reps' feet to the fire to push through some measure of reasonable gun control.

Part of the problem is that gun-control advocates pick exactly the wrong time to push their (our) agenda hardest.

It probably seems like a fantastic idea to mobilize people against gun violence in the immediate aftermath of a horrible massacre like this. Seems like common sense, really.

Except when you realize that there's a troublingly effective counterargument to gun-control advocacy at times like this. It takes the form of a question:

"Would your proposed gun-control measure have prevented this massacre?"

And the truth, too often, is, "We don't know". We almost never know enough about the shooter or his (it's always "his") motives to know how he might have been stopped.

Still, the counterargument is a lousy justification for doing nothing. Did you make it home safely today in your car specifically because of regulations on tire safety? Probably not. Does that mean tire safety regs should be rolled back? Uh, no.

So the counterargument is a red herring and should be disregarded. But, of course, it will continue to be effective.

I hate that people died in today's incident. But here's the thing: I don't feel especially responsible. I support greater gun-control measures. I'll leave gun-rights advocates and gun-control advocates to hash out the details. But I know we need to do more. I'm not the problem here.

If you oppose more stringent regs on how people get guns, you are the problem.

I still regard the Sandy Hook massacre as the point at which every right-thinking person should have turned to gun-rights advocates and said, "Fuck your rationalizations. We need to fix our broken gun-control regulations." Every poll I've seen shows a huge majority of us support that attitude.

Yet still we did nothing. Nothing.

The problem wasn't and isn't with the majority of us. It was and is with the minority that believes any regulation is an abridgement of the Second Amendment.

You folks are the ones who need to get over your absolutism on the subject of gun ownership.

You folks are the ones with blood on your hands.

Today's victims of gun violence, at that Oregon community college and elsewhere (because people die from gun violence every day in this country) — their ghosts will haunt you.

You let it happen.

Own it.

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