If people are wondering why I haven’t posted more on the Newtown mass shooting, it’s because I feel like there’s really nothing more for me to say. I’ve posted about my disgust of guns, gun culture, gun loonz, the NRA, and all the rest amply over the years; no use rehashing it now. Just hit the “Guns” tag if you’re new over here.
So, onward. There’s been some good discussion on a lot of the blogs about this issue, some good points raised. One of the best I read was over at Obsidian Wings, comparing “normal” homicide to mass shootings. Dr. Science writes:
Most firearms in America are actually used to make men feel better about their dicks — sorry, as symbols and reinforcers of masculinity. Men buy guns, telling themselves that they will use them in the masculine role of protector and defender. But in fact, guns are used to defend masculinity, first and foremost. Very occasionally, defending masculinity means defending others in your masculine role, but usually it means attacking other men for slights against your masculinity, or women for being uppity enough to disagree with you or reject you. Or children, for caring about anything other than Daddy. The god of masculinity is a very jealous god indeed.
Harsh, yes, but there’s a lot of truth there, too. I also really appreciated what Anne Laurie said when she wrote,
Dear Gun Owner: I don’t want to ‘control’ your guns, I want you to control your guns.
God, yes. A thousand times, yes. That’s the point I was making here. Which is that, despite what the gun lobby wants you to believe, gun owners are extremely irresponsible. You don’t even have to look at tragedies like the Oklahoma three year old who found a loaded gun and shot himself in the head last week (no charges filed against the gun owner), or the Alabama teenager shot in the head during a “prank gone wrong” in October (again, no charges filed). I have personally heard of two people in Nashville who left their loaded guns in unlocked cars parked on the street overnight recently. Guess what, their cars were “broken into” (can you break into an unlocked car?) and the guns were stolen. That’s two more guns now on the black market where they can be used in crimes. Thank you, “responsible” gun owners of America. And thank you, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, determined to get his stupid “guns in parking lots” bill passed. I wonder how many more guns will be stolen from vehicles now?
I understand we’re still piecing together the facts of what happened in Newtown. But from what I’ve read and seen on 60 Minutes, Adam Lanza’s mother was a gun enthusiast, who liked target shooting and kept several guns. She also knew her son was troubled (possibly had Asperger’s, according to 60 Minutes), and had been getting worse in recent weeks. Folks, I have to wonder what kind of “responsible” gun owner/parent knows her kid is mentally disturbed, yet keeps her guns where he can get his hands on them?
“Responsible” gun owners of America: you have proven time and again that you cannot control your guns. We will have to do it for you.
Also, as has been pointed out by Michael Moore and others, anyone thinking this tragedy could have been prevented by arming teachers is overlooking the fact that Nancy Lanza was the shooter’s first victim. And has already been established, she was more than adequately armed. So, STFU. Guns are the problem, not the solution.
But I am interested in some solutions now. Dianne Feinstein has promised to put forward a new assault weapons ban bill when Congress reconvenes in January. I don’t expect that idea to go far in the Teanut-controlled House, but you never know. This list of deadly mass shootings since Columbine is a sobering look at our national disease. I don’t think it’s coincidence that the number of shootings since President Obama first took office has soared: remember, gun sales surged after his election, thanks to the steady diet of fearmongering and hate the right-wing media has spewed.
And on that topic, I just have one word for Rupert Murdoch, who Friday night took to Twitter to offer his usual “blame Obama” tripe:
STFU. Really. Or maybe, look in a mirror. Your media empire issues forth a steady stream of pro-gun BS, not to mention fearmongering and misinformation about scary black people and black helicopters and anti-Obama, anti-Democratic Party crap. Fox News constantly pushes the outrage button, tweaking the collective amygdala; not a surprise that a few loonies inevitably snap. So maybe if you’re really as supportive of strict gun control measures as you said you were back in July, you could use your considerable influence over Lizard Brain America to try to return some sanity to the gun debate. Maybe ask your Fox News hosts to dial back the crazy a little bit? You know, I realize you’re a fairly new U.S. citizen, but surely you know laws begin in Congress. So if you want some leadership, maybe show some yourself. Because you’re part of the problem.
Here’s some other good information:
• Ezra Klein reported some incorrect information we often hear about Switzerland and Israel having high levels of gun ownership, and was corrected by a researcher who had studied that issue. Klein posted a transcript of the interview here and there’s some fascinating information.
• A word on the NRA: presented as representing American gun owners but, as this website reveals, its leadership is primarily gun manufacturers and conservative political leaders like Grover Norquist and Ollie North. Time to reveal this group for what it really is and stop being so scared of them. Especially since they appear to have been inflating their membership numbers for years. I’m disgusted they’re bringing their annual convention to Nashville in 2015.
• The NRA is an obvious and easy target (pun intended) but let’s remember the influence ALEC has had on the state level. ALEC is the group which brought us “stand your ground” laws and other initiatives that do harm community safety:
The group has, for instance, promoted:
• A “Resolution on Semi-Automatic Firearms” that expresses opposition to proposals by local, state, and federal governments to restrict the sale of semi-automatic weapons, known as assault weapons.
• A “Defense of Free Market and Public Safety Resolution” that discourages efforts by law enforcement agencies to use their purchasing power to buy police and policing weapons only from gun manufacturers that improve gun safety to protect children. The same resolution discourages efforts to identify and limit public contracting with gun dealers that are not notorious for selling weapons used in crimes.
• A unanimous 2011 endorsement by ALEC’s “Public Safety and Elections Task Force” of a proposal to expressly bar cities from banning machine guns.
• Fun fact: the second most powerful gun lobbying organization in the U.S. is located in Newtown, CT. Wow. Think someone is trying to tell us something here, folks? If this were an abortion-related tragedy occurring in the same town as Planned Parenthood or NARAL HQs, Pat Robertson wouldn’t shut up about it.
• Some interesting conversation on mental health issues and access to mental health services is here.
• Deep in comments points to this interesting article about the advances in 3D printing technology which make gun control even more problematic.
On a final note, every time I blog about gun issues I get trolled by a steady stream of gun loonz, brought over here by a couple of pro-gun blogs. It’s an obvious intimidation tactic, blatant bullying, calling me all sorts of lovely four-letter names for voicing my opinion. You’d think people trying to present themselves as “reasonable” and “responsible” wouldn’t resort to bullying but you’d be wrong. And I’m not going to stand for it. I don’t care what you people have to say. We’ve done it your way, we’ve loosened gun laws and there are more guns out there in our communities than ever before and the result is more shootings and deadlier shootings. So, you’re wrong. I’m finished with you.