I’ve been totally flabbergasted with this nation’s response to the prospect of meaningful gun control legislation in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre. I thought I’d seen and heard just about everything in my lifetime. Boy, was I wrong. The bullshit that’s been flying around the airwaves and in print – from the sublime to the ridiculous – would not happen in any other nation. Only in America.
The response has been nothing but absurd. The gun-toting wingnuts have come slithering out from under their rocks foaming at the mouth about their Second Amendment rights being violated, and insisting that “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” Well, no shit, Sherlock. That’s the point exactly. Let’s take a quick look at what the proposed gun legislation involves:
- It will require criminal background checks for all gun sales, including private gun sales (as in, gun shows).
- It will ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
- It will make gun trafficking a federal crime.
There you have it. Is there a problem here? If there’s an issue with the Second Amendment, I don’t see it. Maybe I’m missing something, but I think not. Nobody has proposed that the government invade people’s homes and take their guns away. That’s not going to happen. Yet, that’s what the freakazoid American gun-toting whack jobs want you to believe. Why would responsible gun owners take issue with such legislation? They don’t, actually. In fact, the majority of gun owners do not agree with the NRA’s extremist views. It’s the gun owners who know they shouldn’t have weapons who are taking issue with the legislation because they won’t be able to get more guns.
We’ve had people walking around a Portland, Oregon neighborhood carrying assault weapons (and let’s not quibble over the term “assault weapon” because we all know what we’re talking about here), or going to shopping malls and food stores carrying concealed weapons. Why? The two nitwits walking around the Portland neighborhood said they wanted to “normalize” the image of legally carrying weapons in public. Really? I’ve got to tell you, the word “insanity” is the first thing that comes to mind here. I don’t know about you, but if I was taking out my trash on Monday and saw some clown packing, I’d run for cover. I would not be comforted. Nope. I’d be damned scared.
On Wednedsay, Wayne LaPierre, the CEO of the National Rifle Association (NRA), stated his emphatic objection to expanded background checks. According to LaPierre, arguably the most irrational man on the planet, they don’t work in the real world. Expanded checks would only hurt the little guy and the criminals will still get guns illegally. Thankfully, Sen. Dick Durbin was having none of that logic, responding that criminals will be kept from their original purchase because of the checks. Now, I’m not saying that every single criminal will be kept from weapons. Nothing is fail proof. However, to do nothing about gun control because some criminals will still get guns is just a ridiculous argument. By the way, when it comes to the plethora of mass shootings since Columbine, we’re not talking about “criminals” as shooters. There’s another group of people who should not have access to guns: The mentally ill.
The real reason that Wayne LaPierre is opposed to background checks is because the gun sales will go down, and that will adversely affect the bottom line of his corporate sponsors. We’re talking about the Remingtons, Colts, Marlins and Smith & Wessons that rely on him to grease the palms of the Washington legislators and keep gun control at bay. At present, 40% of the guns sold in America are sold at gun shows and on the Internet, where background checks are not required. That’s a lot of sales.
“In most states convicted felons, domestic violence abusers, and those who are dangerously mentally ill can walk into any gun show and buy weapons from unlicensed sellers without being stopped, no questions asked,” said the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
It’s the same reason LaPierre suggested that the solution to the school shooting situation is to place armed guards at schools (like at Columbine, where that worked so well) and arm teachers. Hell, why not create a new market and some increased gun sales?
Greed is the same reason the NRA has distorted the original meaning of the Second Amendment, so let’s put that bullshit to bed right now. Did you ever notice how the NRA eliminates the opening phrase of the amendment and just includes the words “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” on their logo? The organization just so happens to leave the most important part of the amendment out. Here is what it actually reads:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
There is no mandate for individual gun ownership in the Second Amendment. And there’s no support in the Second Amendment for crazy ass gun lovers to go toting lethal weapons around malls, neighborhoods and food stores, and putting the rest of us in danger in order for them to exercise what they call “their Constitutional rights.” That’s bullshit. I’m trying to figure out if everyone who drinks the NRA Kool Aid is just that fucking stupid and ignorant. I don’t want to depress the crazy ass gun society, but Wayne LaPierre is nothing more than a crazy motherfucker looking out for the interests of the greedy motherfuckers. You’re just a dollar sign to him.
Although the most infamous pro-gun association, the NRA is not alone. There’s a plethora of pro-gun associations in this country on both a state and national level.
Guns are good business
You need look no further than the gun industry to see the influence corporations have had on both the American psyche and legislation. In the same hearing where LaPierre opposed expanded background checks, he also stated that the NRA would oppose any legislation that “limits the sale, purchase, or ownership of politicians.” That kind of statement takes brass balls.
Carol Foyler, a politician-control advocate, had this to say about his comments:
“Right now, a man like Wayne LaPierre can walk right into Congress and buy any politician he wants,” she said. “There’s no background check, no waiting period. And so hundreds of politicians are falling into the hands of people who are unstable and, quite frankly, dangerous.”
The control pro-gun lobbyists have over American politicians is no secret. The NRA alone spent $18 million on the 2012 elections (either in support of Mitt Romney or attacking Barack Obama). However, the influence gun manufacturers (in conjunction with groups like the NRA) have on the American psyche is something to behold.
I can’t tell you how many times I hear the excuse that Americans “need” guns to protect themselves and their families from intruders. Yet, the statistics show that very rarely are guns used to deter intruders. The statistics to back this assertion up are pretty much non-existent. On the other hand, it has been well documented that the people most often killed and injured in homes that stockpile guns are family members (and the vast majority of these deaths are children) or friends, not intruders. How about locks on the doors and windows and calling the police? When did that fall off the charts as an option? This myth of preventing crime in the home has been fostered by those who gain financially from the sale of guns. What makes you think you can get to your gun if you’re asleep in the middle of the night and there’s an intruder in your home? The fact is that most intruders would rather rob you when you’re not there.
The manufacturers have been targeting men for years. Hey, it’s manly to own a gun. Just take a look at one of the newest ads for the Bushmaster AR-15, the maker of the gun used in the Newtown massacre. The headline reads “Consider Your Man Card Reissued.” Give me a break. Apparently if you pack an AR-15, you’re a real man. Nobody needs these firearms. They aren’t used for recreational shooting. They aren’t used for hunting…unless you’re hunting people with the intention of annhilating them. People don’t buy these weapons because the “need” them. People buy them because they “want” them. And people want them because they’re sold as “cool.”
Since Sandy Hook, I have seen an incredible increase of promotional boxes to the right of my timeline. One has an image of an AR-15 and underneath it says “Guns are cool.” It invites people to click if you like guns. Another promotional box I saw for the first time last night invites people to click “Like” to win an AR-15 from Guns & Ammo Garage. When I looked at the page before bed last evening, more than 15,000 people had clicked “Like.” I find this gun fixation positively mind boggling. However, I find this lust for military-style weapons positively frightening.
Guns: Not just for guys anymore
Somewhere along the line, gun manufacturers realized that hunting was not a growing sport, but discovered that marketing weapons to women could be a good revenue stream. With men, the marketing focuses on their testosterone level. You’re not a real man unless you’re packing. When it comes to marketing to women, it’s all about safety. The NRA has been guilty of using the fear of rape to sell handguns as self-defense weapons using two pamphlets, one called “A Question of Self Defense,” and the other called “It Can Happen to You.” Both of these strike fear into the hearts of women using outright lies.
For example, the notion that “stranger” rape is the most common crime against women. This is a myth. Women are victimized, most often, by people they know – including husbands, neighbors, boyfriends and relatives. This is just one of the myths that the NRA and gun manufacturers have used to generate an 83% increase in firearm sales to women. Other myths and fallacies are outlined in the report “Female Persuasion,” by the Violence Policy Center. The Brady Center also has some stunning facts about women and guns.
On Wednesday’s Senate hearing on gun control, Gayle Trotter, a conservative gun advocate, said guns make women safer. The facts do not back that assertion up. In fact, the presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the chance that a woman will be killed by 500%. In states that require a background check for every handgun sale, 38% fewer women are shot by partners. Someone’s lying here.
Of course, fashion is also an important consideration when selling to women and there is no shortage of specialty items available. For example, how about a nice pink, jewel-studded Hello Kitty Sig Sauer P226 in its own carry bag? Sound like it works for you? If Hello Kitty doesn’t work for you, you can choose either a Smith & Wesson 37 or Sig Sauer 226 with pink anodized frames.
The Business Insider site has a great rundown on how guns are advertised called “Sex, Safety, and Machismo: How Guns are Advertised in America.” It’s eye-opening, to say the least. Even more disturbing is how Americans’ obsession with firearms has resulted in their being used as an incentive to increase sales.
In “Bowling for Columbine,” Michael Moore visited a bank in Michigan that offered a free rifle when he opened a bank account. The bank stocked the guns right there and handed it to him after a cursory background check run straight from the bank computer. I had to laugh when he asked if it was a good idea for a bank to be handing out guns. I had to laugh, but this kind of sales incentive is no laughing matter.
LivingSocial, an online service that offers deals on trips and other consumer items, promotes an “adventure” called Shootin’ and Drinkin’. You can go out and shoot rifles, pistols and assault weapons, then spend time sampling alcoholic libations. Okay, so you don’t drink while shooting, but the fact is that treating actual weapons like they’re paintball guns or like it’s a laser tag outing isn’t exactly what I’d call responsible. One car dealer gave away a free pistol with every car sold and managed to quadruple his sales.
A nation of paranoid, gun-crazy freaks
That’s what we are, whether we like to admit it or not, and I cannot emphasize enough how the NRA’s intentionally erroneous interpretation of the Second Amendment, along with creating the paranoia that the government is coming to take your guns away, have brainwashed a very gullible, factually challenged American public.
Survival Life is selling a manual online that tells you in great detail how to hide your guns from thieves, bands, and yes – even from Uncle Sam, if need be. It’s normally $47. but I’m sure that the recent paranoia created by impending gun control legislation has created enough angst to sell many more of these at their $7 reduced price.
Have you heard of the Sandy Hook Truthers yet? This disgusting band of nitwits insist that the Sandy Hook massacre never happened. It was faked by the government in an effort to take your guns away. This kind of bullshit is an insult to the families who have lost their children and the heroic adults who gave their lives trying to protect them. This little foray into the Land of Paranoia was started by a Florida Atlantic University professor James Tracy, who says that the Obama administration used “crisis actors” to influence the gun control debate. (This clown also cooked up conspiracy theories about the Kennedy Assassination, the Oklahoma city bombing, and the Aurora theater shooting.)
Meanwhile, one of the parents of a Sandy Hook victim was heckled by pro-gun citizens screaming, “Second Amendment!” while he spoke at the Gun Violence Prevention Working Group in Hartford, Connecticut. And a 69-year-old retired psychologist who found six students and a bus driver in his driveway during the Sandy Hook massacre, took them in and protected them is being harrassed by pro-gunners who make hang-up calls to his home, send him emails calling him a liar and a “crisis actor,” and ask him how much he is being paid to perpetrate the Sandy Hook hoax. These people have lost control and have no shame. It is no wonder the rest of the planet considers us freaks.
Indeed, there is something sick in the core of our society, and guns are at the heart of that sickness. It seems that the solution to every problem in this country is to pick up a gun. Unhappy with the outcome of a legal situation? Hey, no problem, just pick up a gun and off the people who ruined your day. Someone pisses you off in an argument? Just pull out your gun and shoot him. This is exactly what happened at Lone Star College in the gun-loving state of Texas, where you’re allowed to bring guns into schools and on college campuses. There’s a great argument against that absurd “freedom.” I’m not sure what Adam Lanza’s real motive was for slaughtering 26 innocent people, but some suspect it was his anger at his mother’s plans for his future mental health treatment. He may have finally killed himself, but 26 innocent people who had absolutely nothing to do with his situation died because someone very mentally unstable had access to guns.
While there is such a thing as freedom of speech, people who ride around with signs on their trucks that read, “Where is James Earl Ray when we need him?” or “The reason there are more muslims than indians is because we havent started playing cowboys and muslems yet.” (No, my spelling is not wrong. That is exactly the way it appears on this intelligence-challenged clown’s truck.) Considering these encouragements of violence toward any one person or a group of people merely ‘freedom of speech’ is absurd. These people are simply not normal, and neither are the people who find it amusing.
America has a gun problem
To insist that America doesn’t have a “gun problem” is absurd. Here’s a sampling of the statistics that fly in the face of that logic:
- 83 Americans are killed every day by guns (9 children per day)
- There are 32 states that allow the purchase of firearms without either some form of ID or a background check
- 40% of American households have both children and guns
- There are a total of 1,260 firearm deaths in the entire European Union (population 376 million) vs. 10,821 in the United States (population 282 million)
- In Japan, you have to be a licensed hunter to even own a gun. That country has all but eliminated gun deaths.
- 34,000 Americans are killed by guns every year
- There are 70,000 gun-related injuries every year
People say America’s gun problem (and we do have one) is multifaceted. That’s not the way I see it. America’s attitude problem is multifaceted. A better mental health system, violent video games and movies, bigotry toward minorities – all of those issues need to be addressed. Those issues will take a long time to fix. America’s gun problem can be improved right this minute by enacting gun legislation. I didn’t want to use the term “common-sense gun legislation” because it has been overused since the events at Sandy Hook. However, I will ask you to use your common sense here.
Does it make sense that 40% of America’s gun sales take place in venues (gun shows, private sales, Internet sales) where IDs and background checks are not required? Does it make sense to allow mentally ill people access to guns? Does it make sense to have manufacturers conducting gun “give-aways” over the Internet? Does it make sense that average joe citizens are carrying around military-style weapons that are designed for one thing: The annihilation of another human being? Does it make sense that gun trafficking is not a federal offense? Does it make sense that students can pack weapons on a college campus? Does giving the states the power to control guns make sense? No. None of that makes sense.
I understand that we may never keep guns out of the hands of all the criminals and crazies. Some people will always find a way to get guns. However, to use that as an excuse to not pass legislation that can immediately improve an out-of-control situation is probably the most pathetic excuse the pro-gunners have used yet. We’ve literally talked this issue to death since Columbine. It’s time for action.