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The Second Post About Guns In America: Rights, Responsibilities , And What We Can Do To Save Lives

December 15, 2012

So there was another shooting today, this time at a hospital. Three people are injured.

Can we please do something about gun laws in the United States now, please? Seriously, please? I know, I know, so many people scream “NOW IS NOT THE TIME! DON’T POLITICIZE THIS TRAGEDY!” Yeah, fuck those people.

You know when the ideal time to do something about the masses of guns in the U.S.? Yesterday. A year ago. Five years ago. But we didn’t do that, so we need to do it now.

“Don’t politicize,” is code for “Stop talking about gun control.” Because in the wake of tragedy, anti-gun control advocates have the weakness of their position laid bare. Plane crashesterrorist attacks by foreign individuals and groups, failures in our infrastructuredisease all lead to natural, logical calls for action. But with gun violence? We are told we’re only allowed to mourn.

Fuck. That. Fuck it. Fuck allowing anti-gun control advocates to freeze us into inaction. Fuck allowing politicians and pro-gun lobbying groups to shame us into irresponsibility.

This is a terrifying thing for people, in the same way that Stephen King can take a simple, familiar person, place or thing and make it terrifying.  Summer vacation, your car, your family dog? All these things are supposed to be safe. IT, Christine, Cujo work as horror stories because they take these safe things and make them unsafe. But that’s fiction.

Yesterday, the place that is supposed to mean cutting out construction paper and snack time and recess was made unsafe. It feels like a horror movie. But it isn’t. This incident, and the 30,000 deaths per annum attributable to guns aren’t the plot of a move. We can’t blame them on “evil” and we can’t blame them on “a crazy person,” either.

I get why people jump to that talking point. I do. It’s comforting. If we assure ourselves that the killer is not sane we other him. He’s not one of us. As a result we can assure ourselves that the murder of twenty children is a one off, an aberration, something that was so out of the norm that we can’t possibly be expected to control it. We are not responsible. The shooter is. He was crazy.

Here’s how the thought process works:

Someone did X thing. I can find no sane rationalization for anyone doing X thing. If I cannot find a sane rationalization, the shooter must not have had a sane rationalization. The shooter must be insane.

Guess what? It may be comforting but it’s not true. It’s another logical fallacy, Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc, after it therefor because of it.

Yes, the shooter is responsible. He made a choice. Yes, the shooter is said to have had mental health issues. But despite what some people might want to believe there is no statistical difference between the rates of violence among the neurotypical and neuroatypical.

Mental illness didn’t cause the deaths of 28 humans yesterday. Evil did not perpetrate 30 mass shootings in the last decade. There is no rational justification for 87 gun deaths every day. Stop trying to find one.

Instead start trying to find a solution. More guns equals more deaths. Stricter gun control saves lives. End of fucking file.

Be sad if you must but also, be outraged! Be fed up! Be on the phone to your congresspeople demanding the re-authorization of the Assault Weapons Ban. Be on social media pointing out every bullshit use of “he must have been crazy,” and “guns don’t kill people.” Be ready to take on the pro-gun people in your world and call them out as the direct cause of death in America. Be prepared to point out that we shouldn’t be using a law from the 1780s to determine our actions about 21st Century violence. Be  appalled when someone brings up the 2nd Amendment at all since someone else’s right to own a gun should never trump society’s right to not get shot. Step up and help save lives.

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