December 19, 2012 by gomw
Here we go again! Still another mass killing and the same old outrage and litany of panaceas; and once again, the emotion will recede, the NRA money will start talking again and nothing will change significantly and in a few months, it will happen still again! Here is a list of the most prominent solutions:
1. A ban on assault weapons and conversion kits. Who can logically argue against this? No one; but the NRA, backed by gun nuts, will argue against it illogically (more guns not fewer – arm the students!) and effectively. Gun control advocates in supporting their position after a horrific mass killing like Columbine or Newtown will use the specious statistics of killings in and around the home; domestic violence, suicides and accidents. The problem here is that these killings don’t involve assault weapons. A ban on assault weapons would have had no effect in Columbine because this assault was planned for days and illegal weapons are available. It would not have had an effect in Newtown because assault weapons were not used.
2. Background checks by gun dealers. Once again, who can logically argue against this? Again, no one; but the NRA and their sycophants will do it effectively with the color of money. As in Columbine, this would not have had any effect. Illegal guns are readily available. It would not have stopped the Newtown murders because the owner of the guns would have passed a background review.
3. Identification of and treatment for mentally disturbed. A poignant and convincing argument for this approach was made by Liza Long, using a real situation with her son that has the potential of becoming another Newtown-like killing. Who can argue with the logic of this approach? No one; and the program has intrinsic value beyond mass killings. The problem is that it takes money and would be opposed by the same group who oppose an assault weapons ban…or any gun control laws. It is doubtful, also, that any program could be effective in reaching enough disturbed people to be effective.
4. A ban on all guns. This is the only law that could be effective but WILL NEVER HAPPEN. The state of New York comes the closest to such a ban but with local controls superseding state law, a patchwork of rules and regulations has made the law difficult to enforce and minimally effective. What the New York law has done is successfully challenged the gun lobby claim that gun control laws are in violation of the 2nd Amendment. It is obvious that the amendment was not intended to permit the unfettered possession of arms by the general public. Such a law, a total ban, would be opposed emotionally and effectively by a majority of US voters whose love of the gun may be as strong, or stronger, than the love of the automobile. There are a number of reasons people want guns in their home:
Self protection. This is a legitimate concern but futile. I have a gun for such a reason but am under no delusion that it is anything more than visceral and would have no problem turning mine in if required by law.
Hunting weapons. The love of hunting in pervasive.
Gun collections. Many people have an interest in weapons historically. Personally, I would be interested in visiting a museum to see all the weapons I was trained to use while in the army. I don’t need them in my family room, however. Many gun collectors, however, transcend an historical interest and have become part of the small but growing militia mindset. They see themselves as the last line of defense against a tyrannical government which is inexorably, and by conspiratorial design, destined to enslave the people. This feeling was apparent during the early so called town hall meetings which gave birth to the Teaparty. These meetings, sponsored by those like the Koch Brothers, were attended by a group who had grievances that were inconsistent with each other. The one thing they had in common was the unwillingness to accept an African American as president. The use of guns, as displayed at their rallies, was seen as the “final solution” to their dilemma.
For whatever reason, violence and guns have become part of the American montage. It pervades our government, entertainment and international politics. I don’t pretend to understand how this happened. We are like Sicily with organization. Killing is still the paramount part of the “final solution.” We still worship the “wild west.” Movies like the spaghetti westerns didn’t make us like this, our attitude inspired the spaghetti westerns. Clint Eastwood and the Duke never even stuck around long enough to bury their victims. It has finally pervaded our national policy. We no longer defend our country with troops on the ready in our borders. The 82nd Airborne, America’s guard of honor, is deployed in the middle east. Dick Cheney’s one-percent doctrine was the unannounced but de facto policy of the Bush Administration. We invaded Iraq using the excuse, the public one anyway, that they might someday have nuclear weapons and might someday use them against us. Hundreds of thousand Iraqis were killed, along with thousands of Americans, because of it.
We have learned that this kind of murder is too expensive so have pared our preemptive murders, with the Drone attacks, down to where a minimal number of people are killed in order to kill someone who might have planned an attack against us or might someday do so. No one can argue the effectiveness and economy of this approach but an American should ask how many innocent victims is it appropriate to kill in order to prevent another 9/11. We like to call ourselves a Christian nation, in fact there are some who will kill to prove it, but we need to ask the question in considering the above question, “What would Christ do?”
Is it terribly surprising that a mentally or emotional disturbed person, or an out of control malcontent, would resort to guns and murder as their “final solution”? We have seen the enemy and the enemy is us!