Posted by: slartibartifast | November 7, 2017

Guns in America

I’ve waited a long time before weighing in on the “gun situation” in America. I’ve given it a lot of thought and I’m now prepared to show my observations to the world through a public forum.

We have just gone through the mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and the recent mass shooting at the Route 91 music festival in Las Vegas. Total carnage: 84 dead and 566 injured. Enough.

To say that some angry crackpot with an AR-15 (evidently the preferred weapon of choice for homicidal morons) intent on killing many people is an unusual circumstance in our country is just not true any more. It happens with nauseating regularity now. Enough.

The root causes that create these deadly morons (I refuse to think of them as “people” after their actions) in America are becoming more evident and I want to identify them as I see them:

It’s not JUST guns…but it’s guns. There’s no need for AR-15s, or any similar type of assault weapon (like AK-47s), to be so readily available to average guns owners. These are weapons of war, designed to kill as quickly and efficiently as possible. Period. Full stop. No contrary argument possible. Enough.

There needs to be restrictions on the types of guns available to average citizens. We don’t allow fuel dragsters to drive on interstate highways, we can’t allow these assault weapons to ANYBODY not in the military. Alternatively, if people want to shoot these exotic weapons have them housed at a shooting range and ONLY available to shoot at that range. A lot of people I know will hate this idea. Tough. We live in a (supposedly) civilized society where we can’t all do whatever the hell we want to do. Live with it or move to Somalia and enjoy their lack of restrictions.

It’s not JUST gun ownership…but it’s gun ownership. Look up the stats on who owns them. Most guns are owned by a shockingly small percentage of people; mostly adult white males who stockpile them. These are, usually, the NRA shills who have bought into the propaganda that they can stop some insurrection by the U.S. government or some mysterious “other” power. Enough.

These “hyper-patriots” have bought all of the NRA/Fox News bullshit without any critical thought at all. The Second Amendment was written during a time when slave ownership was just fine and women had no rights like men. Things change. We have to as well.

It’s not JUST the NRA…but it’s the NRA. Bottom line…they’re just a marketing tool to sell more guns. And, DAMN, are they good at it. They are so well funded that they can hire the best ad men and focus groups to write the best propaganda to con their audience into even the most absurd actions. And they OWN Congress through their threats to primary any politician who doesn’t play ball with them. Enough.

It’s not JUST media…but it’s media. Movies, TV shows, video games, music, comics, nearly every pop culture source. They all glorify guns as the solution to EVERYTHING. There was a brilliant episode of The Simpsons where Homer gets a handgun and sees it as the solution to EVERY situation. Bart and Lisa get their basketball stuck up on the roof of their house and Homer shoots the ball flat and it falls off the roof. He then asks if they’d like him to get their cat out of a nearby tree. Lisa shouts “No!” Same thing here. Enough.

It’s not JUST mental health treatment…but it’s mental health treatment. Over the last recent decades Congress (mostly Republicans) have cut billions out of the budget earmarked for mental health treatment. They would rather send these troubled people off to their “prisons for profit” instead. In fact, Donald Trump recently (February, 2017) signed a bill making it easier for mentally ill people to buy guns easier http://time.com/5011519/texas-church-shooting-mental-health-donald-trump/ YAY! A great effort for the NRA and Republicans to sell more guns no matter to who. Enough.

It’s not JUST jobs…but it’s jobs. Over the last 40 years a confluence of factors has decimated good paying jobs in America. Offshoring American jobs to cheaper labor markets overseas, mostly to China, is top of this list. Vulture capitalists who buy and then break up and gut American companies without regard to the workers and their pensions is also near the top. Bad work environments make for depressed and alienated populations. Enough.

It’s not JUST American Exceptionalism…but it’s American Exceptionalism. We think we’re better than other parts of the world. We’re not. We are part of the world, not the owners of it. Enough.

Gun violence in America is as close to an intractable problem as we will ever face. Personally, I don’t see us solving it in this political climate. Trying to untangle all of these American cultural factors is probably impossible now. We should still try.

We live in The Age of Disinformation. There is so much distortion and outright lying in media and politics that it is impossible for ignorant and gullible voters to distinguish fact from fiction. There is a great deal of money to be made in conning “low information” voters. As I often say, “Your opinions are only as valid as your sources of information.” If you get your “news” from an urgent e-mail alert message from uncle Dan, then you are probably too dumb to vote. Stay home and clean your guns.

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