In the wake of the latest and most devastating mass shooting in the United States, everyone is registering outrage at the GOP and the NRA. As expected, members of those organizations and their water carriers dragged out that same old “sending our thoughts and prayers” bullshit and reminded us all that after yet another outbreak of gun violence, this is not the time to talk about gun control because people are in mourning.
Well, they can take their “thoughts and prayers” and stick ‘em where the sun don’t shine. Thoughts and prayers don’t raise the dead. Thoughts and prayers don’t erase the horror of that night to those who survived. Thoughts and prayers are useless if all you do is think and pray. What is needed is action, and action is the one thing those people most assuredly do not want, because that would mean less money for the gun industry; therefore less money for candidates who toe the NRA line.
The truth is, with those people, it will NEVER be the time to talk about gun control. They don’t want to know about it, and they will always have an excuse for it. They will tell us there was no way to have prevented the carnage. They will tell us we already have plenty of gun laws and they weren’t enforced. They will scream and yell about Second Amendment rights and tell us the right to bear arms is the God-given right of every American, and those rights take precedence over the rights of the vast majority of Americans to live in a safe and sane society. They will cite the “wisdom” of the Founding Fathers, conveniently forgetting that the Founding Fathers lived hundreds of years ago and had no way of foreseeing modern weaponry. It would be like regulating the Internet in the 1950s. There was no Internet, so it couldn‘t be regulated. Speaking of regulated, the Constitution calls for a “well-regulated militia,” not this ridiculous Wild West mentality held by the right where even mentally ill people have the right to buy guns. Oh, and by the way, Congress is getting set to remove restrictions on the sale of silencers, so there’s that.
So, we all sit in our living rooms/at our computers/listening to the radio or the podcast; and we fret and fume and bemoan our collective fate about our powerlessness against something so big, so massive as the NRA and all the money behind it.
Well, here’s my take on this situation. There is plenty of blame to go around and it rests firmly on the shoulders of the American people.
What? (I can hear the indignant screams right now.) You’re blaming US??
Yes, I am. I am blaming an American populace that keeps voting in the people who allow these atrocities to continue to occur. I’m blaming voters who don’t vote. I blame voters who think/know/feel in their guts that things MUST change and that the candidate from their party is a candidate who will continue to deny anything can be done about it, but still vote for that person anyway. After all, they just CANNOT vote for someone who tells them we need to take assault weapons off the market, or who supports a ban on high-capacity magazines. They just CANNOT vote for someone who is in favor of getting rid of Citizens United and the vast amounts of dark money flowing into our political campaigns, sponsoring out-and-out lies to convince Americans that voting against their best interests is for their own good. Those people just CANNOT vote their own best interests and for the best interests of their fellow citizens because crossing Party lines is … what? Betrayal? Betrayal of what? Wrong? How is it wrong?
No one is saying that handguns for home defense are going to be confiscated. Nobody is talking about battering down your door and taking away hunting rifles. But really, who needs a semi-automatic weapon with high capacity magazines to hunt? If your idea of hunting is mowing down a herd of deer as they graze, or going up in a helicopter and shooting at herds of animals on the ground, it isn’t sport. It is slaughter, and I suggest you get a new hobby. Does target practice at your local firing range require high-capacity magazines? I thought the whole idea was accuracy. You don’t need an assault rifle or even a 10-round magazine for that.
Until the American people actually stand up and do something about it, until we stop hating each other for being right, left, or center, Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, or Green; until we understand that, while we may disagree on some things, other things like the safety of our families, our friends, and our communities are things we can agree on; until we understand that the power to change things rests firmly in our hands and our VOTE, we will continue to see our fellow citizens at the mercy of the next lunatic with suitcases full of guns and ammo.
Ann Werner is the author of thrillers and other things. Show her some love and check out her books!
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