Fear furling the mundane
It’s easy for one to say let’s get get rid of guns. I used to feel like that. Still do - but realistically, I’m also aware that is the wrong approach to curving gun violence. There are responsible gun owners out there, hunters, and marksman that we need to respect. But that doesn’t mean we walk away from this issue either. Gun violence has plagued us for way too long. Tougher legislation seems to be the immediate answer. But of what? The gun purchase process is rather difficult right now as it is. There are good measures in place. Gun show loop holes need to be closed, and I firmly agree that any weaponry too extreme for casual hunting should not be on the market. Theoretically, considering all that we’ve been through as a nation, these points should be relatively easy to tackle.
But thats not where this should end either. The national conversation we are having about guns seems to conveniently ignore urban gun violence. We are touching upon the suburban massacres, but where the real problem lies is in the inner cities. How do teenagers get a hold of guns so easily? They have poor aim and do more damage firing at what they are aiming at than actually hitting what they are aiming at. The second hand gun market and black market needs to be addressed.
So, on one hand we have reason and progress, and on the other we have the right, which consists of congress, NRA, tea party, and news pundits, etc. The right is saying that we shouldn’t address gun violence, instead, we should look to address violent video games and mental health. While I’m not a big gamer, I have played some violent video games, and frankly, they are fun. And more importantly, I play them when I have a lot of pent up agression. It’s nice to have a fix every now and then. We like violence in our entertainment. It provides an extreme escape that is relatively harmless. And interestingly enough, it serves to culturally address our gun fix.
Now, from the perspective of the NRA, they would rather have us on a shooting range, trying out guns, than sitting in front of our screen pretending to be shooting. Might this be why they are shifting the conversation and making the gaming industry public enemy number 1? And this doesn’t even touch upon the amount of open space we lost to suburban development and McMansions - open space that was once fertile hunting and shooting ground. Violent video games once again might serve to fill this primal need we have to hunt. I’d like to see some stats supporting gun sales and their relation to video games. More than gun sales, I’d like to see how video games have impacted the number of gun owners.
Regarding the mental health argument, it might be easier to address gun violence by eliminating all firearms rather than trying to talk about mental health. There are way too many undiagnosed and misdiagnosed people out there. And for many that have been properly diagnosed, for many there is no easy cure. Science has a long way to go regarding mental health. This argument is a complete smokescreen.
So why so much resistance from the right? In short, they are the party of big interest. NRA is big interest. This isn’t about our rights as Americans, this is about the money that can be made off of guns and probably about keeping laws in place that allow for a privatized and outsourced military. This scares me even more than the suburban loon or the drug dealer. Why? ”Off the book” assignments allow for minimal accountability and combine this with the Patriot Act - this kind of power in the wrong hands can be devastating.
But what really bothers me the most about this issue is that we can’t have a healthy conversation regarding gun violence—yet the right was not afraid to put extreme preventative measures in the airports and implement the Patriot Act in the name of national security. Gun violence is now an issue of national security. Where is that same energy?
The right is trying to remake itself into a populist party. They need to be consistant if they want to reshape their image and remain relevant. And like they did with airport security and with our freedom, they need to attack the issue of gun violence with the same fervor and not be afraid to go head to head with the second amendment. They might loose some support from within their own party, so what—it’s time to stop the tail from wagging the dog.