LET’S FACE IT. There is, and probably always will be, a gun problem in the United States. The wrong people get their hands on high-powered weapons—either by legal or illegal means, or under circumstances that are not governable by any authority—and go on killing sprees.
When these horrific events happen, we are shocked, grief-stricken, angry, resolved to do something about it, and then we’re sucked into protracted debates that inevitably disintegrate into partisan sermons that go nowhere toward finding answers to the root problems.
Those answers, unfortunately, are probably unattainable.
There are too many positions, too many angles, too many interests and, regrettably, too little brain power to figure out how to really, effectively, control the violent urges of individuals who are either mentally deranged, susceptible to the goading of extremists, or just plain evil.
Legislation to control the weapons themselves will never realistically prevent the violence that boils in the hearts of these rabid curs. Law-abiding citizens obey laws. Criminals don’t. People who snap and go on violent rampages aren’t likely to stop and consider the legal consequences. If a lunatic with a grudge wants to kill a bunch of innocent people and is somehow legally blocked from obtaining a semi-automatic rifle and high-capacity magazine, he is not going to admit defeat and give up. Whatever is driving his intentions will still likely succeed at some level in ruining too many lives.
Our society has evolved from the Constitutional blueprint given to us by what seems like the last generation to have had both the brains and the moral courage to produce greatness, to a point where its most powerful strength—freedom—has actually created an atmosphere of chaotic tension. Hostility, resentment, confrontation, hate, discrimination, agitation, intimidation, greed. The freedoms we enjoy allow for the expression of these and other destructive tendencies, impulses and actions.
Freedoms require responsibility and, unfortunately, the track record of humans—individually or collectively—taking responsibility is not great. We are free to express or do many things that add to the mounting weight of tension pulling our society lower, and we have been ingenious in developing tools to share and magnify those expressions and actions. The growing discord is carried across the airwaves and onto the ever-present screens that now dominate our worlds. It’s easy to see how the weakest among us, the most unstable, the angriest, could be drawn or pushed into lashing out violently amid the never-ending stream of destructive consciousness that flows freely in the Land of the Free.
Meanwhile, whatever our fearless leaders come up with, to address the upswing in public acts of violence, will most likely be ineffective, at best. They will water down the common sense proposals that could make it harder for the wrong people to purchase weapons, and will focus too much on the sensational details—silencers, military-looking rifles—that will result in further burdens on law abiding gun owners. In other words, bulls**t will be the main accomplishment.
Nobody from Washington is going to ride in to the rescue. Elected officials are not cowboys, after all. They’re more like rodeo clowns. (Wait… that’s not fair… rodeo clowns—bullfighters—are actually the life guards of the rodeo arena … bad analogy, and our apologies. Besides, Washington is more like a circus, anyway… ). As citizens of the freest land on earth, we’re pretty much on our own. The police generally act in response to crimes rather than to prevent them. Laws generally work the same way. So it would be foolish to take comfort in any new legislation that results from the mounting wave of political outrage, especially anything produced in the current atmosphere of bickering and partisan arse covering by the slapstick occupants of the D.C. clown car. (better analogy?)
Bad people are going to do bad things. For sure, let’s take every precaution possible to keep them from getting better tools with which to do their evil. But we shouldn’t let down our guard. Expect trouble. Don’t expect the political system to make it go away.
Until we find the collective will to calm the hostile voices steadily fighting to invade our minds, they will just keep getting louder and meaner, and continue feeding the rage of those with evil intent.