A Word on Guns and the Las Vegas Shooting

I was going to write about my band tonight.  I’d been really looking forward to it.  Instead, I’m going to take a moment to form and share my thoughts on the recent tragedy.

I’ve written about guns before.  In the past, I’ve made it clear that I wasn’t super excited about extra gun regulations.  For as much as I lean liberal, I’ve always been a little bit pro-gun.  I’ve never thought that they should be handed out easily.  I’ve always thought that people should be screened, and that we should have and enforce some common sense gun rules.

Events like the Las Vegas shooting disrupt my world view.  When it comes down to it, I just want people to be responsible.  I want to treat people like adults, and I want to trust people.

And let’s face it.  Way in the back of my heart, I always felt that if something really terrible happened, I’d rather we all be armed and have reliable access to weapons, in case the citizens had to fight for their country.

But my world view is shaken.  Maybe we can’t trust people to be responsible with weapons.  I know plenty of individuals that are trustworthy, but people?  Statistically, if you have a lot of guns and a lot of people, you’re chances of a bad gun landing in the hands of a bad person approach certainty.

America has more guns than any other nation, and we have more gun deaths.  There are some staggering statistics about how Americans are number one at literally killing themselves.  The mass shootings are too common.  Our forefathers did not want us killing ourselves like this.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know how I feel about Trump.  He’s a lying, racist, incompetent conman playing at fascism and endangering American lives.  I haven’t succumbed to “fake news” or liberal spin.  I’ve listened to his words.  I’ve watched his actions.  The one that convinced me that he is unfit to be President is Donald Trump himself.

I bring him up for now for two reasons.

  1. He isn’t going to do anything useful after this latest shooting.  He’s not going to offer genuine comfort.  He has no empathy or true sympathy for the victims.  If anyone is hoping that our President will lead us through this crisis, prepare to be disappointed.  That is not part of his skill set.  What he will likely do is defend the gun lobby and contribute tone deaf words in favor of Americans having guns.  We’ve heard the tune before, and I don’t think we should dance to it again.
  2. An argument could be made that he is exactly the sort of thing our forefathers feared, and perhaps wanted us armed to deal with.  Consider this quote:

    “A prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a people who mean to be free.” – Thomas Jefferson

Allow me to bring the thought to its conclusion.

Our forefathers may have envisioned and feared a despot rising up on the shoulders of a populist movement.  They may have wanted us armed to deal with such a despot, and some of the arguments for the 2nd Amendment are in line with this sort of thinking.  That if the American people should have their freedoms threatened by a power, that people should rise up in force and take back their country.

But that’s not how we’re going to pave the way to a better future.  The use of such force is not an effective way to achieving a better world.  It is a way to destroy a world and endanger the people and values that we cherish.

The answer lies in non-violent solutions.  It lies in building communities.  Spreading awareness.  Peacefully demonstrating.  Volunteering.  Voting.  Taking responsibility for our lives and helping those that we can.

We need to promote leaders based on their ability, rather than their popularity.  We need to quit electing actors and television personalities, and instead find and support people that talk and act in good conscience.

We need to grow up.

That might mean putting away our toys.  And by toys, I mean guns.

We are not alone in the world.  Whatever exceptionalism we may have demonstrated in the past, we are not currently embodying.  We live in constant fear, and we justify that fears by making it easy for people to get guns.

Maybe we need to disarm the whole society.  Both the people and the police.  I don’t know how we’ll do it, but I know that if it’s to work, someone prominent on The Right is going to have to lead the charge.  Maybe invoke Reagan’s name and remind people of the Brady Handgun Bill and why we adopted it.

We should all be looking at what happened in Las Vegas.  We should think about where we stand on gun violence, gun ownership, and examine why we feel the way we do about guns.

If you can look at the headlines, read about the tragic loss of life, and still think America’s current stance on guns is okay, I’d love to hear how.  Because I can’t.  Not anymore.

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