I’m rarely surprised anymore by the disingenuous nature of arguments against gun violence prevention. But I’ve gotta give a standing, sarcastic slow clap to one of my friend’s Facebook chums who spent a portion of his day yesterday arguing that if we limit guns in any way, we need to do the same for fists because those can kill people, too.
Certainly you remember the time 26 little children and teachers got punched in the face while cowering in their classrooms in Newtown, or the day when 32 college students and professors dove for cover and frantically blocked doors to avoid getting socked at Virginia Tech.
It’s ludicrous. Get a brain morans, amiright?
Yeah, well here’s the thing though: This side is winning the argument.
In fact, they’re not even being forced to make an actual argument. After a shooting — pick a shooting, any shooting — they need merely to fill a few days with defensive butthurt posturing about how we’re all coming for all of their guns
…and their freedom
…and it’s about tryanny
…and those stats have suicides in them
…and black-on-black crime in Chicago
…and mental health!
(By the way, if you want to have some fun, ask the people opposed to any gun control who hide behind the mental health argument after a shooting the following question: “Oh, do you regularly vote for candidates who advocate for increased funding for public mental health services?” You’ll see the facial equivalent of the three blinking text dots.)
Earlier this week, before we all saw the new depths of depravity to which our gun culture could sink, a local conservative writer whom I follow on Twitter shared a chest-thumping news item about a 14-year-old boy forced to use a gun to defend his sister during a robbery. Because that’s what passes for a well-regulated militia these days: Kids who have to take up guns to defend against adults with guns, being fetishized by adults who love humping their own guns so much that they don’t think any guns ever are the problem. Rather than sharing this story as evidence of a country that needs a course correction right this actual goddang nanosecond, the writer shared the mainstream media news item with his version of the trademark ho-ho-chortle, “Bet you won’t read about this in the mainstream media!”
So what’s to be done? Here are a few modest proposals:
- Stop smiling politely at people who argue that there’s nothing wrong with this nation’s relationship with guns and there are no laws that could possibly improve the shooting-of-the-other-people-frequently situation. This attitude would be laughable if the consequences weren’t deadly. Call them on their b.s. then and there. While Facebook is the great connector of people with diverse opinions, it’s also fostering the mistaken notion that all arguments have equal consequences. Repeat after me: some arguments are insanely naive and dangerous. Declaim and shame.
- Stop tolerating your favorite progressive politician trotting out her or his gun bonafides in awkward campaign-trail hunting photo-ops. Nobody’s coming for hunting. It’s still your right as an American to blow the head off of a deer from time to time, as the Framers intended. But Democratic politicians don’t do this ridiculous hunting photo-op to send a signal that they support hunting; they’re blowing a dog whistle to let gun owners know they’re totes cool about all this gun stuff because they’re regular Joes, just like them. Instead, demand all politicians prove their “real America” cred by trying to find a parking spot at Costco on a Saturday morning or get a @#% Jibbitz into a Croc.
- Put your money where your Facebook posting is. Take a second now and give to the Brady Campaign.
- Start calling the NRA (as an institution) what it is: a special interest machine that is actively funding and promoting violence on American soil. You’re a responsible gun owner who is cool with what the NRA does in the halls of Congress in your name? Then you’re not a responsible gun owner. Take the gun, leave the gun violence lobby.
Finally, and this one’s the hardest: Don’t give up.
I did, for a long time. After Newtown, seeing the paralysis of my President and Congress in the face of 26 executed elementary school children and their teachers, I gave up. We got to the point where these massacres — Navy Yard, Isla Vista, Lafayette — weren’t even registering for more than a few days of the news cycle.
I gave up until this week. In part, it was the fist argument yesterday. I mean, seriously, that f*cking guy. Come on.
But also this week I sent my daughter back to school. First grade: the same as many of the Newtown victims. They’re going to have a lockdown drill so my 6-year-old knows where to run in case of a shooting in her classroom.
This week, two journalists were shot to death on live television.
We can keep living in this America. The one where we give up when afforded every opportunity and encouragement to do just that. Or we can organize, we can give money, and we can demand better. After this week, what seems the most sensible thing to you: gun control, or rolling over again?