#655: Guns, Guns, Guns

Some of you may wonder why I’ve been quiet about the school shooting in Florida last week. Controversial rocker Ted Nugent has had plenty to say, but I try to keep politics to a minimum here.  The truth is I have said nothing because I’ve been too upset – a toxic mixture of sadness and furious anger.

I’m not a parent, but I cry for all the children whose lives have been cut short simply because they went to school that day to get an education. I cry for the kids who will never, ever get over the trauma of seeing their friends cut down.  And what about the kids of the future, who may never know what a normal, happy, unarmed classroom is like?

I’m not American, but I weep for the country that continues to bury dead children, one tragedy after another, while doing absolutely nothing about it.

I’m not anti-gun, but I shake my head the most ridiculous defences for potential killers to easily buy AR-15 rifles. Don’t pretend they’re “tools” and you’re GI Joe.

I love a good conspiracy theory, but I boil in pure frustration that Ted Nugent and others are calling these children “crisis actors” who are a part of an anti-gun conspiracy.

Student Emma Gonzalez has become the voice of the victims

In short, it’s taken me a while to stop being upset, and get clear enough in the head to write something.

I grew up around guns. My dad taught me how to shoot safely before I was even allowed to ride my bike out of the neighborhood. I was such a good shot that he nicknamed me “Deadeye Dick”. He encouraged me to get my Firearms Acquisition Certificate, and I did. I used to love going to hunting shops with my dad to look at weapons. Lake Huron Rod & Gun in Underwood, Ontario was our stop. My mom and aunt would look for knick-knacks at a store called The Chapel while we looked at guns.

I don’t know what the solution is to America’s gun problem. And yes America, you do have a gun problem. It’s obvious to everyone except you, because you can no longer see the forest for the trees.

You don’t have to worry about fighting off the Red Coats with your muzzle-loaded muskets anymore.

Nobody needs to worry about Obama taking over the country, he’s enjoying his retirement.

And let’s not forget, Hillary lost the election. She’s no longer the scary anti-freedom monster under the bed.  She’s an old lady and she can only write books now about “what happened”.  She never wanted to repeal the Second Amendment in the first place.  That was just Russian propaganda that many people fell for and still believe.

I understand that your Second Amendment guarantees you the “right to bear arms” (muskets?) to protect your country and family. I think that’s just fine and I support you. What I am asking you to do is look really hard at the world around you, and ask who you are really afraid of. Right now, it looks as if you’re afraid of a bunch of 17 year old kids who are sick of being shot at and pushed aside afterwards.

If the Founding Fathers could see what the Second Amendment has wrought, I can all but guarantee you that they would go back in time and word it a little differently.

It’s different here in Canada.  We still have lots of violent movies, rap music, and video games. We have guns, but we do not have mass shootings every two weeks. We do not have or want a lobby organisation like the NRA to tell us what to think. Our country was not founded upon revolution like yours. We didn’t worry about the British coming back to take over. We didn’t worry about someone declaring themselves King. In fact the only invaders we worried about were Americans. (Look up “Manifest Destiny” and you’ll understand why.) Yet we didn’t give in to fear and arm everyone in the neighborhood.

The point is, America took the Second Amendment and went a little far with it. Canadians managed to make it this far without worrying too much about deep states or elites taking over, and we’re doing OK. We’re not perfect. We are not likely to forget the École Polytechnique massacre in 1989. But we don’t do it every other week.

What’s the difference? I think it’s our very different history. You had a revolution to escape from monarchy, and have been worried about tyrants taking over ever since. We had a couple rebellions and slowly gained sovereignty, like a teenager eager to move out of their parents’ basement.

What’s the solution? At this point…I no longer even think there is one. After speaking to many Americans, I think the divide is simply too wide to breach. It’s far too easy to say “it’s a mental health problem”. We have mental health problems here, too. That lazy answer isn’t it. Token restrictions on guns or bump stocks won’t help either because you’re too far down the rabbit hole now. Something else has to change. Something evil and elusive has infected the country and it’s not going away.

I think it’s fear and hate. Too many Americans now distrust and hate other Americans. The media and political instigators stoke the fires of hate, and now it’s too late. If there is a solution, it has eluded me. Empathy needs to return to the United States.  It’s your only hope.

America, you are my neighbor and you are my friend. But you’re becoming that scary friend that I don’t want to be alone with anymore. And I’m telling you this as a friend – you have enough guns. More won’t help. Open carry won’t make this go away. A lot of these shooters put the gun in their mouths when they’re done. They don’t care if they die – they often want to go down like Harris and Klebold did. And the “good guy with a gun” fallacy won’t work because you can’t identify who the good or bad guys are until it’s too late.  “Good guys with guns” have made very little difference because this isn’t a Hollywood movie.

While I have no answers, Ted Nugent’s certainly not helping. I’m not surprised, seeing as this is a guy who once called for the nuking of Iraq. Shame on you, Ted, and shame on all those attacking the victims.

Maybe empathy really is the answer.  How to get there?  That is a whole other problem.

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14 comments

  1. A very moving piece Mike and I totally agree with you. Things like this make me glad I emigrated to the UK thirty one and a half years ago. This does not mean I hate the US, I still love the country I was born in! What saddens me is that the guy who carried out the Florida shooting was not old enough to legally buy a beer but was old enough to buy an assault rifle. If I may, I would like to post a link to my Peaceful Rampage blog which says a little more about that.
    https://peacefulrampage.wordpress.com/2018/02/23/a-thought-from-me-gun-ownership/

    While not a solution, if the American centre right is correct. There are enough gun laws on the books to control guns in America, the problem is that they’re not adequately enforced. So, let’s start there, enforce the laws they already have and take it from there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well said Mike. We definitely have a problem here in the States. I support gun ownership, but why do I need an assault rifle??? I don’t get it while people get upset about banning them. I am not overthrowing the government anytime soon, there isn’t going to be a zombie apocalypse so why do we need them again.?? Rifles, handguns, no problem. I have no solutions or explanations for the problem, I have some thoughts but not ready to express them yet. One of the problems though is if I did voice my actual opinion and it was counter to someone else’s view, I know I would be attacked because God forbid I have a different opinion than someone else. That is part of the problem, but another discussion. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I hope the kids don’t stop at “background checks”. I hope they keep going until they get a ban on military grade weapons for citizens. If Americans can draw the line at people getting their hands on dirty bombs and nukes, they can do this. “Gun nuts” are a extremely vocal minority. They’re only getting louder because they are losing. (At least that is what I tell myself before bed so I can get some sleep.)

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  4. A very thoughtful post, Mike. I feel the situation in the U.S. is hopeless too until I watch some of the students affected by this terrible tragedy speak out against gun violence. They are so articulate and so angry about the political inaction. They are determined to vote these bums out. I hope they don’t lose their passion. I believe the only way to change the situation is to vote out these old white men, to lessen the power of the NRA and to slowly change public opinion. I believe that the days of all powerful old white men is changing. At least I hope so.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow Mike well said. As an immigrant in this country I sometimes wonder what is going on. Then I realize as you said so well the 2nd Amendment is created on the paranoia that freedom will be taken away, while we mistrust our neighbors and allies and government nothing will change. The problem is guns not mental health, or video games etc. their are quite simply too many guns. Damn said too much.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The US will not solve their gun problem the way we in Aus did after the 1996 Port Arthur massacre. We are two very different countries with (then and now) very different laws and histories. The US needs dig deep into their existing laws and start tweaking what they can. While not the overall fix we might prefer, perhaps start with better control and accountability?

    Because, as 80smetalman states above, that this shooter was not old enough to buy a beer but was deemed able to purchase a firearm seems absurd and surely a good place to start looking for change?

    I pray these students finally bring about that, or some kinda change, however I fear the NRA stranglehold and dollar bags will likely prove too much (again) :(

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post, Mike. Each time I read about something like this I think “sure something is gonna change”… say the only change seems to be the level of vitriol coming from the pro-gun side… I have never been so stunned as I was at all this ‘crisis acting’ claims and the nonsense from that chap that con man that occupies the White House.

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  8. Superbly done. This stuff sickens me on many levels. I’m a parent of two kids, and something deep and primal comes to the fore when your brain can’t help imagining anything happening to your own kids… These attacks keep happening, and I wonder if there’ll ever be a significant move towards resolution. The NRA strangles Congress, the “from my cold dead hands” gun nuts will never be swayed… Still, one hopes that in a nation of hundreds of millions, there must be some common sense somewhere… I do give full support to the students, though. Thoughts and prayers don’t mean anything real. Being told ‘this isn’t the time to talk gun control’ is a farce. Shit got real on them, and they’ve had enough. I hope they take this is far as they can, and so far they seem well on their way.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I never underestimate the stupidity of people in large groups, and the gun nuts in the States bear watching. There’s a long battle ahead, for the students and for any law makers who want to affect positive change, but it’s a worthy battle that’s needed to be fought for a long time.

        I was thinking too how England, Norway, Japan, Australia… lots of places have sensible gun control and that’s awesome. But I seriously wonder if America has it in them to do something so sweeping. It may need to be baby steps, taken over generations.

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