Why not? Everybody else has been heard from.
Mass killings will only end when it becomes more difficult. Unrestricted gun ownership makes it easy and convenient and very American. Strapping a bomb on your body and detonating it in a chosen crowd is a middle-eastern preference. Plus the demented – as opposed to religious fanatics – look for the dramatic way out.
We’ve already heard — once again — the rhetoric of the gun lobby that is always simplified to “guns don’t kill people, people do,” followed by the sanctity of the Second Amendment. And that, as always, is a sop to gun manufacturers, gun owners and conservatives in general. It is hardly a sympathetic show of concern to shooting victims. The only counsel to them is to arm themselves, I would suppose, so that they could shoot back.
So just imagine what more might have happened had everyone in the your theater been packing heat. Someone unseen is shooting. You can hear it. Then you see a guy near you with his gun drawn. He sees you. Do you shoot? What if he shoots in another direction? Is he, by then, an assailant and in league with the unseen shooter? The woman sitting next to you has drawn her gun – the woman you’ve never seen before coming to the theater. Now what? And even as all of this has happened and the actual assailant has been captured or killed, can you conclude that the assault has ended? Who do you, who should you shoot in order to save your own life? Is there an end in sight?
That’s the kind of madness that was recommended by a Republican congressman from Texas who, naturally, reflects the gospel according to the National Rifle Association.
I’m all for the protection of hearth and home, and Kris tells me there’s a pistol somewhere in the house, but in the four years that we’ve lived together I’ve never seen it. I’m not sure what I would do if an occasion arose where I would need to use it – complicated by trying to find it in a crazy rush – but I think shooting someone who was headed for the front door with my laptop would not be my first thought toward a solution.
But that’s not the point here. It really isn’t. The issue is the nutso drive of Americans to build personal cellars full of weapons that could equip an invasion, and with it, gain the power to resolve gripes of the most bewildering type. And it has already come to the place where the crazies don’t seem to need a complaint of any description, just a notion to do some random killing.
What kind of civilization would sanction that? What kind of leadership would stand for that? Keeping the bad guys from coming in the back door in the middle of the night is one thing, but do you actually need, say, an assault weapon to do it? I think not.
I do think, however, that enough is enough and that it’s time for mightier voices than mine to stand up and say so in clear and reasoning words. And just perhaps it’s also time for us as a nation to begin to grow up. The business – and bottom line, that’s a big part of the problem – of guns in America still tries to reflect the mentality of the frontier hunter, the head-of-household who was expected to land fresh game on the dinner table. Nor is “the establishment of a well-ordered militia” a matter for consideration in our own times.
As I think about it, it just may be that the number one problem in America is that we keep on killing each other — some 80 people a day — in numbers that exceed those of other industrialized nations and in numbers that exceed every other mechanized way to death. And we zealously support the means to do so. We’ve actually made it legal.
We allow it to happen. On college campuses. In high schools. Of a United States Congresswoman. And now it appears we’ve armed a Phi Beta Kappa college student to do it in a movie theater.