>> Friday, December 14, 2012
So I was looking, again, at the piece I wrote about guns last year, after the Giffords assassination attempt left six people dead and a few days later there was yet another school shooting. Not one at an elementary school, like the one today; that one was at a high school.
And I'm still burned out and angry.
And I was thinking about all this on the drive home. And I realized that, as I said in January 2011, I still don't care in that weird, opposite way that you can only not care when you are angry and bitter and defeated. Maybe it's a childish way, maybe it isn't.
But I could give a rat's ass about any so-called "dialogues" or "conversations" about gun control. Fuck that. Fuck all of that.
Look, we live in a democratic republic. And the House Of Representatives--the most democratic branch of government, put to the national referendum every two years at what is almost the smallest and most direct discrete representative bloc practicable--is comprised of a majority that is opposed to gun control; the Senate--less democratic, put to the public approval less frequently--is probably comprised the same way in spite of being narrowly controlled by a political party that is at least responsive in principle to the idea of gun control, but not the least bit in practice. Speaking of which, although the President (a position that's ironically atop the second least democratic branch of government) is also a (big-D) Democrat, he ain't gonna touch the issue more than the occasional vaguely supportive noise--he knows as well as anyone that his reelection spurred mobs of ignoramuses and morons who have no idea how treaty ratification and the Constitution actually work to purchase shittons of ammunition to horde away based upon a rumor that he'd somehow use a United Nations resolution to steal everybody's guns in the night.
And then there's the Supreme Court. I read and write English--I'd like to think reasonably well--and I studied History (majored in it, matter-of-fact), and I'm pretty goddamned satisfied that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects state militias and doesn't bar reasonable regulations of firearm ownership and usage, including the ones that were part of various state laws at the time the Second Amendment was ratified. But the United States Supreme Court has said that the plain language there doesn't mean what the plain language might cause you to think it meant, nor what the historical context might cause you to think it meant, nor what a reasonable application of custom and technological context to the archaic text might cause you to think it ought to mean. And I also studied law and know that what the Supreme Court says the Constitution means is what it really means, regardless of what you think it means. And the Supreme Court says the Constitution protects an individual, uninhibited right to own a firearm. So I guess it does.
So this is the majority. And here's what the majority has conclusively said with their votes, their money, their lobbying, their silence and fear in the face of opposition when they're actually in the proper position to do something other than fulminate impotently: they've said it's okay if a bunch of innocent people die, because that's the fair market price of a right to bear arms. Just like the price of the freedom of speech is that you sometimes have to put up with assholes, or the price of the right to be secure from searches of your home might be that someone literally gets away with murder. Nothing's free, and the dead are what Messrs. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young might have called "the price of freedom buried in the ground".
In the past three years we've had a crazy Army psychiatrist walking around a military base shooting people. We've had a crazy community college dropout walking around a U.S. Congresswoman's civic meet-and-greet shooting people. We've had a crazy Ph.D. candidate dropout walking around a movie theatre shooting people. We've had a probably crazy ex-caterer walking around an immigration aid center shooting people (I missed this one when it happened: if you did, too, here). And I'm probably forgetting one or several. And after every one of these, the usual suspects make the usual noises, and I have no reason whatsoever to think that someone (who we'll no doubt find out was crazy in the upcoming days, as if his actions don't speak for themselves) walking around shooting little kids at an elementary school is going to lead to a qualitatively different conversation, or notably different results. I'd love to be wrong, but if you want to bet, who's going to take the side of thinking this makes an airplane vomit bag's worth of difference this time?
There's nothing to talk about. The conversation's done. You can shut up now.
What I have realized is that I just don't care what my fellow liberals have to say about the subject at all. I've heard it already. I don't care what I have to say about it--I've already heard that, too. We can all just shut up now.
But there is this--not a dialogue, but a monologue. What I do want.
I want to hear from the other side. I want to hear someone--preferably a card-carrying member of the National Rifle Association--tell me, preferably to my face, not that they want dead children (because that would be a bit much and we all know that isn't true), but they're okay with them. That they understand that's the price of their convenient access to easy, deregulated weaponry and they're willing to keep paying it. Keep in mind: I already know this to be true, I just want to fucking hear them telling me the fucking truth for a change. I want to hear the words slip softly over their lips that they know what they're paying and they're settled with that, their souls rest easy in the hollow basins in their skulls. That they sleep at night with this because they can.
And if I'm wrong, if that isn't the truth of where we stand, I'd like to hear what they're willing to give up in trade for those dead kids, for those dead moviegoers, for dead Federal judges and dead community volunteers and dead soldiers. What liberties--or mere conveniences, even--they're willing to part with, to sacrifice to the better good. I've advocated and solicited and proposed, and I am done. And I've heard all sorts of suggestions and statutes from my fellow travelers, and I'm done with their bad ideas and brilliant inspirations alike. I want to hear from the gunners.
I want to hear what you're going to do about your little lobbying group that has the legislators of America tied up like Christmas lights in the bottom of a box, what you're willing to go through to keep America's best and brightest paranoid schizophrenics from picking up a perfectly legal gun and hunting down the innocents. Or I want you to tell me the tree of liberty is watered with the blood of kindergartners.
The rest of you can keep your goddamned mouths closed. If I wanted our opinion, I'd ask for it. Nobody cares what we think.