The guns of December

>> Friday, December 14, 2012

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.


Zoiago Saturday, December 15, 2012 at 12:29:00 AM EST  

I've read your blog forward & back since I found you on Stonekettle Station (don't tell Jim--you're my favorite). And I don't know why I'm posting now except to say thank you for this post. You've captured so well my own despair. This is what we've allowed, this is what we own.

Zoiago Saturday, December 15, 2012 at 12:30:00 AM EST  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julia Lawrence Saturday, December 15, 2012 at 1:14:00 AM EST  

ISO Dave, when will you do your duty and stand for congress?


David Nelson Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 1:09:00 AM EST  

Eric, I'm from Danbury, next town over from Newtown. My dear friend Sherri was not at work that day; She's a 4th grade teacher at Sandy Hook.

This just makes me sick, and am all for open discussion on making certain firearms less accessible. I am a conservative, but NOT an NRA member; in fact, I've never fired a gun, nor do I have an interest to. There is no need for anyone to own an AR-15 or AK-47 for "sport". It's not a hunting weapon, unless you're the kind of asshole that intends on shooting innocent children (and adults).

The question is: What about the millions and millions of these weapons already out there? How does a government go about getting semi-automatic weapons off the street, and how does it prevent a new crime epidemic of illegal weapons?

I have no answers. I'm just sick. They are all tragic, but this one is just so close to home.

David Nelson Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 1:09:00 AM EST  

For those who don't know "David Nelson" is "Leanright"

Eric Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 9:27:00 AM EST  

I'm glad Sherri is okay, Dave.

Obviously, I wish I had answers myself. But I think as a practical matter gun control is basically a dead issue unless the gun rights crowd is willing to step forward and acknowledge there's a problem and maybe their rights shouldn't be so absolute as they've argued. And any improvement being better than the status quo, I'm willing to sign on to just about any suggestion they might be willing to back.

I'm even willing to discuss other issues at the same time. The other day, an obviously emotional Joe Scarborough cited his own NRA approval ratings and prior post-Ruby Ridge attitudes towards gun control before saying things had changed, he's rethought his position, something has to be done. He included the entertainment industry in his comments, though, which I think is barking up the wrong tree--however, if someone like Scarborough wants to talk about gun control and violence in the media, I'm willing to talk about violence in the media and gun control, if you see what I'm saying.

But I think the other side of the issue has to take the first steps. The rest of us knew there was a problem ten, twenty, thirty, forty years ago. We didn't need Newtown as a wakeup call after Aurora, after the Giffords shooting, after Virginia Tech, after Columbine, after....

beatrice in Paris Friday, December 21, 2012 at 1:29:00 PM EST  

Bravo, Eric. As far as I am concerned, members of the NRA have blood on their hands.

Terri Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 5:59:00 PM EST  

As you've seen since, the current leadership of the NRA seems pretty much ok with this kind of thing. They tried to make it sound like they were horrified, but when they stated that "moar gunz" are the solution, they pretty much removed any question about where they stand, imnsho. This is now about how they can sell more guns and not about how they can save lives. Oh ... and their souls do not rest anywhere - they sold them long ago.

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