Shooting feels. Mute now.
I think I’ve had enough of “Enough is enough!” rhetoric. It’s pretty obvious that’s it’s not enough. If Columbine wasn’t enough, what will be? If Sandy Hook wasn’t enough, what will be? It’ll never be enough.
The last few (!) times we had mass shootings, my gut reaction was disgust. Disgust that shooting sprees are the acceptable cost of coddling adolescent fantasies of fighting back against The Man. Second Amendment says we have this right, our own government bodies have told us repeatedly that 2A is all about fighting back against The Man (haha stfu constitutional scholars, discussion is over), so yeah, so sad about the shootings. Cost of doing business.
But now I think I was wrong. Or maybe not wrong but I hadn’t quite reached the logical conclusion, the end game.
I got thinking about this after San Bernardino (hah, it’s already in my rear-view mirror). I’ve given money to Giffords’ “Responsible Solutions” group so of course I got the email today with her spokesbirds squawking ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Just like the last 10 shootings. And it’s that very repetition that’s got me thinking the endgame wasn’t to actually shoot up government facilities in some massive showdown between rogue military commanders and brave, idealistic civilians.
Now I think the endgame was to prove, once and for all, that we’re unwilling to even attempt to address this. “We” as in our democratic republic. And if we’re unwilling to even attempt to address a life-or-death problem, how can we expect our democratic republic to address education or infrastructure or marketplace fairness or healthcare or anything else? The folks who fight tooth and nail against any infringement on one’s ability to acquire killing facilitation tools to overthrow the gub’mint don’t even have to overthrow the gub’mint: they’ve already proven the gub’mint is incapable of meaningful action. They howl that the gub’mint is useless and get elected so they can prove it. And here we are. The prophecy has fulfilled itself.
If the first dozen, say, mass shootings this year weren’t enough, if the first hundred in the past decade weren’t enough, why on earth would shooting #355 of the year be enough? Why is this the magical turning point? It worked. I’m now jaded and cynical and too tired to keep giving money and passion. It worked. I just look at San Bernardino and shrug. It worked.
If you think mass gun violence is literally unsolveable: fuck you. The rest of the industrialized world disagrees. We have many, many proven models to look at that say otherwise. It can be done. It has been done. Declining to even try is morally bankrupt.
If you think there’s something so special and amazing about America that we need not, must not, look elsewhere: fuck you. Show me a metric, any metric, that says we’re #1 in any meaningful way. Food security, longevity, happiness, fulfillment, entrepreneurship, economic mobility, I mean take your pick. We have the world’s most powerful army and I’m not persuaded it’s getting us much. It might be, at best, a zero-sum game.
Today’s play will be to shirk responsibility for addressing gun violence by pointing at the shooters: Muslims. Oh hey it’s a radical Islam problem, it’s not a gun problem. The Planned Parenthood shooter, well, he was a weirdo but his ex-wife says he was just misunderstood. The Denver shooter colored his hair like he was a supervillain, what a loon! The dickweed who popped Giffords and her posse, well, blame his teachers and therapists for that one, they thought something weird was going on and didn’t say enough.
Blame the victims. Blame mental health. Blame foreigners. Blame anything other than the extraordinary — and it is not ordinary — ease with which shooters can load up with equipment designed only to kill as quickly and efficiently as possible. Oh you want a gun with an extended clip because you don’t feel safe? Could it be because there are so many fucking guns floating around?
Gun violence is an addressable problem. It can be and has been addressed in many places. And enough isn’t enough. It’ll never be enough. I’m not persuaded that 10 more shootings this year — and we’re on pace for about that — or 500 shootings next year will make a bit of difference. If 289 people a day getting shot isn’t enough, what will be? We’ve thrown up our hands in defeat, and they’ve won the endgame.
Comments closed. I don’t feel like dealing with rando asshole gun-rights partisans rationalizing why San Bernardino is sad but acceptable, why it’s all Obama’s fault, why there’s always going to be evil in the world so why even bother fighting back?