Gun ownership is a fetish; it is beyond rational thought; beyond logic. Weapons companies have got some of the most powerful lobbyists in the country in their pocket, including the commanders of the armed forces who manage budgets, the NRA, and almost every freedom-loving, constitutionalist in the middle and south of the country. Wanna talk gun control? Second Amendment, motherfucker. It’s sanctified like it was handed down from god or Ronald Reagan and enshrined in their pantheon, unassailable and perfect. What these fetishists fail to acknowledge is that this Constitution that they love so much has 27 Amendments and that, after the first 10 (the Bill of Rights), there were 17 more times in our history that America decided the Constitution was wrong. Three of them for the abolition of slavery and establishment of citizenship rights, one that gave women the right to vote, one to lower the voting age to 18, one to set term limits, etc. In other words, the Constitution is known to have been wrong or inadequate and has been corrected many times, and yet people wave it around, written in a little pocket book, and cry foul anytime the subject of limiting gun ownership comes up.
There are three ways to stop gun crime in this country, or at least bring it to a level more in line with almost every other developed country, and none of them will work.
The first way is to ban gun ownership, ban the sale and manufacture of personal weapons, and put personal weapons manufacturers out of business. But, even if you ever got those laws written and implemented, as of 2014 there were an estimated 310 million handguns, shotguns and rifles in private ownership in America. People will not give them up in a hurry, if ever at all. If it is to work, it must be a generational thing. Act now to ban them and it will take at least 50 years before you see any major impact on ownership, private sales, better background checks, etc. But is this the answer? People will still want their guns. Criminals will want guns, especially when no one else has them. Hunters want guns. People who live in the country who need to protect themselves from natural threats like bears and snakes and unionized wasps need them. Even if we eliminate gun ownership rights, people will still have guns and will still use them.
The second way is to have an event so terrifying, so horrific and tragic and scary, that there will be a sea change in American’s feelings about gun ownership rights. A handful of kids shot dead by a psycho in a playground won’t do it. A congresswoman shot in the head at an election event won’t do it. Reporters gunned down on television won’t do it. We’ve seen that already and we’ve sighed and shrugged and collectively said, “Well, what can you do, eh?” No, if Americans are ever going to be shocked into accepting any form of gun control Draconian enough to force their elimination, force the hunters to take up catapults and pea-shooters, force the “sportsman” into shooting with a camera instead, then the deciding event will have to be so catastrophic, so unfathomably shocking, that it beggars belief and creates an unstoppable backlash. We would have to have a tsunami of thousands of deaths, children, grandmothers, mothers, politicians, priests, civic leaders, sports teams, actors, music stars, in a compressed amount of time. It would take a year or two of indiscriminate, mass murder by a phalanx of un-related shooters or a well-armed militia, an American ISIS-like force, to ever provoke that level of sustaining, voluntary reform.
Or, maybe guns are not the problem. Maybe the problem is that we have a society whereby people feel like they need, want or deserve the right to own and use a gun.
Maybe we could forget about the guns for now and just be kind to each other. We could introduce social safety nets. We could promote unity by not letting mentally ill people die of starvation in American jail cells. We could create a society where you don’t lose everything you ever worked for because you got sick, where you couldn’t be fired at the end of the day without recourse. Where, if you work for a week, you earn at least enough to live for a week. Where unemployment benefit didn’t run out after 6 months and dump you and your family on the streets. We could create a society that took care of its ill, its elderly, its poor, its needy. We could decide that America is a place where people can learn and grow without running up a lifetime of debt. Where no one sleeps without a roof over his head unless he chooses to do so. We could raise the level of debate so that Trump and Clinton and Palin and Bush and any other double-speaking, problem avoiding, question swerving politician would never get out of the gate on an election campaign. Where all elections are centrally funded so that special interests are not picking the prettiest, most pliable candidate. Where Google and Halliburton and Boeing and Lockheed Martin have less rights than you, your neighbor, and the people that live in your street. We could prosecute the bad cops and elevate the good ones. We could create a society where death by cop isn’t preferable to life by any other means. We could create a society that doesn’t cause mental illness, that doesn’t cause despair, doesn’t generate anger, that doesn’t make us lose hope. And then, maybe, just maybe, the guns won’t matter. We’ll have a society where there are so many answers before people run out of options. But we can’t do that either, because we can’t afford it. We shouldn’t pay for it. We don’t need it. That is Socialism. Communism. It will cost too much money. It will remove the biblical freedom to fail. It will quench the fire under our asses that keeps us jumping higher. Keeps us excelling. We need competition. We need Capitalism. Coercion. Constitutionalism. It’s un-doable. Unthinkable. Un-American.