Friday, December 13, 2013

137.6 - Anniversary of Newtown

Anniversary of Newtown

Just very quickly, a couple of anniversaries occurring around this time that I thought worthy of mention. Taking them in chronological order:

December 15, 1791, was the day that Virginia ratified the first ten amendments to the Constitution, making the Bill of Rights formally part of the document.

December 8, 1980, was the day John Lennon was shot and killed. It's a mark of his impact on the culture that people still remember the event as well as they do.

Finally, December 14, 2012, was the day Adam Lanza shot his way into the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and murdered 20 children and six adults before committing suicide.

I'm not going to go through the blood-stained halls of the school, running down a timeline of events, that has been done too many times to too little purpose. In fact, if you want to know to just how little purpose, know that there is an online computer game - or at least was, there is an effort to get it taken down - called "The Slaying of Sandy Hook Elementary" which allows you to re-enact Lanza's actions, starting with the murder of your mother in her sleep before you head for the school. At the end of the game - which at the school lasts the same length of time as Lanza's massacre - you are scored on how many people you managed to kill.

The author of the game, one Ryan Jake Lambourn, claims that it was intended to be "about [the] importance of gun control" but even assuming that is somehow true, this is such a sick way to do that, that it demonstrates just how sick our whole gun culture is.

And we are indeed sick with guns, obsessed with guns, drooling over guns, saturated with guns. We as a people, as a culture, are hooked on, addicted to, the feelings of power, of independence, of control that guns bring. Even those of us that don't own guns - and actually, that's the majority of us: In the last 30-plus years, the number of individuals who own guns has never exceeded about 30% and the number of households with guns has never exceeded 50% and both those figures have been on a gradual decline - but even those of us who don't own guns get sucked into the mythology of it all.

Still, something else I'm not going to do is go through the arguments over guns - I refuse to say "gun control" because the sort of tepid, quarter-measures usually described as such might snip away at the outer edges of our gun crime rate, dull some of the sharper edges of the violence, but ultimately would change little because, bluntly, while things like expanded background checks are good things in and of themselves, they do not address the real issue, which is our gun culture, our enthrallment to the fantasy of weaponry.

And what's more, guns are another area where you are always, invariably, inevitably, faced with the same old tired arguments, the same cliches, the same bumper sticker thinking. If you raise the mass murders like Newtown or Aurora or Columbine, they'll in one breath denounce you for "politicizing a tragedy - how daaaare you!" and in the next insist that if there were only more guns around, some brave soul would have taken out the shooter like some combination of John Wayne, Bruce Willis, and Spiderman. No matter how many studies you can cite connecting rates of gun ownership to rates of violent crime, they will scream "Second Amendment," often with an adjective like "sacred." No matter how much historical data or how many legal argument you can present to show that the Second Amendment was about maintaining a militia at a time when no one thought in terms of a standing army, they won't care, they'll just scream "Second Amendment!" even louder. When you cite legal precedent, they'll stop screaming long enough to say "The Supreme Court has spoken so shut up!" When you ask why if that's true they didn't shut up in the face of the previous decades of Supreme Court precedent, they'll just scream "Second Amendment!" again.

I have gone through the arguments, I have made the arguments, I have actually made some arguments at some length. Last January, in the wake of Newtown, I discussed guns, gun violence, gun laws, and so on over a period of eight weeks, including citing some of those studies about guns and crime and discussing how the 2008 Heller decision, the Supreme Court decision that for the first time found an individual right to own guns hidden in the Second Amendment, ignored both precedent and original intent while at the same time not going as far as the gun nuts think it did. I'm not going to go through all that again now. If you want, links to all eight pieces are below.

For the moment, I am just too tired to go through the arguments again, too worn out with anger at the spineless, crawling, not-even-worthy-of-being-called-wimps Democrats in Congress who are so preoccupied with keeping a tight grip on their sinecures that they can't see the blood on their hands.


The series on guns:

No comments:

// I Support The Occupy Movement : banner and script by @jeffcouturer / (v1.2) document.write('
I support the OCCUPY movement
');function occupySwap(whichState){if(whichState==1){document.getElementById('occupyimg').src=""}else{document.getElementById('occupyimg').src=""}} document.write('');