Stars and stripes on gun

Shoot Shoot Bang Bang!

Well, here we are again. 

In the past 45 days we’ve had the Las Vegas Massacre, the worst American terrorist attack since 9/11 and the recent horrific mass shooting in Texas.

That’s an awful lot of sadness. 

And yet…and yet, the only thing President Trump (said together, these are two words that still make me puke a little in my mouth) has done is order Homeland Security to increase its extreme vetting program.

And yesterday, his administration ended its Temporary Protected Status for Nicaragua, meaning the 2,500 Nicaraguans here have 14 months to leave the country (decisions on Honduras and Haiti are forthcoming).

One could argue this is a punitive measure for Honduran President Daniel Ortega announcing he will sign the Paris climate accord, “…leaving Donald Trump and Syria’s Bashar Assad heads of the only two countries not taking part in the global accord.”(how’s that for good company to keep?…UPDATE: Syria joined, now the US stands alone)

So, what is the take away here? DACA, bolstering “extreme vetting” and the recent move of kicking out Nicaraguans (and probably Hondurans and Haitians too), if your skin is brown, you’re fucked.

But Trump, let alone his administration, is not racist. 

And yet oddly, no one wants to talk about the herd of pink elephants in the room, gun control. 

Now there are conspiracy theorists who argue the Las Vegas shooter was not alone (albeit the most vocal of this theory is InfoWars blowhard Alex Jones). And now it is being bandied about that Sunday’s shooter was mentally ill.

OK, the Las Vegas shooter DID have a terrifically obscene amount of guns (47 total and 23 in his hotel room) and it DOES beg the question how one man would’ve gotten 23 guns into a hotel room BUT there is absolutely no reasonable (again, REASONABLE) indication that there was someone else there. 

OK, the Air Force forgot to enter the San Antonio shooters domestic assault charge into the National Criminal Information Center which may have prevented him from purchasing a firearm (at least one in a shop…there is still the pesky loophole around gun shows). THAT was a big fuck up BUT still doesn’t mean it would have stopped him.

It would also seem this guy was an atheist, which has sent social media in a tail spin with former classmates and friends calling him “crazy”, “a loner” and “an outcast” (to my knowledge none of these people are clinicians with the ability to diagnosis mental illness…neither is President Trump who referred to the shooting as a “mental health” issue). 

But to be clear, an atheist is not crazy and having no belief in a God does not a mass murderer make. 

You might think that these horrific gun centric mass murders in such a short time frame might be enough for law makers to say “maybe we should talk about gun control”.

You would be wrong. 

To believe some of the pundits, guns aren’t the problem. It’s terrorism and mental illness. And to this the rational mind must call bullshit.

Guns are the problem. Plain and simple. “A 2015 study estimated that only 4 percent of American gun deaths could be attributed to mental health issues.”

But to be clear, terrorism is a concern and one we must remain vigilant about…but maybe not by building ridiculous walls, blocking those in the pursuit of freedom or kicking people out because of beliefs, skin color or grudges. 

Just sayin…

Now, even if you are an ardent supporter of the Second Amendment (personally, I am for it) is it wrong to examine the impact of guns and maybe have a discussion about gun control among lawmakers? Well, it is not necessarily wrong, but thanks to the lobbying of the National Rifle Association (to the tune of 4.1 million dollars in 2017) and because of the Dickey Amendment (yea, you read that correctly) it is almost surely never to take place. 

What the fuck is the Dickey Amendment? Well, it’s “…a provision first inserted as a rider into the 1996 federal government omnibus spending bill which mandated that ‘none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may be used to advocate or promote gun control.'” YIKES!

In short, the governmental agency that would study the effects of gun violence as an illness (the CDC) has their hands tied because there can be no mistake that any study of gun violence would surely result in the promotion of gun control; the two are inextricably linked. 

While the government is not the only funding source of gun research, it can be (and has been) done both privately and in an academic environments. But, as the shootings continue to show, those studies have had virtually no impact.

And of course there is the aspect that any governmental research could potentially have little to no effect on policy, but isn’t it at least worth talking about…maybe examining? “We dedicate $240 million a year on traffic safety research, more than $233 million a year on food safety and $331 million a year on the effects of tobacco, but almost nothing on firearms that kill 33,000 Americans annually.”

$331 Million a year? On the effects of tobacco? Does anyone today, including smokers, truly not realize that tobacco is bad for us?

With the senseless slaughter of 20 children, you’d have thought that the Sandy Hook massacre would be enough to open a discussion about guns. Maybe you’d think that the 50 who died in the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando would be enough. Maybe you’d think that those, or any of the other mass murders that have occurred once every 64 days since 2011would be enough to warrant a discussion about gun control here in the United States.

You’d be wrong. 

I get it, we have to stick our head in the sand for the next couple of years as we stomach through this moronic, narcissist and racist president. But how much longer can we stick our head in the sand about gun violence? I get it, America is a world leader, but do we need to lead the world in gun culture? 

  • Americans own more guns per capital than residents of any other country. (in the USA, 89 residents out of 100 own guns…and in second place? Yemen with 55 residents out of 100…YEMEN!).
  • The US makes up less than 5% of the world’s population but holds 31% of global mass shooters. 
  • Americans own nearly half (48%) of the estimated 650 million civilian owned guns worldwide.
  • The US has one of the highest rates of death by firearm in the developed world, according to World Health Organization data.

It’s sickening that this is where we’ve landed as a society. The government has all but sanctioned racism and has been consistently driven into a deep paralysis when talk of a discussion about gun control is even whispered. A conversation about gun control does not mean the abolishment of the second amendment. That is pathetic and shameful NRA rhetoric that both citizens and lawmakers buy into. It’s time to step out of the outrageous stranglehold the NRA has on lawmakers and our culture. 

It’s time to call bullshit.

It’s time to have a talk about gun control, don’t you think?

Contact your lawmakers here or here.