The Week in Guns
We are all screwed.
That's the synopsis of this article in case you don't want to read it any further. I've read about 2 dozen articles since the Vegas shooting. Again Reason comes closest to hitting the mark for rational thinking Americans.
The article under the Reason icon is called: If You Think Trump is a Fascist, You Should Oppose Gun Control. The gist is, if you really think Donald Trump is a fascist, and you're not using hyperbole, gun control should be the last thing on your mind. Robby Soave lists sound thinking liberal writers who have these seemingly contradictory thoughts on gun control.
And that's how I feel. I don't like guns and I wish there were fewer guns in the United States. But I, with 100% conviction, know that as soon as Americans strip away the powers of the 2nd Amendment, the 1st Amendment is the next to go. Once the 1st and 2nd Amendment are gone, within 5 years we are all speaking Chinese.
I have that little faith in humanity. During Beacon of Speech #67, Ted and I talked about the importance of the 2nd Amendment and of limited government. Then the Vegas shooting comes and my personal feeling of distaste for guns seeps back in....
Guns, guns, everywhere. A shooting happens and everyone takes to the airwaves to re-iterate their opinions. People who change their opinions to the media's side get extra exposure, like Country Music Artists who now think guns are bad. (What would Johnny Cash say?)
For those Americans that demand limited government, yet are outraged by multiple gun massacres, what mechanisms do you think keep the U.S. government from Chinese levels of control? I don't remember which article I saw it in, but guns put teeth into the Constitution.
Yet all these gun massacres are a symptom of a society in deterioration. Platitudes and cliches can't erase the fact that there's statistically a gun for every citizen of America. If anything, I'm surprised there aren't MORE shootings in the United States now.
The battle lines are drawn and everyone has made their point. Where do we go from here? There are no easy solutions. Take away guns, lose freedom. More guns, more shootings. And, what we haven't even touched on, is the internet. Let's say the liberals are right and no more guns are the solution. In about 30 seconds, millions of Americans are making their way to Home Depot and Lowe's and they're making their own guns. My friend Cliff and I made a potato gun for a science experiment for his kid. Took an afternoon, made our way to the home improvement store, and viola, we're shooting potatoes across the field within hours. I didn't act upon it, but I read how to make a Molotov Cocktail when I was a teenager and was confident that I could pull off the recipe. For Americans with even rudimentary gunsmith skills, all the ingredients are readily available for home use in case of mass-bannings.
My parents don't like me talking about it, but one of their neighbors blew his hand off making bombs in his basement. Everyone knows a "guy" who likes guns or explosives way too much. But where are the adult solutions? When Bill O'Reilly says that mass gun shootings are the "Price of Freedom," I tend to agree with his sentiment in my head, but I am disgusted with his sentiment in my gut. What the hell chance do we have of solving problems when they are more complex than 30 second soundbites and require legitimate debate and hard compromises?
As I scroll through my Facebook feed, days later, seemingly every other post is everyone interjecting their viewpoint that they already had. The Twitter post above went viral and is one of the most maddening. THE WHOLE CONSTITUTION was written 226 years ago. You could use the same argument for free speech. "The 1st Amendment was written 226 years ago. The founding fathers didn't even know about the internet." Or "the 10th Amendment was written 226 years ago. The founding fathers couldn't have imagined governing 50 States and dozens of territories." I'm pretty sure Mikel Jollett is a douchebag.
And then there's this. You know that as soon as the bullets stop firing, conspiracy theorists come crawling out of the woodwork. Tyler Durden himself weighed in on the latest tragedy with 16 Unanswered Questions About the Las Vegas Shooter. #8 on the list bothers me the most. Because it was the first thing I had thought of when details of the shooting came out. Why did it take law enforcement authorities 72 minutes to get into Stephen Paddock’s hotel room?
Now let's just walk through this one issue. Imagine that I, Fred Hunt, am staying at the Mandalay Bay, having a wild party. At some point things go sideways and me and my buddies bust out not 1, but 2 windows. Not crack the windows, break them out. Mandalay Bay security is in my room within 1 minute and the LVPD is breaking batons over my head within 5 minutes. And, on top of that, there's cameras everywhere in these Vegas casinos. I find it hard to believe that the Mandalay Bay doesn't have HOURS of video footage of the shooter in their archives. And...as I type the words above, this article from The Daily Beast popped up explaining at least some of the timeline at the Mandalay Bay.
And once questions start getting answered, some people blame the gun, some blame the person, some people blame society. But you can't go back in time and unkill those people or travel back in time and change the laws of the land.
I dislike lawyers but every time I bash on lawyers some smart aleck reminds me that "everyone hates a lawyer, that is until you need one." Well, you could replace the word lawyer with the word gun and it applies.
Wimpy liberal: "No it wouldn't. Lawyers never killed anyone."
Really? Nothing a lawyer has ever done has resulted in multiple deaths? (Off the top of my head, maybe RJ Reynolds Corporate Lawyers?)
And with that, maybe the best gun story I ever heard was from the (I think) Amherst, Ohio police department. The officer, whose name I forgot, sorry, told the story of why we don't have guns in schools to prevent school shootings. Again, I am paraphrasing, because we were at a workplace seminar, but the officer said, very succinctly, "I respect guns. I was in the Armed Services and learned how to use a weapon and the responsibility that comes with that weapon. I work for the Police Department and we have continuing training programs on when to use a weapon and the responsibility that comes with that weapon. We briefly discussed, as a department, about allowing a few, responsible, tenured teachers who had gun permits to carry weapons in the school. When we approached those teachers, none of them had the comfort level to do so in an educational environment. As word leaked that we were even in discussion of allowing a very few guns in schools, people associated with the district let it be known that they were interested if implemented. Upon researching, the volunteers were the very people you WOULDN'T want to have guns in schools, and the preliminary discussions quickly ended, long before any type of rollout occurred."
Which sums up the argument on a nationwide scale. You never hear about the 99% of responsible gun owners. But what do you do about the >1% of the sociopaths and knuckleheads? Really.
What do you do?
In the ultimate irony of the week, you may have missed it, but Marilyn Manson was injured by 2 of the largest guns you've ever seen. They weren't even loaded.
And thanks to Punk Rock Libertarians for this...
For those who think my whole premise that no guns = getting overrun by a foreign power is bogus. I have a rebuttal. Go ahead and open a history book. Any history book. What happens when an unarmed rich nation is outnumbered by armed poorer nations?