I’m not sure if there’s much more left to to say in the wake of the Sandy Hook killings in Connecticut that hasn’t already been shot to death before — except that it was excellent how, together, teachers and students faced down death that day — while our politicians will never be similarly brave because they are more terrified of the long and ugly shadow of the NRA than they are of dead children.
America is in love with the gun and I am convinced we’re on a path where everyone without a gun will one day be killed by those with guns; and then the gun lovers will turn on each other and start shooting until nobody is left to kill. The few remaining at the end will learn that the power of survival is actually not in shooting a gun, but in avoiding a gun shooting at you, and it will be more prudent for them to hide from those trying to kill them instead of them testing their headshot skill with a bigger gun and a more penetrating bullet.
One of the earliest lessons I learned on the elementary playground was this: “There’s always someone out there who doesn’t mind being uglier than they already are.” The warning in that teaching is that brute force rarely wins a fight and never wins the long day. The gun lovers are in a for a similar reckoning, unfortunately, the rest of us will be dead, and filled with lead, when that day arrives.
In the 14-blog strong Boles Blogs Network, I have often written over the years about murder and guns — Urban Semiotic presently has 23 published articles with both “murder” and “gun” as keywords, and that fact in itself is depressing enough to wonder at what gets virtually preserved, against what is never protected in real life.
If you’ve ever moderated a conversation about guns, as I have online and in person, you are quickly chastened to the existence of two, indisputable facts:
1. People with Guns are Angry
2. People with Guns are Scared
The first fact usually, almost always, ends in a death threat with a promise of being shot by a gun to prove a final point. The threat of a bullet is the ultimate period, and argument winner, in all cases. It’s always sad and depressing that any conversation about guns in America ends in anger and never in a shared understanding that we have a problem that needs to be fixed.
The second fact is also proven that people own guns because they are scared and frightened of the world. You’ll hear codewords that they want to “protect their family” and it’s their “right” to have a gun — any gun, not just a simple six-shooter — but underneath all the bluster is a group of people who are terrified of their neighbors and fearful of strangers and immovable against political change, and they would prefer to shoot a gun into the blind night than have a quiet conversation during the day.
I don’t know how to make gun owners less angry, and if we want to have a conversation, we need to help everyone stay calm and focused.
For those who are scared — we need to help them find a way to enjoy their lives and not worry about protecting possessions. If they are afraid of someone having a bigger gun that can be used to harm their life or family, why not try letting nobody have a gun, instead of arguing we should all be armed?
I am enough of a realist to understand that, in a month, after the bodies of the Sandy Hook children are cold in their graves, there will be even more guns in America than ever — because America loves guns and Americans admire being defined by death and mayhem. It’s in our blood and it is born into our entertainment. We have no escape from the end of a barrel.