The First Step to Solving Our Gun Problem…

Once more, a crazy person shot up yet another school, this time in Oregon. I know, I’m supposed to call people like this “mentally ill,” but we have to get real here. First of all, he was apparently a right wingnut, and if we call him “mentally ill,” then we have to call pretty much all Republicans “mentally ill” these days, and something tells me they’d take offense. Just a guess.

Besides, as much as many liberals would love to get all touchy feely and blame the mental illness, mental illness is not the goddamn problem; it’s just not. How do I know this? I know this because I know and deal with mentally ill people at times, and most of them are incredibly sweet and confused and a few are suicidal, but none are homicidal. Isn’t it kind of insulting to claim that mental illness makes people into mass murderers? I mean, sure, it may be a component, but it can’t be the impetus for it.

No, once again, the issue is the fucking GUNS.

Yeah, I know, right wingers; the GUN didn’t pull the trigger and shoot those people. Still, it’s the guns. Just as I know mental illness doesn’t make someone plow through a crowd of people with a car, I know that, without a car, they couldn’t plow through anyone. And I know, if they had a knife, they might stab someone, but they can’t kill dozens from a distance with a knife, or a fork for that matter.

The problem is the guns, and our complete and utter lack of effort to keep them away from people who shouldn’t have one. After the Oregon shooter killed all those people, police came to find out he had THIRTEEN guns of various types, and that he purchased all of them LEGALLY. Why doesn’t that point to a problem for more people? It’s like the little asshole who shot up a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado a few years back; he had dozens of guns, a number of high-capacity clips and thousands of rounds of ammunition in his little apartment, all of which he bought LEGALLY on the Internet. Once again, that doesn’t seem to register with enough people; why should anyone be able to LEGALLY purchase an arsenal of weapons and that much ammunition, without any red flags being raised whatsoever?

A few years before the Colorado asshole shot up a movie theater, another little asshole shot a Congressperson and a dozen or so others with a gun and ammunition he LEGALLY purchased days before. This, despite the fact that Pima Community College deemed him too mentally unstable to attend classes there. Obviously, the screening process to attend college is stronger than that necessary to buy a goddamn gun. Again, why doesn’t this bother more people?

We have a serious problem in this country, and it’s not because of mental illness. That is a problem, but it’s a separate problem. It’s like all those people who want me to drop the phrase “gun control” and refer to “gun responsibility.” That’s ridiculous, because most gun owners are responsible; it’s just too easy for irresponsible people to own one or a few dozen, and to get more ammunition than an Army battalion, apparently.

So far this year, there have been 45 school shootings, and we’re not even 45 weeks into the year. Once a month, President Obama has to go in front of the cameras and express his sorrow for something that we, as a nation, don’t even attempt to prevent. What the hell is wrong with us? In all, there have been nearly 300 mass shootings (it was 297 as of yesterday, so I’m assuming it’ll top that this weekend) so far this year. My God, just a few Christmases ago, someone went into an elementary school and shot dozens of tiny children and some teachers (and frankly, ruined hundreds of other little lives; can you imagine seeing that at the age of six and not being affected?) And yet, bills were proposed and NOT ONE REPUBLICAN supported them, even though the laws would have been relatively mild and cost almost nothing.

That’s our problem, folks. I know, for some reason, many liberals like to blame “both parties” for the lack of gun laws, but that’s just a denial of reality. Sure, there may be a half dozen or so Democrats who feel like they can’t oppose the NRA, but that is not the same as 100% of the entire Republican Party being too afraid of the NRA to vote for a measure supported by 92% of the American people, which is how many supported universal background checks. And let’s be clear; in order to get to 92%, you have to have the support of a majority of gun owners.

The problem is not mental illness. You and I deal with mentally ill people all of the time, and we are generally not afraid of them; they’re not going to kill us. The problem is access to guns; it we wouldn’t let someone drive a car, we shouldn’t allow them to just walk into a shop and buy a gun, and we shouldn’t allow anyone to sell them a gun on Craigslist, the local newspaper or the bulletin board at the local laundromat without screening them.  Making it illegal to purchase a gun has no meaning if you don’t put systems in place to prevent them from buying one, and right now there is nothing in place

We need to do everything we can to keep guns out of the wrong hands, and we should be able to do a better job of keeping track of those who purchase way too many guns and certainly way too much ammunition. I mean, for Chrissakes; I have to show my driver’s license to buy allergy medicine, and they keep track of how much I buy, but they can’t tell when someone is buying thousands of rounds of ammunition and dozens of guns?

Not only do we have to etend the screening process to include all gun and ammunition purchases, we also have to make sure the screening is meaningful. Again, It doesn’t matter if you have laws saying that certain people can’t own a gun, and not provide law enforcement with the means to, you know, enforce the law. There is no way anyone should have more than a few guns or a few hundred rounds of ammunition, without at least making police in the area aware of it.

Ultimately, we need to develop a gun ownership system in which every gun is registered, every owner is licensed and that insurance is carried on every single one. We also need to limit numbers on guns and ammunition per person and limit available guns to those necessary for protection only.

It’s time we took this, and many other issues, more seriously, but that will not happen as long as the mentality of the current Republican Party has as much power as they do. Get rid of them and give Democrats a supermajority, and we can once again be a responsible country, with responsible laws. Until then, expect this shit to continue.

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One comment

  1. I totally agree Milt, and I’ve been saying as much on the interwebz. I personally blame rightwing media for creating the fear and hatred that leads to these kinds of mass shootings.Even more so than the easy availability to get one’s hand on a gun.

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