We can not have a reasonable discussion about guns until:
1) we stop saying guns don’t kill people.
– This is literally what guns are for. Even hunting is killing. It may be quite reasonable killing, and a good use, but it is killing. Guns are for killing.
2) we stop using the fallacious argument that owning a gun will somehow stop the tyranny of the government.
– Even local police stations have tanks and riot gear for all at this point. Unmanned drones can kill from the sky. The people in Waco and Ruby Ridge had entire stockpiles of guns. These guns did not save them even a little bit.
3) we collectively let the NRA dictate even researching gun violence.
– There isn’t even a national standard for collecting the data on gun deaths.
4) we can embrace the fact that more things contribute to gun violence than simply owning guns.
– Things like the poverty gap, the drug war, institutionalized racism, a culture that fetishes violence (if you think I’m talking about rap music, step back, I’m talking about our entire culture), etc., all may contribute to rates of gun violence. We know there’s correlation, but is there causation? Hard to know. See point 3 again.
5) we stop putting the buck on “the mentally ill.”
– Mentally ill people are far more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators. Putting this all on the mentally ill is just another way to say it’s not really “your” problem. In the wake of Sandy Hook, it was literally suggested that we make a national registry of the mentally ill. Not a national registry of gun owners. A national registry of the mentally ill. No. There’s a reason that HIPPA exists.
6) we come to grips with the fact that white dudes who attack people in the name of “freedom,” “anti-feminism,” “white supremacy,” or whatever are actually terrorists.
– Terrorism is not just brown dudes screaming, “Allah ackbar!”* These are forms of fundamentalism. Each one. This dovetails into point 5. We write it off and say the shooter was mentally ill. No. What they were is hysterical. Hysterically driven into a fervor by a culture that promotes fundamentalism. Of all sorts. We say we’re going to “take America back!,” or that “it’s a war on white Christians!,” or “a war on men!” These types of wording are meant to make you feel immediate fear and danger. For goodness sake, the entirety of the Texas government thought that the Obama administration was literally going to attack US citizens in Texas and ship them off to concentration camps. For real. Is it shocking that some people feel like they are in life and death situations? They aren’t “crazy” for feeling this way. Turn into Fox News any night and you will be told that people are coming for you and your way of life.
7) we understand that atrocities happen all over the world at all times, and we figure out how to lessen the reach, and perhaps frequency of these atrocities.
– Rwanda, Syria, Nazi Germany, Cambodia, Armenia, Bosnia, Darfur, the indigenous people of North and South America: all of these were genocidal atrocities. They show how atrocities are not simply carried out by the mentally ill. Whole people get caught up in them. Shootings at schools, theaters, malls, churches, etc.? These are all much smaller scale, but if you look at the media that the shooters left behind, you see that nearly always they hoped to ignite just such a genocidal war. Do guns contribute to the reach? How so? Does it contribute to the frequency? The fatalities? Oh hey point number 3.
8) we stop saying that it’s too soon to talk about this after each and every one.
– Can we talk about it now? No. Too soon. It just happened. How about next month? No, a new one just happened. The month after that? No. Again and again we defer the argument for “later.” Later never happens. “Later” is simply “now” tomorrow. If “now” is always too soon, then we will never move anywhere.
*note – Let’s really also confront the fact that a truly small percentage of Muslims are fundamentalist, and an even smaller subset are terrorists aimed at destroying the US.