President Obama has had to give way too many speeches of condolence and consolation during his presidency after a mass shooting somewhere in this country. You can see it in his eyes and in his face that he hates doing it too.
Not that I expect the presidency to be all fun and games but this is one aspect of the past eight years that has been happening far too often, especially in comparison with just about any of his non-wartime predecessors.
I can see it now. The “I told you so” attitude of NRA president Wayne LaPierre, who famously said that only a good guy with guns can stop a bad guy with guns. After all, the Pulse nightclub in Orlando has/had a “no guns” policy which left the victims defenseless as the shooting took place. Right?
Wrong! A properly enforced “no guns” policy would’ve stopped the shooter before he even went in. Pretty much the moment LaPierre uttered that bit of lunacy, he immediately supplanted the argument that the founding fathers didn’t envision the kinds of weapons we have available to us today, as the most patently inane and ridiculous argument on either side of the gun debate.
I’m angry that I even have to be writing this.
The shooter was apparently a militant Muslim. Fine. I’d believe he was a member of any one of the more conservative branches of any of the three abrahamic religions since they all are quite capable of committing this gruesome act of terror. Especially when given access to the weapons used. Militant Islam is no different, in my mind, from militant Christianity (like the shooter in Colorado Springs who attacked a Planned Parenthood clinic) or from militant Judaism (like anyone who tries to demonize the Palestinians who want nothing more than to stop Israel from building settlements on the West Bank).
I’m angry that so much religion is used to foster hatred, distrust, and xenophobia.
I have a message for all gun owners. If you honestly think that the NRA represents your interests, you’ve been misled. The NRA represents gun manufacturers. If you care about responsible gun usage and ownership, you should recognize that the NRA is more interested in maximizing the profits of those who design and build your guns than anything you might do. It’s a nice but vicious circle: make you afraid that the government is “coming for your guns” and then scare up more sales. More sales means more people getting guns who shouldn’t have them. More people having guns who shouldn’t have them, means more mass shootings. More mass shootings means more opportunity to argue that the government wants to regulate your guns away. And all throughout, stymie any attempt to pass meaningful gun legislation.
I’m angry that one of the best potential starting points can’t work in the current environment.
On paper, we all should absolutely favor legislation that prevents anyone on the “no fly list” from buying a gun. After all, if we think a terrorist or extremist might want to hijack a plane, why should we let that same person buy a gun? Can’t you argue that all mass shootings are acts of terror? Of course, the reality is quite different because the “no fly list” itself is, at best, constitutionally questionable because it denies due process of law. There is no mechanism for appealing your presence on the list even if the only reason why you’re there is because you share a name with someone on the list.
I’m angry that I even have to be angry over this nonsense. The victims don’t need our anger. They need our compassion. They need our support. They need our love, more than ever.
Then again, that’s what we all need. And there’s far too little of it out there.