Monday, June 13, 2016

After Orlando

The rational, measured, intelligent response that Obama gave to that gun guy at that town hall a couple weeks ago has been making the rounds an extra special lot in the last 48 hours.  Understandably.

Last night it came to me that there most certainly ARE some people who want to do away with all personal possesion of guns, or at least handguns & assault weapons: either repeal the 2nd Amendment or drive through the courts an interpretation that limits the right to bear arms to that well-regulated militia it mentions.  I don't happen to agree with them most of the time, although days like this make me step back and give them a little extra time to make their case, but these folks do exist, so we don't need to pretend that they don't.  Some of them are friends, and some of them are really smart.  

As far as I can tell, the "get rid of all guns" crowd is a pretty fringe-y minority, numbers-wise.  Important to be there though as a rhetorical balance to the other side of the scale, which is the "let anybody who wants one get as many guns, as powerful as they can carry, whenever they want to" crew.  I do not tend to lend them a friendly ear, nor do I generally have a great deal of respect for the "intelligence" at work in their reasoning.  ["More, and more deadly, guns in nightclubs will make things safer!" Right. Next.]  

Here again, I don't think we're talking about too many people in the "AR-15s for Everyone!" camp, although this wing of the argument is vastly more funded, and many many times more influential in terms of lawmakers and policy.  And here is where the anger gets hard to control.  Because it has been well demonstrated that a vast majority of the U.S. citizenry, including citizen gun-owners, wants some restraints placed on our current, nearly unfettered access to guns designed for the purpose of killing people. And yet the belief persists that limitations - which would strike most Americans as quite reasonable, not to say blindingly obvious - are actually intended to be the trickle that leads to the stream that leads to a gush to a flood of GUN GRABBING courtesy of the Feds.

Which it wouldn't be.  Did you notice we are talking about America?  How do you think that would play out?

But a trickle leading to a stream leading to a gush of being a lot more thoughtful about where and how and what kind of guns we want to have around might be a movement we could get behind.  Because as it is, we have a situation where - between this unprecedented civilian availability of assault weaponry with unprecedented speed, power, and capacity on the one side, and the literal militarization of local police forces on the other - we are in an arms race with ourselves.  And I for one am not the least bit interested in seeing how THAT would play out.

I could go on and on about the intolerance, the homophobia, the rush to link the murderer with a terrorist network that seems to have been barely aware of him, and by extension to a religion that would, and in fact already has, roundly condemn his actions, and much much more that is already being said out there. But one other thing I want to mention right now: please don't let the obsession with the perpetrator lead to ignoring the victims.  Let their names be known, let their stories be told, let their memories be honored. And while we're at that, please don't let the carnage at Pulse completely drown out the heartbreaking murder of Christina Grimmie, gunned down at the age of 22 by a fan while signing autographs and working the merch table after her own show the night before the Pulse massacre.  

Rough couple days for Orlando.

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