I’m sure this story isn’t foreign to anyone with a drivers’ license, so I will keep it short. I did a lot of driving over the last couple of weeks, Tucson to Vegas for family stuff, back to Phoenix, hither-and-fro between the three major metropolitan sandy cracks of civilization in the Southwest US. Without the wife and some podcasts, it would have been a dismal progression of cacti and ennui-inspired minivan suicides on the side of the Arrakeen road – – except that every half-hour or so, there was the guy we’re all familiar with: the not-daredevil. The guy in the ‘Stang that can do it fucking all on the road, so procedure and law don’t really apply to him. He’s a spectacular driver, and he proves it by weaving in and out of the normal progression of traffic, inches to spare between bumpers, blinkers be damned! He’ll be there first, whether it be the overcompensation convention or the spoiler show, because he can’t drive 85, which is the standard speed of the left lane on these highways.
“Look at the balls on that guy!” we’re meant to say. “Wish I had a mastery command of my old jalopy that he does of his over-priced futility machine!” And, maybe he is fucking Dale Earnhardt III, and no accident will ever be a direct result of him dicking something up. Maybe. But who cares? The conventions and laws aren’t there for just him to break, they’re for the people who don’t own a pair of driving gloves un-ironically. Directionals aren’t to let you know you’re changing lanes, and they aren’t there to alert shitheads to speed up to screw your intended change, they’re to let us know you intend to move your two-ton metal death box in front of them. Speed limits aren’t there to keep you from arriving responsibly early to your old frat’s annual circle jerk, they’re so we’re all operating under the same conditions. You have to assume at least one of us sharing the road with you is the absolute worst Asian-lady stereotype, and if you think that isn’t your responsibility, it’ll be a real consolation when they’re scraping you off the thousand-degree Sonoran pavement.
Myth: Responsible Gun Owners Shouldn’t Be Punished For Bad Actors
This is directly analogous to ammosexuals. I’m not saying there aren’t responsible gun owners; with the sheer number of guns owned in the US, we’d all be Swiss cheese if there weren’t genuinely responsible gun owners. I’m saying it’s irrelevant. The myth is that it matters if you consider yourself responsible, or that your personal judgment is a reliable gauge of responsibility. No matter how great you believe you are at keeping your guns under lock and key, no matter how much training you have, how well you’ve taught your kids to stay the hell away from the boom-sticks, you’ve still increased the chances of your gun being used to 2nd amendment somebody in the ass. 80% more likely to off yourself than someone else, so that’s a point in the ‘pros’ column.
How many of our mass shooters used weapons owned by people who, not days before the incident, have crowed to someone on the internet about “responsible gun owners”? Nancy Lanza bought all of the guns her son used at Newtown – – and since she didn’t suspect he was violent, and kept the guns ‘reasonably,’ everything should have been chill until it wasn’t. Amy Fisher had her gun purchased for her. Robert Hawkins – – we don’t even know where he got his gun, but it wasn’t a personal purchase, they think it was a ‘responsible’ family member. Sulejman Talovic saw four ‘responsible’ gun handlers indicted for supplying him with his arsenal, one of whom was drunk. Irresponsible, you say? By what metric? I’m positive not her personal metric.
Before he blew Gabby Gifford’s face off, Jared Loughner was held to the exact same standard as any “responsible” person buying a weapon at that Tucson dispensary. Dylann Roof had pending drug charges when he bought his weapon, entirely legal, just like you. Elliott Rodger was diagnosed bipolar or whatever when he bought 3 semis and 400 rounds at one time, you know, for hunting and protection. Andrew Engledinger looked totally responsible, was “obviously trained to use the guns,” until his boss fired him, and blam blam! Look, this is the club you’re in. In advocating for the rights of ‘responsible gun owners,’ you made it possible for anyone to get a weapon. You. Be actually responsible, not personally semi-responsible. Recognize that responsibility never stops at the tip of your nose, you are always part of a cultural sub-current. It’s the same reason you don’t get to claim you’re entirely wiped of responsibility because you’re white, but you didn’t own slaves. 150 years later, you still benefit from the institution. Take some responsibility for your gay little hobby, and present some meaningful solutions of your own, or rational heads will have to prevail. But don’t come to me about ‘responsible gun owners’ any more, my ears are petulantly plugged.
Horse-Pucky: You Can Kill With Any Tool, Why Single Out This One?
You have to be shitting me. A ‘heart problem’? Did Wayne LaPierre stick this up your ass personally, or did he send a certified courier? Got some charts, some statistics showing our ‘heart’ levels are significantly lower than our closest Western allies that don’t see a mass shooting a week? How do you measure heart, is it like in ounces, or pounds? Liquid like diarrhea, or dry like week-old booger?
I jest, but I agree that Americans in general are ignorant twat monkeys, and education is the only sure way to raise levels of empathy. The more you know, the more you feel for others. But I’m a proudly cynical bitch, you don’t want me making decisions, and empathy is about as measurable and reliable as ‘heart.’ That’s not a solution, that’s not a way to stop people from being mowed down in a movie theater. “Just up the heart, duh.” This is as much bullshit as the religion it rests on, and it amounts to the same dangerous thinking as the Jeremiah quote. Roughly translated from the original Hebrew, Jeremiah 17:9 says, “We’re all shitty cunts, nothing you can do about it.”
I guess that’s it then. We lack in heart, we can’t fix that, but we can let a certain few people profit off our mass murders, at least. What kind of monster would try to stop that? Really, though, I’m going to need some heart measurement guides here, because Australia and the UK passed decent gun laws, and their mass murders stopped. Australia is about to celebrate two straight decades without them. If the deficit in our heart compared with those countries (who are basically our cousins, there isn’t a wild difference here) is so substantial that laws solving their problems won’t at least help ours? Fucking nuke us now, we’re beyond redemption.
If we really are that different from Australia, as Australians have a valid point when saying so, then why is American exceptionalism letting us be the ones that get our asses blasted off for it? What happened to being the best?
And rocks (and forks and knives, screwdrivers and cars) can all be used to kill, but they also have other uses. Guns, especially assault weapons, are only for putting lethal holes in living things. That’s their purpose. If you can take out an entire community college with a rock, good, you’re doing evolution a favor, they weren’t going to contribute positively to gene pool anyway. We’re not talking about one fictional murder thousands of years ago, and shit, why not give it a try, anyway? If all we had to kill each other with were rocks, and this confounding meme were somehow correct and we killed each other just as much, I will concede. Let’s give’r the ole college try, then. Prove me wrong.
Bullshit: “If You Pass Stricter Gun Laws, Only Criminals Will Have Guns.”
Sometimes, it’s partly a matter of enforcing the laws we already have. Radcliffe Haughton had restraining orders against him, was sidestepping police for years, but got his guns from a website designed to circumvent the law. That shouldn’t be allowed, we should crack down on that noise, yes. But as comedian Jim Jeffereys points out, once stricter laws are in place, as happened in 1996 for now mass-murder-free Australia, the black market would have priced Haughton and his irresponsible website right the hell out. It puts the lie to the claim that, with stricter laws, only criminals will have guns. Only rich criminals, and they’re more businessmen than Joker fetishists. With literally every mass murder we’re discussing here, we’re talking about the people society marginalized and shit-failed. They’re at their wits’ end, they don’t have the wherewithal to find the black market, let alone scrabble together thirty grand for a weapon. If they could utilize the black market, they could utilize a therapist, and we wouldn’t be having this discussion.
And personal anecdotes don’t count for shit, anymore. “I’ve had guns since I was 15, I was trained by my family and the range, and my weapon has never been used to hurt anybody.” Good for you, trucker cap, but we’re still averaging a major mass shooting a week in the US. We can’t count on your reckoning of what proper training and etiquette is. More to the point, we can’t trust batshit crazy lunatics to let us know they’ve passed their own personal muster, because crazy people, by definition, are removed to some degree from any sense of reality. Excuse me if I don’t take your word for it while parents are sorting through the sieves that used to be people, looking for what hopefully remains of their kids. Fuck you for asking me to.
Nonsense: “It All Comes Down To Personal Responsibility.”
One of these things is not like the other. That one line above should read, “Don’t like guns? Don’t get shot by one.” Of course, that’s plain silly. Did the students at this last shooting get to declare their feelings about guns before they got aced? If they didn’t like guns, didn’t buy one, were they off the hook? “Oh, I didn’t realize you didn’t like guns, head on home, Chief.” This isn’t a thing like booze or pot or gay marriage where you’re only assuming negative consequences (real or imagined) on yourself, as a consenting adult. Kill a mall full of shoppers with pot, and I’ll… hold on, just imagining that as a way to go. Put me down for one of those when my check’s up. Spencer Gifts, if at all possible.
It isn’t really even a matter of personal responsibility of individuals any more, because we’ve hit epidemic level. If a disease killed this many people a year, we’d have the CDC on it. The obesity epidemic is another one like guns, in which personal responsibility is a cute idea, but 30% of the population can’t honestly be that lazy and unhealthy. 30% is black plague numbers. We can’t, as a country, be at such a deficit of heart and self control that we can’t help killing ourselves, when Canada’s managing it across an imaginary border line. There’s a systemic problem at work here, one that is perpetuated by real culprits, and maintained with agency for a purpose. Considering we just dragged Cecille Richards in front of a congressional committee for not doing anything wrong, don’t you think we can find someone to grill about actual dead kids? Follow the goddamned money, it is truly the platitude that rings most true after all these years. Whose greed killed those students and teachers, people looking to contribute to society on a higher level, and to better themselves?
In the meantime, no, your right to amass an armory isn’t at all equal to our right to life. I don’t care about your comfort, or your bullshit about self-protection, get a dog and a better lock. Since we’re talking about the fictional Cain and Abel, allow me my own comparison: Kevin McCallister defended his home with some MicroMachines, a little ice, and a couple of pendulums made out of paint cans and rope. He won and nobody had to die.
Oh, yeah, he had an airgun, didn’t he? Will that be sufficient, or do you need more stopping power than a 10 year-old? You can even have your own amendment: the right to bear BBs.