Here we are again. At this point, I’ve written enough about guns over the years that I added another category to my blog. If you wonder how I’ve built my opinions over time, have a look. It’s not as big as Dementia, but it does overlap. It overlaps because my father was a gun owner his whole life. Reflecting on it, he wasn’t a good one and when he developed dementia late in life, he was very dangerous. I’d like to thank people who’ve had respectful productive conversations about gun safety. It’s important and I very much support them.
I’m going to soften this a bit by asking people to talk with their kids and take a look at themselves. There are all kinds of positive hobbies and activities. They’re active, creative, build skills and talents, entertaining, instructive, and important to society in many cases. I don’t think weapons need to be one of these, because it’s increasingly leading to tragedy. We need change and change begins with individuals.
Another school or otherwise public shooting and another round of completely divided responses. We know the responses well by now and where they point to. One group points one way, the other group points a different way. We’re told the pro-gun group says there’s nothing we can do about it so we need more guns to protect us from the guns. There are other factors at play here, not guns themselves. Laws get ignored all the time. The group that wants more control says that’s a cop-out and that we need more legislation to move us in the right direction.
Note that I don’t say “right direction” because I feel moral superiority. The majority of Americans actually feel that there’s more we can do as a society. Here’s a poll from Fox News which points to it. While access to arms is granted in our Bill of Rights in the Constitution, it’s not an unlimited right. In the 2008 Heller ruling, the decidedly conservative Justice Scalia of the Supreme Court in 2008 said:
…nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms…
So gun control is not unlimited and an overwhelming majority of Americans want better control on it. 91% on universal checks and 84% on mental health checks in a Fox poll is overwhelming. The reason is simple, to keep “Bad Guys” from easy access to guns. Armed guards helped in Santa Fe this week, they didn’t in Parkland, and in between we had a Parkland teacher leave a loaded gun in a bathroom and it was fired by the guy who picked it up. Clearly not every solution is going to work. Criminals will be criminals. People will screw up. However, there are very few places in society where we’ve got a recognized problem and say “whatcha gonna do #shrug”, particularly when lives are taken as a result. Even the Santa Fe students talked about it being inevitable that they had a shooting. That’s a problem. Who wants our children growing up thinking like this? That’s why we finally had a strong response from the MSD Parkland students. Because it’s inevitable that society calls BS.
So here’s a couple flowcharts. Because I like making charts. Let’s assume that kids are exposed to roughly the same content across the country and in G7 nations. It’s a broad generalization, but when we point to violent movies or video games, news coverage, social media, and the like, everyone is exposed to much of it. Our takes certainly vary by where we consume it, but the broad categories are the same. Mostly. See if you can spot the difference I’m pointing out.
That’s right. If you’re not in a gun-owning home, you’re not regularly exposed to weapons and chances are that you’re not exposed to a lot of 2nd-Ammendment-as-patriotism culture. This goes back to my posts about Patriots and Good Guys and Bad Guys. Some of us seem to see guns as essential to America and an awful lot us see a correlation with violence. Here’s what we see in the responses:
Above we see gun owners pointing to cultural issues which all of us are exposed to. What they’re not noting is that there’s an extra layer on top of it all which seems to take people from exposure to action. From the screen to the gun range to the school, movie theater, or nightclub. Shootings don’t happen without access to guns and having been around people who use them. Broadly speaking, gun owners are enabling shooters.
I’ve seen arguments and posts comparing guns to everything cars to pools since people can be run over or drown. This logic isn’t going to convince anyone because it doesn’t make much sense. There’s liability issues and safety laws which address most or all of them. Non-gun owners will always reply that a gun’s only purpose is as a weapon and that’s not going to change. The denial and whataboutism misses clear correlations and we wonder why gun owners ignore it.
How many public shootings are done by people without guns? It’s a stupidly simple question because it really is that simple. There are far too many cases of shootings happening – such as Santa Fe or Newtown – with a parent’s gun or a situation where guns shouldn’t be involved. The Tennessee Waffle House killings were because a parent gave his son back weapons after telling law enforcement he wouldn’t – and for reasons he well knew. We keep hearing “It’s not guns, stupid” or “It’s not an assault rifle” or “You liberals don’t know anything about guns, shut up”. It’s obviously self-serving. You saw the Fox poll above, if over 80% of the country consists of liberal gun grabbers, why is this even a conversation? There are lots of gun owners who are in that group, but our legislative process is driven by those who have weaponized weapons.
We know it’s not just guns and there’s not an easy answer. It’s a combination of a lot of things. Blaming school entrance procedures or Ritalin are tactical points in a strategic problem. There’s a very deliberate blind spot in the defense of unfettered gun rights. Not making the tie from shootings to guns and gun ownership is denying the obvious. School and public shootings aren’t happening because liberals want to take guns or are bad parents. A growing part of the population is seeing it the opposite way because it makes so little sense. Kids on both paths of that flowchart are seeing school shootings as inevitable. One path can raise people who see it as an option, the other see a very real threat. And our society is the victim.
Note: I edited this once to point out that on the Monday after the Santa Fe, TX shootings, a child brought a gun to school. Since then – this being Tuesday – there have been six incidents in the Houston area involving school threats or guns and arrests to go with them. I find it sadly ironic that the most fervent supporters of the 2nd Amendment are concerned with people coming to take their guns when their own children may be walking out the door with them.