Guns and Kids
Newtown, old problem
© Bryan Zepp Jamieson
December 14th 2012
Imagine the uproar, if in the wake of the Newtown shootings today, someone had gotten in front of the cameras and said, “Well, you know, they are just a bunch of American kids. They’d have gotten shot sooner or later, so why is everyone so excited?”
Every time someone says, “There’s nothing to be done. The gun nut lobby is too powerful.” they are really saying, “Well, you know, they are just a bunch of American kids. They’d have gotten shot sooner or later, so why is everyone so excited?” Can’t beat the NRA. People have a right to defend themselves, and if a few kids get greased, well, what the fuck? Ain’t my right to defend myself more important than a bunch of stupid kids?
Even more disgraceful are the handful of preachers who have jumped in to declaim that if America were just a bit more Christian, those kids wouldn’t have gotten shot. Jesus loves the little children, but he doesn’t mind blowing a few of them to hamburger if it makes the backsliders in the pews sit up and pay attention.
The fatalism I can almost understand. It’s a type of fatalism that would appall a Frenchman, but at least it’s a human reaction. The preachers ought to dragged out of their churches and sodomized with their own bibles.
I’m sure the NRA and their apologists will be going full throttle over the next few days, proclaiming that hundreds of millions of gun owners did not go out and kill a bunch of children. Although on an average day, 25 of them will go out and kill someone, and most of the victims will be wives, ex-girlfriends, family, or neighbors. There’s a decent chance that one of the 25 victims will be a child—about once every four days, a child under the age of 16 dies from a gun-related homicide.
They’ll point out that gun laws don’t keep kids safe, and point to China, where a nut went on the rampage nearly simultaneously with the Newtown killer and attacked 22 school children with a knife. And it’s true—both China and America have horrible records when it comes to protecting the mentally ill from themselves, and society from them. Americans often have the notion that anyone who is claiming mental illness is trying to pull some kind of fast one, getting SSI for nothing. How do the crazy survive when the surrounding society is nearly as crazy?
One little difference between Newtown and the Chinese attack: in China, all the kids lived. None even sustained life-threatening injuries. They were scarred for life, mentally and in some cases physically, but they are all alive. I wonder how many parents of children at that Chinese school are looking at the news from America tonight and thinking, “It could have been much worse.”
The problem isn’t guns. The gun nuts are right when they say “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” Americans are surprised when I point out that nearly as high a percentage of Canadians own guns as in America. Canada’s gun homicide and gun-related violence stats are, by American standards, negligible.
The problem is the attitudes towards guns. The gun manufacturers who fund the NRA shameless play on fear, assuring one and all through their deadly little lobby that guns are an American’s only hope to defend against blacks, Hispanics, Jews, Obama, Commies, Socialists, criminals, crazies, kids wearing hoodies, rival sports team fans, whatever.
Society is scary. Guns make it less scary.
Guns can solve your social problems.
It’s what informs those lunatic “stand your ground” laws. The message is clear enough: your right to use guns against whatever frightens you is far more important than any actual violence. We can all be Charlton Heston, who could kill the bad guys on screen and never face repercussions. Justice comes too late for you to save yourself. You must kill first.
After all, there are many criminals out there who kill.
It isn’t the screen glorification of violence that does it. After all, they watch the same movies and play the same video games in the UK and Canada. They read the same news about mass shootings in America, and less frequently, at home. They don’t run out and buy a bunch of guns because their NRA meeting talked about home invasion, or the President is black.
We’ll never know what went through the head of the Newtown shooter other than police bullets. Maybe he was mad at mom and thought he would make her feel bad. Maybe it was because of the election. Or maybe his goddamn dog told him those kids were possessed by Satan. But he knew this: guns could solve his problems. He might have been so screwed up he looked at children at play and saw the old ones of Cthulhu, but he knew what the all-American answer was. Guns. And big powerful ones, judging from the carnage.
“Well, you know, they are just a bunch of American kids. They’d have gotten shot sooner or later, so why is everyone so excited?”
Hey, no problem. Just start issuing school kids guns, so they are in a position to return fire.
After all, an armed society is a polite society, right?
Sleep tight, keep your gun close by. After all, there’s probably a lunatic with a bunch of guns in your neighborhood.
It might even be you, one day.
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