Guns Don’t Kill People, seriously

I gave an example, in yesterday’s post, of how much anger can be put into a few paragraphs of snappy prose.   It detracted from the larger idea of that post on understanding and learning to overcome angry reactions, and so I severed that part of what I posted yesterday and am re-writing it here, as an example of how anger and fear (and obfuscation by those who profit from those things)  play an outsized role in human affairs, in politics, in why solving a terrible problem can be made to seem overwhelmingly complex.  

And to give myself the opportunity to imagine Wayne LaPierre, head of the National Rifle Association, shot through the voice box with a perfectly placed small caliber bullet as he is spouting his shit about how guns don’t kill people and only lying fucking Jew agitators like sneaky unAmerican Saul Alinsky could even claim that they do.

America leads the First World in gun violence by a very healthy margin.  In America, our gun homicide numbers are off the world chart for similarly wealthy nations (some very poor countries have higher per capita gun murder numbers than we do, but we’re working on that).   Year after year we are alone as number one in death by gun among the high-income countries, by a gigantic margin.  We lead the industrialized world in the same Bunyanesque way that the year Babe Ruth first shattered his own home run record he hit more home runs than any other team in the American League [1].

Those who love guns, and those who profit handsomely from their unfettered sale, are, eh, up in arms about the unfairness of including the vast number of American gun suicides in the U.S. statistics of annual gun deaths.   Suicide by method other than gun is a shaky proposition, the success rate is surprisingly low.   Suicide by gun has an 82% success rate.   In contrast, overdose and poisoning have a less than 2% chance of success (1 in 50) of killing the would-be suicide.  Don’t take my word for it, here’s a Harvard study.

It’s unfair to lump gun suicide and gun homicide together, claims the NRA, because including the thousands of desperate losers who kill themselves every year with guns artificially inflates the gun death numbers to make it look like we have a plague of gun violence in America, when actually it is only mentally ill people who misuse guns to kill themselves that make it falsely seem that way.  Less than half the total deaths are the murder of somebody else, (and many of those killings are justified, probably) argues the NRA, and so it’s misleading and very unfair to include in gun death statistics the deaths of those who kill themselves with a gun.  Also, very unfair to point out that the majority of suicide attempts are unsuccessful while the vast majority of gun suicide attempts are successful.

We can bat statistics back and forth, as we do, but every time there is a slaughter by a deranged white man with a military assault rifle, usually acquired legally, the sickening public conversation is identical.   A majority of Americans want restrictions on the number of mass killing assault weapons legally available to violent men.  Congress always votes any restriction on gun ownership down.

The sanctity of gun ownership, extending to assault weapons capable of spraying deadly fire over a large area, was established not that long ago by a convoluted Supreme Court ruling in which the brilliant, evil Antonin Scalia construed an absolute right of individuals to own guns from his learned reading of the Second Amendment, which begins:  A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state…  Scalia took from this language the intent of the framers to create an unassailable, constitutionally guaranteed right of every individual American to keep and bear whatever kind of arms he wants.   The NRA has the Second Amendment as its catchphrase, but, full-disclosure, they only use the dependent clause.  Their version reads simply, like the version Scalia endorsed:  The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.  

Guns are seen as the ultimate personal protection by many Americans.  They feel they need protection from intruders, lawless thugs, even, God forbid, a government run by an illegitimate African Muslim intent on prying their guns from their cold dead hands.  It is fear that makes Americans crave powerful weaponry to keep themselves safe, anger and fear that makes them reach for their guns.   It’s as if these patriots don’t realize how easily a truly repressive government could send a Hellfire missile, launched out of a drone, to take out you and your ten well-armed buddies making a stand for the sacred Second Amendment with your AR-15s, even if you each had a hundred high capacity clips and a bump stock for each of those assault rifles. 

The National Rifle Association cries that it is unfair, unAmerican, yea, unChristian, to restrict the rights of an American to own any kind of gun he wants.  Guns are not the problem, says the NRA over and over.  The problem, according to the NRA, is that some people, a statistically tiny percentage of the tens of millions of responsible gun owners (who own the more than 300,000,000 privately held American guns), misuse guns to sometimes do unspeakable things, like shoot their mother in the face and go to the local kindergarten and spray the classroom walls with the blood of young children.  The problem is not guns.  The problems is that fucking liberals, fucking clueless about the violence we are all up against, constantly try to “exploit tragedy for political gain”.  It’s not the fucking guns that are the problem, it’s the fucking misguided bleeding hearts.

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Everybody who goes somewhere with a gun intent on killing as many people as he can is always in a rage.   He is mad.  He can’t think straight.  We are the only wealthy democracy in the world whose lawmakers will not address this homicidal madness.  We easily lead the rest of the high-income world combined in annual gun murders, even leaving out the thousands of suicides.  After every massacre those who profit from gun sales tell us it is not time to talk about keeping guns out of the hands of violent maniacs, out of respect for the poor families of the victims of the random violent maniac.

It is easy for the average citizen to get mad about this NRA rope-a-dope bullshit that the NRA and its generously paid minions do every single time after a mass killing, though anger by itself is not very effective for fighting back.   Propaganda, mass media spin, a powerful political machine and massive campaign contributions work better in this particular debate, apparently.

NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre had this typically defensive comment about so-called American gun violence, in the aftermath of the most recent mass shooting in an American school, the slaughter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where one severely disturbed asshole with a semi-automatic weapon (never used in hunting or conceived of by Scalia’s infallible Founding Fathers) killed seventeen while wounding everyone else at the school:

“As usual, the opportunists have wasted not one second to exploit tragedy for political gain.  Saul Alinsky would have been proud, the break back speed of calls for more gun control laws and the breathless national media eager to smear the NRA”.

What a whining whore LaPierre is, him and his almost $1,000,000 annual salary as the chief spokesman for the freedom of some Americans to kill other Americans, or themselves, with guns.   I thought dropping the name of that Jewish idealist and community organizer in there, as symbol of vicious haters of our God-given American freedom, was a very nice touch and a cool dog whistle to his red meat eating base.  Much better than openly calling all of us who want an end to America’s violent gun culture a bunch of sneaky fucking America hating Jews, in my opinion.

I wonder how old Wayne would feel if somebody shot him in his smug fucking face, or one of his kids (if any) in theirs.

Better still, what if the shot didn’t kill Wayne, just destroyed his larynx, a surgical shot from the side, with a small caliber gun, just rendering him permanently incapable of speech, shutting him the fuck up?  There’d be a tad of good old American frontier justice in that, would there not?

There is no simple end game for gun violence in a country like ours, with as many guns as citizens (some own 100 guns, many own no guns).   For starters, instead of an extremist-imposed national right to concealed carry of hand guns even in places that have banned them, I’d like to see a ban on guns in America, except for traditional weapons for hunters.  I’m not a hunter, but I know a few who are decent, law-abiding citizens, responsible gun users — and staunch environmentalists.  To enforce the gun ban I’d impose mandatory prison time on those insisting on their phantom Scalia-created right to own and wield the most powerful legally available military assault weapons and hand guns, especially semi-automatic ones.  

Well, since that ban won’t ever happen in a competitive, commercial nation where the gun lobby is so powerful, I guess I’d settle for fucking Wayne LaPierre’s voice box being ventilated by a good shot with a precise knowledge of human anatomy.   We should all remain aware, if that terrible thing ever happens, that it won’t be the gun that renders LaPierre speechless, it will be a bad guy with a gun, no matter how good his intentions may be.

(Angry enough for yuh?  Ahimsa is sometimes a wrestling match with killer passions.   The hardest part of trying to be truly non-harming is having to listen to supremely certain motherfuckers like Wayne LaPierre and other constantly whining victims of the Liberal Conspiracy Against Real American Values.)

 

[1] there was one NL team in 1920 whose players combined to hit more home runs than Ruth that year.  The Philadelphia Phillies, led by a player who hit 15 home runs and one who hit 14 (nobody else in double figures, though outfielder Casey Stengel added a career high 9), hit 64, as a team, to Ruth’s 54.  No other major league team equalled Mr. Ruth’s home run total in 1920.

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