Monday Musings: We Need Action Instead of Tears a.k.a. Common Sense and Guns

I’m tired.  Like so many other Americans, like our President, like anyone who has a heart, I’m weary of the almost clockwork report of a mass shooting.  Once again, someone has murdered nine and injured far more, laden with firearms … guns that the shooter’s father didn’t even know the gunman (who still lived with his father) had.  So many lives have been lost in similar fashion over these past years, far more lives than any terrorist attack or the other conventional boogeymen dangled before us by our politicians on a regular basis.

Fatigue shouldn’t be used as a reason for inaction however and, while we should grieve for the fallen, our tears won’t be of much use either.  Some kind of action needs to be taken, but common sense action.   Much like fatigue and depression are of little use, wild reaction is pointless as well.

The United States has a long history of a gun culture that comes close to worship (and you could argue that there are regions where it truly is worship).  By that very history, there is a tendency among people who want to shy blame away from the guns themselves, to focus all the blame for these incidents on the problems our nation has with mental health and dealing with those suffering from mental and emotional diseases.

They aren’t entirely wrong.  We do have big problems in how we deal with and address the mentally ill.  However, basic common sense tells us that a problem of this magnitude cannot be tackled by focusing on only one part of the problem.  The shooter is one part of the equation, yes, but the firearms themselves present another part of the issue.

A gun has one purpose and one purpose alone: to kill.  We have a lot of laws and licensing in place to be given the authority to drive a motor vehicle, right?  Because of our American love of guns, the restrictions on gun sales, proper licensing for use, and gun education are treated horribly by our government.

Yes, there are some laws in place, but they can be circumvented easily in multiple ways and they are wildly inconsistent throughout the country.  The simple fact that these various gunmen, often with known mental and medical issues, could stockpile so many firearms and other weaponry with not a single warning bell set off in the actual system has to tell us that the piecemeal protections we have in place are far from sufficient.

It’s just common sense to restrict devices meant purely for death to be more intensely monitored and regulated than our transportation.

Next time, we’ll be back to our usual, more light-hearted topics with Writing Is A Bad Habit.  Until then, friends, good reading, good writing, and good luck!

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5 comments

  1. Knowing your tendency to lean left, I have no aspirations to change your mind on the topic. I, too, am sick of hearing of these sorts of things. But it makes me thoroughly disgusted how rapidly politicians (of both ilk, though it happens more quickly with liberals) attempt to leverage such incidents to support their own agendas.

    With no intention of being condescending, the Constitutionally-given right to keep and bear arms was enshrined as a method of giving the citizens the means to protect themselves from an overbearing, overreaching centralized government (like the one we currently have). There were other methods put in place to ensure the citizens of the country didn’t have to use their 2nd Amendment rights as a first resort, but as a last one.

    An ignorant population and a continually decreasing emphasis on the role that personal responsibility plays in society has continually eroded the safeguards built into the founding of our nation. And now those who aren’t even remotely pleased with the continual over reach and abuse of power the government exercises are grimly looking at the very real possibility of needing to be ready for that last resort.

    Again, not to be glib, but: speed limits do not stop speeding, laws against texting and driving do not prevent accidents caused by texting and driving, Prohibition did not prevent drinking. Look at the policies in place where these things happen. “Gun-Free Zones” only work if everyone is willing to comply: those intent on committing such acts will not see “Gun Free Zone” signs and change their minds. If gun restrictions worked, there wouldn’t be any gun-related crimes in cities like Chicago, for example. I, for one, am not willing to bet the safety of my family on someone else’s morality. Which brings me to:

    I mentioned personal responsibility above. This, I have come to believe, is the biggest problem our society faces. Modern liberalism has religiously preached that no one is responsible for his own actions any more. It’s lunacy.

    The father of this kid in Oregon blames guns, how original. No, the problem is not that guns are obtainable. The problem is the people who have no moral base plan to and execute these acts. The role of personal responsibility cannot be overlooked in these situations. It’s all well and good to talk about mental health issues; however, refusing to hold people responsible for their own actions undermines any validity one may have in reality. All that dodging and finger pointing works only in the fictional world created by the Media.

    You are closely-associated with the world of Fiction to see these fabrications for what they are.

    The blame for this sort of thing falls on the citizens of this country. It is the citizens who have surrendered their power over the government to the government because they do not want to have the obligations that come with the so-called freedoms they ignorantly have surrendered.

    I understand the knee-jerk emotional response to such horrifying events; I really do. But it angers me that so many people seem to think that further limiting freedoms is the answer. It is not. That is the reaction of a government that enjoys treading on the citizens it purportedly works for, and people who are too afraid of responsibility to earn the freedom others have given them.

    That’s not meant as an attack on your viewpoint, JB. If history is any indicator, you’ll come back with a well-reasoned response. I look forward to it.

    1. Oh, no offense taken!

      Don’t take my words as a ‘ALL GUNS BAD!’ approach. When I mean ‘common sense’, I mean ‘common sense’. I think we need better gun control and licensing than we have, but I certainly don’t think ‘gun-free’ is the right answer either. Most extremes of behavior tend to lead to disaster, after all.

      Just closing some of the big loopholes (lack of background check requirements at gun shows and lax online checks, for example) would work wonders. There’s more than that we could do that would help as well, yet come nowhere close to the extremes that some of the far left would have us take.

      Can regulation and laws stop all gun violence? Of course not! I agree with you that, first and foremost, personal responsibility is key and it’s something that I think should be reinforced. Having a more codified and unified basis for gun education and basic licensing (like driver’s licenses) may even help reinforce that notion, just because it sets a basic guideline for what is acceptable.

      Like with most things, I think the answer lies in a balanced approach. The government has its place in that approach, but it has to be done in a calm, thought-out, common sense approach, not, as you said, the knee-jerk approach you mentioned yourself.

      I hope that clears up my thoughts! I realize in retrospect that I wasn’t precisely clear in how far my thoughts on gun control go and, unfortunately, the term ‘common sense’ has been ruined by too many extremist commentators on both sides of the aisle. @_@

      1. I think we set a good example of how this process should work! I knew you’d respond with something reasonable – I appreciate that you don’t take personally the comments that are mostly aimed at the collective.

        Unfortunately, as you no doubt see as well, the extremes on both sides drive the wedge deeper. I, personally, am a Constitution Literalist: I don’t think there’s much open to interpretation in the wording of a document that (by design) severely limits the powers of the government. That being said, I’m not a big fan of the NRA, which I think has a misguided approach to defending a small portion of the citizens rights (back of envelope calculation: 27 of 726 words in the Bill of Rights: 3.7%).

        I think the idea of “a basic guideline for what is acceptable” is a good idea. However, (and I know it’s academic, so it’s impossible to say (and there will always be ‘that one example’)), I tend to think (okay, as a closet optimist, I’ll say “I would hope”) that a high level of personal responsibility might vacate the need for even the basic guideline.

        It’s always a pleasure, JB.

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