The well-organized anger of the Right in favor of guns has silenced many Americans who recognize the madness of letting mentally fragile human beings run around with assault rifles. Will the latest massacre in Colorado do anything to change this strange lethargy, asks Tom H. Hastings.
By Tom H. Hastings
According to Pew Research, white men care more about gun rights than keeping guns out of the hands of killers. What is our glitch, our spiritual void, my fellow white guys? Can nothing but our fear and lust for unearned power rule this land?
Will no amount of innocent blood touch our hearts enough to change? It is long overdue; time to feminize and colorize the gun debate in the US. Republicans desperately need to do some soul-searching. Where did they misplace theirs?
Gun nuts respond in three rhetorical ways whenever anyone has the temerity to suggest that perhaps getting guns is a bit too easy in our hyper-armed nation.
One: “If more people had been there carrying guns the shooter could have been stopped faster.”
Right. The Wild West featured that ethos and yet it was found that the more guns were restricted, the safer citizens actually were.
There were reasons we progressed out of Tombstone Territory. We are seeing why again and again and again, daily with shootings of one or two, punctuated by occasional rampages like we saw in Aurora, Colorado; Tucson, Arizona; Virginia Tech; Littleton, Colorado; Washington, DC; Jonesboro, Arkansas; Springfield, Oregon; and sadly, avoidably, many more
Two: “It’s not the guns. Just look at the rate of gun ownership in places like North Dakota, yet there is little gun violence there. This is a people problem, not a gun problem.”
True enough. So let states and local governments figure it out for themselves. Of course, the way to do that is to eliminate the stupid Second Amendment or change the makeup of the Supreme Court, since the dispositive ruling by the current majority took away states’ rights in this regard.
Three: “See? These people want to take away your guns!” True. Time to melt them down and repurpose that material to plowshares. Long past time.
My real question here is: What happened to the spirits of those who are so addicted to guns? What is wrong with these people’s souls? What would Jesus do? Surely no one calling himself or herself a Christian would own a gun, an instrument which has one purpose, to kill or threaten to kill. Love your guns or love Christ, but the two are mutually exclusive. Make your choice.
At least the politicians are standing up. Not. One did — Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York. Thank you, mayor. Perhaps a few more will buck the trend back toward Deadwood Gulch. Americans seem resigned to more guns, toward lawlessness.
Perhaps America is just too sick to recover, but that hopelessness, that defeatism, isn’t an option. The gun lobby, the NRA, the armed Tea Party, may not care about the three-month-old baby who was shot in the movie theater, but more of us should wake up and get involved, get rid of these killing machines.
Tom H. Hastings (firstname.lastname@example.org), Portland, Oregon, teaches and writes about nonviolence.