Friday, October 24, 2014

We're All Prisoners and Guns are Our Cruel Jailers

How long oh, Lord?

On December 14, 2012 Adam Lanza killed his mother, then drove over to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. Before he did everyone a favor by blowing his own diseased brains out he shot to death 20 kids under the age of 10 and six teachers and school employees.

The nation, not to mention the world, was aghast. The horror was such the president of these United States promised to initiate legislation that would limit the ability of lunatics like Lanza to get their hands on weapons of any sort. Initially there was enough outrage it was easy to think something might actually be done to curb this peculiar American fetish with weapons.

The fantasy didn't last long. The National Rifle Association, the worlds best financed political terrorist organization, started screeching about constitutional rights in public while privately making members of congress offers they couldn't refuse. All the outrage faded and the president couldn't get a single piece of legislation that even mentioned the words gun and control out of committee.

In the 22 months since Sandy Hook, 87 school shootings have taken place in this country. Not all of them involved some wild eyed Adam Lanza type. Some were gang related, some were accidents, some were of a personal nature--you know--Dude, Cindy Ann is my babe. No matter the circumstances, the common denominators remain guns and schools. The latest tragedy happened today in Marysville, Washington.

According to reports a freshman at Marysville-Pilchuck High School pulled a handgun from either his pocket, or a bag and opened fire on a table of students in the school cafeteria. At this moment two are confirmed dead. One is the gunman who, in the end, police say decided on The Lanza Option and killed himself. Three persons, currently identified as "young people," are in a local hospital in critical condition. A fourth is classified as serious.

Local police say they don't have a motive for the shooting at this time. As always we crave for the rational explanation to explain an irrational act. We always need to know, what they call on the TV program, "Criminal Minds" the stressor--that one moment which made this kid capable of committing deadly madness.

One of the hired experts on MSNBC talked about a triad of circumstances that enables these terrible moments. The first is a lack of mental health screening, the second is the availability of guns, the third is social media reinforcement of feelings of alienation and rage.

Mental health screening is at best a subjective thing. One person's disenchantment is another's psychosis. And, let's face it, as long as social media trolls can operate anonymously there will always be rage and utter nonsense on the internet. The only concrete action which can be taken to at least slow the carnage is restricting the availability of guns.

It isn't going to happen though. The NRA and all those people who can't have sex unless they're able to buy and own every weapon they want, won't let it. Besides, even if we cut off every firearm sale in America tomorrow the truth is there are still 90 guns per 100 citizens, young and old, out there right now. That is a deep, deep well from which to draw.

Here is what is going to happen in the next couple of days.

The NRA will start their insufferable whining. They'll claim if only the teachers, janitors, hall monitors, and even the students themselves  had been allowed to carry firearms this wouldn't have happened. Then the convoluted fringe elements will start howling that because a measure to expand background checks of people buying a weapon is on the ballot in Washington next month, the shooting was a conspiracy perpetrated by Barack H. Obama himself. Think not? Take a quick look at Youtube and listen to the gruesome geeks who claim the Sandy Hook massacre never took place--that all the dead kids are living happily ever after on some island in the Caribbean and the witnesses and parents we saw on the news during and after the nightmare were "crisis actors."

Sometimes it is easy for many of us to think, even though we were born here, we've become strangers in a strange land. In 2000 there were six mass shooting per year in the United States. Less than a decade and a half  later there are now 16 per year.

In an odd way I can agree with one of the pro gun arguments. You can't blame the guns themselves. However, we depart company immediately after that thought. I can and do blame a system which allows all these demented fucks to get their hands on one.

The shooter in Marysville is now being described on cable news as a Native American, a football player, and a kid so popular he was named a Home Coming Prince. He wasn't a goth, or a loner and there is, at least currently, no evidence of him being bullied by anyone.

Obviously, for reasons unclear at this time, he went bats. The real tragedy is when he did go over the edge, it was no big deal for him to get his hands on a weapon designed to do nothing other than kill fellow human beings. Hey, that is exactly what pistols are made for and thanks to two hundred years of constant engineering and improvement they do that job quite well.

This is a uniquely American phenomenon. No other industrialized nation in the world suffers these sort of tragedies on such a consistent basis. Of course no other industrialized nation lets any goof with a valid driver's license walk out of a store with a weapon whose deadly capability is limited only by the buyer's current credit line.

There is no excuse for these monstrous rampages. At this point we should be so ashamed and appalled the populace ought to be demanding expanded background checks, financially prohibitive permit fees, punitive liability for those who let their weapons fall into the hands of shooters, and the same restrictions on the private sales of weapons we already have on retail transactions involving them.

Tragically the NRA has convinced huge numbers of Americans it should be easier for us to buy a gun than it is to secure a drivers license, or a passport.

That is their idea of freedom.

Sure. Now go ask all those kids at Marysville-Pilchuck High School and their parents how free they felt when a loon with a gun went completely amok in the cafeteria during the first lunch period this morning.

Let's face it, when you're a teenager running for your life because some classmate has opened fire with a handgun, when you have to cower in a classroom, then sprint to safety across a campus green--and finally--when brigades of cops must swoop down on your high school--freedom isn't a word which immediately comes to mind.

The first American truth is we're all prisoners. The second is guns are our cruel jailers.


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