Is It Really So Difficult?

January 27, 2013

The recent high profile mass shootings in this country have really, in my mind, demonstrated the difference in attitude of what I deem to be the reasonable, normal, non-paranoid citizens of this country and, well, the others. President Obama was obviously deeply effected by the recent school shooting in Connecticut. How could he fail to be? The President, like him or not, has always struck me as someone who genuinely cares about the people of this country. He has empathy, and that empathy is believable. When he said that he wanted action to be taken as a result of this latest tragedy, he immediately appointed Biden to come up with a concrete set of proposals that could be implemented, hopefully, without too much delay. A noble thought, but I knew real change wasn’t going to come easy, even in the wake of so catastrophic an event as Sandy Hook. But I held out hope that some small changes might be possible, at least, and that an agreement could be made on certain key points, even between moderates on this issue and the most extreme conservatives.

I should have known better. Granted, there were certain issues that were going to be difficult to agree on. There’s the one about whether “mentally ill” people should have access to firearms. That’s a tough one, because how exactly are we defining “mentally ill?” Is that someone who has spent time in a mental hospital against their will? Someone who has had extensive therapy? Clearly, it’s going to be hard to get on the same page with this one. But then there’s the other bullet points that seem to be a lot more cut and dry. Like, for instance, more rigorous background checks for people who are trying to purchase weapons. How can this be a bad idea? If someone’s background check reveals that this person has a violent felony in their past, shouldn’t that disqualify them from owning a gun? Shouldn’t background checks be a requirement for anyone regardless of where they’re purchasing a weapon, be it in a sporting goods store or a gun show or anywhere else? And then we get to what I see as the heart of the matter: assault weapons.

Whenever it comes to the matter of banning assault weapons or high capacity magazines, it’s time for the crazies to separate themselves from the pack and really howl at the moon, like the “Motor City Madman,” Ted Nugent, the poster guy for nuttier-than-a-shit-house-rat, monthly. When you come right down to it, what are assault rifles and high capacity magazines for? Well, they’re for killing people. They’re not for hunting animals, and they’re not for any other practical purpose, either. Note that I said “practical” purpose. Anyone who wants to own an assault rifle, or many, many assault rifles, as is often the case, I’m sure has their reasons for it. But they’re reasons, one and all, on down the line, don’t ever make any sense. They’re all crazy. They usually come down to some variation of “the (fill in the blank- government, liberals, illegal aliens, etc.) are out to (fill in the blank- take away all our freedoms and force us into Socialism, rape our women, take away our Confederate flags, etc.). We need our assault rifles, and rocket launchers, and fragmentation grenades, to fight them off when they raid our compounds, which we know they’re planning right now!” There’s something that all the Congressional delegates from the Red States, and the fruitcakes who like to mouth off online, and anyone else that is against an assault weapons ban, and a ban on high capacity magazines, really need to face. If you really think that you need assault weapons to protect yourself and your family, and you’re serious about it, then there’s something that’s really, really wrong with you. You know, in your mind. You’re paranoid. All the things that you’re afraid of are groundless, and you need to seek professional help.

Of course, this is the point that most of these people start yammering on about the Second Amendment. But what I keep coming back to on that is that automatic weapons didn’t exist in the time of our founding fathers. We should, indeed, have the right to bear arms and keep them in our domiciles. But we don’t need all of the weapons that are available today, especially the ones that were specifically created for fighting wars, and killing lots and lots of people very quickly. And that seems like what I would call common sense, something that shouldn’t be too difficult to agree on. But we’re not going to agree on it. That seems pretty obvious, after the immediate push back to Biden’s proposals. We’re completely divided on this issue, in much the same way that we seem to be as a nation on just about everything else. Partisan division and bickering seem to be the order of the day regardless of what topic is being discussed. That’s why Obama, for all his good intentions, probably isn’t going to be able to get much accomplished on this issue. The NRA and the gun lobby is too powerful, and too rich, and a select group of the population is just too crazy about it…too up in arms, you might say. What seem to me like pretty easy decisions to be made apparently aren’t, and what seems to me like common sense, apparently isn’t so common. So we’ll continue to bicker, and go around and around in circles, but call me skeptical, I just don’t see any real reforms in the immediate future, or the long term future either, for that matter. No matter how many innocents are killed, and no matter how many bitter tears the President sheds, he’s not going to change the minds of the crazies, and the militants. He really would have to do like Charles Bronson said, and pry his guns from his cold, dead hands.

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