We have all seen this before. Right? Predictable violence against innocents followed by thoughts and prayers. Grieving people build shrines of flowers and balloons and painted signs. All of the news networks put their anchors on sleek Gulfstream 5 jets and get them to the scene of the crime. Time for the standup in front of the new shrines, endlessly looping blurry cell phone video of terrorized people with a pop…pop…pop gunfire soundtrack. Always calm emergency room doctors talking about how they practice triage for days like this. Mass casualty events. Events. If the story stays hot the networks may be there for…oh…2 days. Grave faced politicians weigh in on the TV. Flags lowered. Flags back up. The clock is already ticking on the next shooting. Dare I say it? It is getting kind of boring, the whole pattern, isn’t it?
Heart broken lefties start talking about gun control and righties say, “Too Soon.” Except…. Yesterday I happened to be in my car at exactly noon. I decided to see what Lars Larson was saying was important on February 14. He opened saying there was early news of a possible…possible…shooting at a school in Florida. His next sentence? Florida, like Oregon and Washington doesn’t allow teachers concealed carry of guns in schools. Too soon for politics? In City Hall I saw Lars and the gun he always carries. Yea, in City Hall. As he was making his point, first responders were doing chest compressions on a child in the front yard of an American high school. Too soon…just too soon to talk about the politics of guns.
Today, the right is suddenly concerned about mental health, and surprise, the competence of the FBI. It’s a total dodge. There was nothing, repeat, nothing that could have stopped this. An 18 year-old, legally bought an AR15 military style assault rifle. He passed all checks. Done. We can’t do universal health care so now we are going to have mental health police taking potential shooters off the streets? Las Vegas shooter? Same. Same. He legally built an arsenal including rapid fire enabling bump stocks. Remember them? Yea, you can still order on online today. When righties are talking about mental health you know it is to avoid talking about guns. “Whataboutism” isn’t just for Trump and the Russians. It works on any topic you want to avoid.
I am a gun owner. In my family, guns get handed down generation to generation. Given that, there is no reason to own an AR15 or AK47 style gun. People buy them because they shoot fast and look cool. That’s it. With over 8 million in sales they are the most popular gun in American. They are the very beating heart of the gun industry. When I was a kid, the NRA taught you how to handle guns, now they are simply the lobbying arm of the gun industry. They don’t buy politicians to make better hunters. The buy them to sell more guns.
Need an AR15 for home protection? High velocity rounds were designed for the military to kill with one shot. A round fired in your home will penetrate a wall, even your neighbor’s wall and kill the kid sleeping in the next room or next door. If you need home protection, there is no more intimidating gun than a pump action 12 gauge shotgun. If you bought an AR15 to fight the evil federal government come the revolution, please see your Republican legislator today. They are focusing on mental health issues.
If any military style rifle owner tells you they use it to hunt deer, feel free to tell them they are not actually a hunter. A real deer hunter uses a bolt action rifle. One shot…one kill is the sacred trust of a real hunter. To even think you need a banana clip with 30 rounds to hunt means you don’t trust your skill as a hunter and you need to get to a range with a bolt action rifle and make your shot count. Unleashing a clip at a deer or other animal just means you like shooting fast and looking cool.
When James Madison added the 2nd amendment to the Constitution, I am sure he never considered that someone would take a musket to the local school house and start killing kids…slowly…one at a time. If there had been rapid fire arms in the his time, I am also sure there would have been more detail in the clause that says “well regulated militia.” Advocates for military style rifles are merely hiding behind an amendment written for a different world of technology. What they really want is to shoot fast and look cool. That’s it.
As a political operative, I was always looking for the world of the possible when I advocated for legislation. You need to have the votes to make changes. I think there is one initiative that has the votes.
Today I propose the Bury the Children Free Act. Parents who each day send their kids to school in the sure belief that they will come home at the end of the day should not be burdened with the cost of burying them. When political will, national sanity, compassion and common sense fail, grieving parents should not have to start a Go Fund Me page. That is not the American way.
This bill will have the votes it needs because it isn’t about burying gay people killed in night clubs or tipsy country music fans at a concert. It has no religious constraints as it does not cover people killed in churches. As everyone with any sense always says, “It’s for the children, our hope for the future.” Write or call your member of Congress now and remind them: It’s not about the guns. Nope, it’s never about the guns.