There Goes My Gun

Whenever someone tries to discuss gun control after a shooting, they’re inevitably accused of politicizing the tragedy. Never mind that gun control advocates usually have these beliefs even when there hasn’t been a tragedy recently. But anyway, how did gun control become such a political issue? Granted, anything that involves regulation is going to be at least somewhat politically charged, but these comments are pretty much always from Republicans criticizing what they see as a liberal agenda. It’s not necessarily based on fact, as even the more liberal politicians who favor gun control tend to be too cowardly to actually do anything about it. And I’m sure there are plenty of pro-gun Democrats out there, not to mention that it’s entirely possible to be a gun advocate AND favor greater regulation. But in the minds of many, gun rights are closely linked to the Republican Party. The National Rifle Association is certainly a Republican organization, not officially but definitely in practice. I’m not entirely sure how this came to be the case, but it probably has a lot to do with the Republicans preying on fear. Not that Democrats never do this, but it seems to be more commonly a Republican tactic. Not only are guns promoted as a way to protect yourself, but Republicans sell the idea that the government, and particularly its more liberal facets, want to take your guns away. You know, just like they claim the Democrats want to ban the Bible, even though the majority of elected Democrats are Christians. Religion and guns are sort of an odd combination, especially in the religion that talks about loving your neighbor and turning the other cheek. Then again, the Old Testament does say that God can’t prevail against iron chariots (see Judges 1:19), so modern weaponry must be even greater than that. Seriously, though, I did a Google search for information on the connection between Republicans and advocacy for unlimited gun ownership, and two possibilities that I found were fear of minorities and the Republican courting of the anti-government crowd. Then there’s the fact that the NRA is largely a lobby for the gun industry, so they’re going to court the party that’s considered friendlier to big business. And hey, most victims of gun violence aren’t rich, so who cares about them? It’s all about letting the masses think they have power (because what’s more powerful than the ability to kill others with little effort?) when they’re really right where those in power want them.

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5 Responses to There Goes My Gun

  1. Jason and I actually had a weirdly enlightening conversation the other day after the latest high-profile shooting, when he was just reading the news on the Internet and burst out, “Oh, sure, Obama HAS to go and try to push his gun control thing through again when he can manipulate other people’s emotions,” and I kind of looked curiously at him and said, “He’s got a lot of pressure on him from outside to do something, too. You talk like it’s all his idea.” And he looked back at me genuinely confused and said “WHO’s pressuring him from outside?” And I looked genuinely confused back and said, “Who ISN’T? The PUBLIC! Everyone who’s not a gun person starts screaming for the government to do something about it every time this happens!” It was kind of amazing to see exactly what impressions you get about what “everyone” thinks when your sources of input are limited to those you tend to agree with. Both sides think the other side’s got some kind of weird political agenda with no public support.

    It IS kind of interesting/scary the way everyone uses tragedies like this immediately to push their own agenda. You’re aware of what the Dems say that the GOP calls “politicizing,” but you know among the gun people the reaction is, “You see? It happened in a GUN FREE zone! If a good guy with a gun had been there, he could have been stopped!” The other “amusing” everybody-has-their-own-agenda thing I noted is that the media and gun-control advocates tend to assume every shooting takes place with an “assault rifle” and makes it a case of “NOW isn’t it time to ban them?!?” even when the facts say completely other not-in-talk-of-banning firearms were used. So really, I think the biggest problem here is not so much that it is politicized as much as everyone is so entrenched in their own (yes, political) opinions on the general subject that they tend to ignore the details of the specific incidence in favor of just presenting it as more evidence that they’re right, even when it isn’t.

  2. Late to the party here, but a good post and response! I just think this is a country gone mad, led by madmen and supported by undereducated, paranoid, frustrated rednecks. It’s seems there’s a lot of people in the U.S. who simply love violence, or at least the potential for violence. It is the be-all-end-all solution to whatever real or phantom problems they’re facing. Insecurity? Go out and kill something. Angry? Go out and kill something? Fear of outsiders? Fantasize about going out and killing someone. Somehow, killing something — usually animals, but with the implied potential for people — has become an inalienable “right” in the U.S. Preserving life, however, well, that’s just extremism!

    And I wonder how much of a powder keg it really is. When you take a lot of fearful, loudmouth, armchair revolutionaries whose lives are miserable, whose wives/girlfriends are miserable, who have little to lose, and who get their kicks from shooting and trapping poor four-legged creatures who happen to get in their gun-sights, and put them under the leadership of a few sociopaths, a lot of bad can happen.

    As for solutions, that would mean ensuring that every single child was given a great education and a good potential for decent-paying careers doing something beneficial for society and themselves. That would eliminate 99% of the problem. But the education system that exists now (and which has existed since its inception) is designed the perpetuate a Capitalist system where a class system has to exist, so the wealthy are educated to run industry, while the poor are educated only enough to work for it (or to serve as canon fodder when the country feels like taking resources from another land).

    And the only thing that would change that would be a revolution, but not the kind of revolution the rednecks fantasize about — that would just perpetuate the racist, patriarchal, imperialist class system that’s still in place (a black figurehead doesn’t change that) — but a peaceful revolution along the lines of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Gandhi and others.

    Unfortunately, this is the U.S. And we’ve been trained well to be too complacent, selfish, lazy, jaded and apathetic to do that.

    • I’m married to a certified gun nut (technically he’s a certified gunSMITH, but, you know), and I can say with certainty that, for the average gun nut (not talking psychos) it is not an obsession with killing. It IS a weird obsession with making things go BOOM though. My husband primarily target-shoots. He hunts only for food and for pest control, so he never kills for the sake of killing even when he does (which is not NEARLY as frequently as he target-shoots). And in the worst pest control situation he ever encountered– getting rid of a mass of feral cats that had taken over his grandfather’s rental property when the Humane Society and ASPCA and Game Commission and EVERYONE said they couldn’t deal with feral cats so the best thing to do would be put them out of their misery– the process made him physically sick.

      I’m just trying to point out that while people who aren’t gun nuts can’t understand gun nuts because it seems like they’re obsessed with The Right to Kill, gun nuts actually don’t think much about killing at all. It is, in my non-gun-nut-living-with-a-gun-nut opinion, a combination of, like I said, Liking when things go BOOM (which is rather juvenile, I won’t deny that); and, more psychological, a kind of paranoia– a feeling that There Are Bad People With Guns In the World, and the only way to be safe is to make sure you’re equally well-armed. Now, I can see not being comfortable with either of those mindsets– I’M not comfortable with his paranoid world-outlook, myself, it seems like he misses so much of the good in the world because he’s so afraid of the bad– but they’re true mindsets, as opposed to guns=killing. Compromise can never happen when two sides are coming at a problem believing the other side believes something terrible that the other side does NOT in fact believe– but it pretty much happens for every hot-button issue. Which is what makes them hot-button issues, I guess.

  3. Oops, meant to say “designed TO perpetuate a Capitalist system in which a poor class has to exist”

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