I will begin by stating that what happened on Friday was an atrocity, pure and simple. It should never have happened, and I am sickened by it.
I also state with the same absolute conviction that, had I been there, I would have given my life to save those children. Full stop. Whether or not I would have succeeded is irrelevant; I would have gladly died trying to prevent the murder of 20 first-graders.
However, I would also have done my damnedest to make sure that [murderous fuckhead whose name is redacted because he doesn't deserve the fame] gave his life for those children instead, because he was a murderous fuckhead who deserved to die and I, of course, am not.
Okay. Hopefully we've established that I'm human here. But as a gunnie, I have to confess -- and I think I can speak for most other gunnies, too -- that we had a moment where we thought to ourselves "Jesus Christ, now comes the dancing in the blood and the yelling at the NRA."
I would LOVE if we could have just come together in a moment of tragedy and, at least for the weekend, to mourn for innocent lives cut short, bury our dead, and slowly come out from the horrifying shock. But that's not how people work.
I understand that many, many people are in pain right now, and that people in pain make emotional responses. I get that. I forgive that. But regardless of logic or lack thereof, because guns were used in this atrocity, the immediate reaction is to get rid of all guns everywhere, and because the desire is to do something, anything, to take away the pain and prevent this sort of thing from happening again, that side can seem awfully sympathetic -- especially if you've lost a loved one.
We, as gun owners, are faced with a Morton's Fork in situations like these. We can be decent human beings and refrain from saying anything political out of deference to the dead -- but when we finally try to address the "abolish the Second Amendment" comments, we seem like we are playing catch-up and have to overcome the political gains they've already made.
Or, we can operate on the premise that most (not all) of the people yowling for our heads are against us anyway, and so if we're going to be thought of as assholes and monsters, we might as well be politically effective assholes and monsters.
Either way, we end up looking like we're guilty of something, and I hate that. I certainly didn't kill anyone on Friday, and neither did the 80+ million lawful gun owners in America, but, as always, now come the calls for us to disarm ourselves and -- the irony is lost on them -- for our deaths, and the deaths of our children.
I have been called some pretty awful things this weekend, including "a murderer from a nation of murderers" and "a cunt", all because I like to lawfully own and operate a certain kind of tool. And in those same breaths, people are saying "Can we have that discussion about gun control now?" Because, you know, calling me names really convinces me of the rightness of their argument.
So in conclusion, I'm going to say three things here, and I want everyone who reads this blog to think about these points before they leave a comment below.
1) The Discussion
Sure, let's have that discussion (again, for the millionth time). I'll even begin by offering a compromise:
- You want me to give up semi-automatic rifles. Okay.
- In return, I want my concealed carry permit recognized nationwide, and the ability to carry my sidearm everywhere a cop can carry (basically, not into a courtroom or a jail).
- If you aren't willing to grant me this, or basically any other concession, then we are not having a discussion; you are instead trying to dictate terms to me.
- If you're trying to dictate terms, I don't believe you will ever stop once you get your way -- see the above calls for total disarmament.
- If you are trying to disarm me, then I shall quote Michael Z. Williamson: First, in the Heller decision, the Supreme Court stated we do have a right to keep and bear arms. So that means, you are proposing to violate my civil rights. That's a dead end issue right there. If you're trying to find ways to violate my rights only to a certain degree in certain ways, you have to expect that I'm going to fight you as much as any other activist fighting someone who is trying to violate their civil rights. Hating me for that is irrational, and unless you hate other activists for protecting their rights, there's a word for you--the same word that applies to anti-porn crusaders, anti-religion crusaders and anti-press crusaders.
Now then. Are we actually going to have a discussion? Somehow, I don't think we will.
2) The REAL Discussion
Why don't we talk about the actual problem, rather than just the symptom? Let's talk about how mental health care is in shambles, and has been since the middle of last century. Let's talk about how there's a huge stigma for seeking treatment, and how people who do admit "I sometimes want to hurt myself or other people. This is a problem, and I need help" usually end up forcibly committed and/or have their rights abridged. This attitude keeps a lot of people from seeking the help that they desperately need, because they don't want to be treated like criminals for admitting that their wires need re-tuning.
Read this excellent article by a mother with a mentally disturbed child, and how her only options are to have him put in jail, or take him home and run the risk he will kill her or himself or someone else in the family.
Was Murderous Fuckhead mentally ill? I'm sure we'll find out soon enough. My initial response is "Anyone who kills 20 innocent first-graders definitely has something wrong with them." I mean, either he was deranged in some way, or you have to admit that He Was Evil. Either one works for me, frankly.
3) What We SHOULDN'T Be Discussing
The Murderous Fuckhead's name, or his face, or anything else about him except as it possibly relates to point #2. Charlie Brooker had an excellent point about this:
Thank you for listening to me ramble. Thoughtful discussion is encouraged; name calling will result in banning.