Now, I usually write about comedy but I have nothing funny to write about right now. This doesn’t matter. Once upon a time, I wrote about political correctness and my utter disdain for it. This is somewhat relevant to that topic, but very relevant today.
America has a gun problem.
This might seem obvious to us Canadians, but I say this as one of the most right-wing people you could possibly know. I despise notions of equality (unless it’s equal rights under the law), multiculturalism, welfare, and mass immigration. And, I support Canadian values tests for new immigrants, most tax cuts, and school choice.
I also support freedom of speech, but I won’t be that pompous in this post. I know that lefties and righties generally support free speech. Unless it’s hate speech (but this is a different matter, FYI, hate speech is free speech!).
Oh, and I think most people should be able to own guns.
But it’s impossible for me to read into the current situation in the US and say, “Ya know what? Americans should just keep doing what they’re doing. Eventually, this will all die down.”
It never does.
With the recent shootings in Maryland, Florida, last year’s Las Vegas shooting, going all the way back to Columbine and even further, it’s clear that America has a problem.
Conservative commentators and outlets often point to a gradual reduction in homicides and gun crime (although there has been a spike recently, especially in large cities, like Chicago). Broken homes are another target of many of these people. Mental health is also pointed to as a reason for many shootings.
Sorry if you’re getting all linked out, I just want to show you that I’m not pulling everything out of my ass.
Anyways, I think these are all valid subjects to look into but I have a couple of problems with them.
- If you’re going to blame mental health for gun crime, then you’d probably have to support increased spending for mental health, which either means increasing taxes, turning America’s healthcare system into a single-payer format, or both. Few American conservatives support these initiatives.
- It’s a way of avoiding the real issue, which is people using guns to kill others.
Now, I will say that despite my current argument, there are some mistakes those on the gun control side make when arguing for it, simply because they are less likely to own guns or know as much about them as people who do own them.
- Gun-control supporters advocate for banning automatic weapons, and often point to the AR-15, which was used by both the Parkland and Vegas shooters. This gun is semi-automatic, just like a handgun.
- Handguns are used far more often as a murder weapon. Perhaps makes some arguments about controlling these guns instead.
This being said, I don’t want to diminish the argument of those who are sick of the gun violence who point to certain rifles as the problem. Besides, they have been used in mass shootings, which is what people have been up in arms (no pun intended) about.
Perhaps the most striking thing about the gun control debate is how much we think about the small scale of these crimes and not their nature.
I’ve seen people write and speak about how you’re more likely to die in a car accident than from a mass shooting.
This is true. You’re also more likely to die of a heart attack or be killed by someone you know.
But these kinds of arguments ignore how people are targeted in mass shootings — randomly.
While there is sometimes some reason for it, the people who are shot are rarely killed for anything other than being an easy target. Unlike say, drug dealers who are killed by other drug dealers, victims of mass shootings cannot avoid being shot. These people, rarely live in crime ridden areas (so they have no way of knowing that they are in a dangerous area), and they are not involved in criminal activity, or at least not in a sense that determines the reason they are shot.
No. These are people shot by psychopathic thugs and could not do anything to prevent themselves from being targets.
Whether they are targeted for being black or being white, or any other arbitrary designation, people who are victimized by mass shooters do not become victims for engaging in any risky or unlawful behaviours.
And it’s this extreme level of undeserved, random, and intentional punishment that rightfully makes people fear mass shootings more than gang violence or car accidents, despite the higher likelihood of being killed in these fashions than from a mass shooting.
People have zero control of their own destiny when it comes to mass shootings.
If your wondering when I’m going to discuss the parallels between terrorism and mass shootings, the answer is now.
As much as people like to ridicule the “thoughts and prayers” that come from many gun-rights supporters, many of the same anti-gun people said the very similar “Pray for Paris” and “Je Suis Charlie,” and other phrases of “solidarity” that are meaningless phrases that avoid the one thing many of these terrorist attacks have in common — Islam.
And this is because of partisanship.
Some people are completely devoted to one side of the political spectrum and thus, cannot criticize their own side when they are wrong or even provide an inkling of understanding to those with different views.
So, while I read social media comments from anti-gun people as they accuse those in the NRA or worse, Americans of not caring about child safety, I wonder about a few things. Mainly, what do they think about Islam? And I also think this about those who want to ban Muslims after another terror attack occurs. What do they think about mass shootings?
I wonder about these things because predicting political views these days is about as easy as predicting that another Islamist terrorist attack or American mass shooting will occur.
Those on the left usually are against guns and for Islam, and those on the right are for guns and against Islam.
So, when I read Facebook comments about the Maryland school shooting and how much Americans prioritize guns over children on an article by the left-wing, British online newspaper, The Independent, I think to myself, “I wonder what these people think of their own countrymen? Do they, as British leftists, also oppose Islam with the same tenacity? I mean, do Brits care more about being tolerant than being safe? What about their children? Do they not care about them? What about the Telford and Rotherham grooming gangs? Are these people ok with their own daughters being raped and turned into addicts? Are they more worried about being politically correct than they are about their own safety?
Of course they aren’t. Just like Americans don’t want to be gunned down by vengeful assholes. Pro-gun arguments and Pro-Islam or Pro-Muslim immigration arguments run deeper than that. The vast majority of Muslims are not terrorists and the vast majority of American gun owners don’t shoot people.
This doesn’t mean you can’t argue against their opinions. You can argue for gun control without hating gun owners or taking everyone’s guns. You can also argue for tighter, more selective immigration policies without hating Muslims or banning their faith from being practiced in your country.
And yes, I know that there are people who are both anti-gun and anti-Islam or pro-gun and Pro-Islam.
But these people are rare because the political spectrum doesn’t work this way. There are certain issues that are clearly supported more by certain sides than the other.
Ultimately, nuance is lacking on people devoted to either side of the political spectrum. Fortunately, some people follow facts more than partisan narratives.