Time to Alienate a Large Group of People

Long time no blog, sorry about that. We’re in the US right now, visit our east coast kids and grandkids. Most evenings we get back to the hotel with almost enough strength left to collapse. Fun, but exhausting.

We fully expected things to seem a little strange, returning to the US for a visit after an absence of about 10 months, but I don’t think we were quite prepared for this level of weirdness. Not only is there the overwhelming hate, vitriol, bigotry, and fear being generated by the political campaigns, but we also arrived just after the tragic shooting in Orlando.

And people thought we were “not safe” living in Ecuador?

I’ve been terribly disappointed in my fellow humans this past week. Almost immediately, I saw the following things in social media, and what used to be called the news:

  • The shooting was the President’s fault for being weak on terror
  • It was Hillary’s fault, and the proof was in the emails she deleted
  • Benghazi!
  • This was the logical result of Syrian refugees
  • Those people in the nightclub should have had guns of their own
  • The fact that the shooter was investigated by the FBI at least twice should not affect his right to purchase semi-automatic weapons.
  • This proves Trump was right all along

The truly bizarre thing to me, is the support from the right for the shooter’s right to purchase weapons. Apparently the only thing worse than a domestic terrorist or an insane homophobe is any attempt to make it difficult for them to get assault weapons. The only thing some hate more than a Muslim is a Muslim denied a gun.

I really don’t get it.

The arguement I keep hearing goes like this: “Well, people who want to kill like this are going to find a way to do it anyway, so there is no point in making the assault weapons harder to get.” This, of course, is nonsense. Let’s say it doesn’t stop every single psychopath. What if it just stops a few people from shooting 103 innocent bystanders? Or just one? Isn’t it worth stopping some, even if it doesn’t stop everyone?

Let’s use that same argument for a few other topics and see what you think:

  • Women who want to get an abortion will just find a way anyway, so why place any restrictions?
  • People who want drugs are going to get them anyway, why try to stop them?
  • If someone wants to break into your car they will, why lock the door?
  • The Cubs are never going to win a World Series, why not drag them all out of their beds some night and beat them senseless?

Ok, maybe that last one is valid, but still, you see my point.

I’ve heard the NRA use that logic before. Trigger locks won’t stop all children from using a gun, so no point in mandating them; background checks won’t find everyone, so we can’t do them; if you limit the ability to purchase certain types of ammo, it won’t prevent all gun deaths; etc. . There’s this weird “if your solution isn’t 100% effective, forget about it.” I mean, there is even resistance from the NRA to add extra background checks on people who are on the No-Fly Terrorist Watch List! Does that make any kind of sense to you?

Meanwhile, over 300 people are shot in the USA everyday, and 90 of them die. We’re Number 1!

I have a friend who is a gun enthusiast. He was in the Navy and had weapons training. He has a wide assortment of firearms a civilian has absolutely no need to own, other than he likes them. He keeps them locked up in a very secure state-of-the-art gun safe, has all the required permits, and takes them out to clean and take to a local shooting range once in a while. I’m not into guns myself, probably just because I never grew up around them, but I understand his interest and see nothing wrong with his hobby. I’m not against responsible gun ownership.

I just don’t understand the hew and cry over making it harder for someone to buy a weapon that allows you to shoot so many high velocity rounds so quickly. If I want to drive a motorcycle, I need to pass a series of tests. Why wouldn’t I have to prove some level of competency or meet some requirements to be allowed to own a deadly weapon?

But, I have been called an idiot by people who seem pretty certain of the fact, so what do I know. Maybe the solution is to start training our kids in gun use in elementary school, probably a lot more useful than learning to play the recorder. Maybe we do need to have every man, woman and child carrying firearms on their person everywhere they go, that sure sounds like it would cut down on shootings, right? Maybe the solutions to a crowded nightclub with one man firing a weapon is to have 300 people all firing at once.

I certainly don’t have the answers. All I have is the naive wish that folks on both sides would stop shouting the same talking points, quit trying to blame everything and anyone it takes to support your own point of view, and get serious about trying to do something – anything – to make things better. Not perfect, just better.

Because we all know in our hearts, if we do nothing, this will happen again.

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