There are some topics or events that you’d never expect to see someone make light of or mock. The very serious issue of gun violence became front & center in our nation a few days ago, and it’s as serious an issue to me as the next guy. I don’t consider it immune from the occasional joke, though, and I have in the past happily cracked wise about the gun debate here, but at the moment I’m in one of my rare moods to depart from the usual ridiculousness.
As expected, Twitter has been bustling in the aftermath of the shooting in a Parkland, Florida high school on Valentine’s Day, perpetrated by a 19-year-old lowlife punk. Among the bustle was a debate I had with a left-leaning opponent, which would end up both a bit disturbing and promising. There’s enough of the noteworthy stuff in a nutshell, so I won’t go into a great deal of detail from top to bottom.
I was moved to join the thread after said opponent, whom I’ll assume was an adult male and refer to as “B,” had posted one of those ever-popular leftist tools in the fight against the Second Amendment: a skewed statistic on gun casualties, followed by the usual “how many kids need to die…” call for action. Much of what followed was me challenging & questioning his assertions and him sticking around & shooting straight. This guy was no cynical, Nancy Pelosi-type, much to his credit.
What’s most etched in my memory is one of B’s proposals to prevent mass shootings, unbeknownst to him the equivalent of a repeal of the Second Amendment: a ban on “semi-automatic weapons.” It took me a couple of tries to make him understand he had confused semi-automatic firearms (one round fired for each pull of the trigger) with fully-automatic ones (multiple fire for each pull), which are already illegal. Unfortunately, mistaking the two is pretty common among people on the left. Unsettlingly, learning the difference didn’t change B’s mind; he still wanted to eliminate the citizenry’s best defense against robbers and rapists.
Other than that, the exchange was largely about things like the FBI’s role in the Florida tragedy, whether the problem of gun violence is being properly addressed, and the question of mental health. As expected, when all was said & done we still disagreed on most points, but it was no waste of time. Sure, we boxed a bit, but we also learned a bit. We preferred substance over rhetoric. We asked and answered questions. We had a conversation.
I won’t pretend the right isn’t home to ideologues on guns or any other issue, and never have. I will, however, make it very clear that what plagues the whole gun debate originates almost entirely from politicians & pundits on the left. Not only do they not have any solutions, they add to the problem. I’m not talking about their proposals, which are bad enough, I’m talking about their approach.
As with so many other Democrat platforms, their entire push to stop gun violence is based on a lie. It’s not about trying to stop mass shootings per se, and certainly not shootings overall. What they want more than anything else is simply more laws. As the cliché says, gun control is not about guns, it’s about control. They don’t care if nothing in the new law would have done anything to stop the crime in question, as was the case following the Sandy Hook shooting. They don’t care that there are already countless laws on the books that are either ignored or unenforced, even if they otherwise would have saved lives. They certainly don’t care to wait until all the facts are known about an incident before they start pushing. They want their gun control, period, and as far as they’re concerned, massacres like the recent one are merely vehicles for their agenda. You’d be hard-pressed to remember the last time Democrats allowed a crisis to go to waste.
We all have our specific proposals to address the issue (more focus on the mentally ill, expanded background checks, etc.), but they won’t amount to a hill of beans unless a change is made to the overall approach. I have two big-picture proposals that would be wise for members of Congress, not to mention any non-federal legislators, to adopt if they sincerely care about the gun violence problem:
1) Do not wait for a mass shooting before you campaign for or craft a law. People overcome with outrage & grief are in no position to balance the saving of lives and the U.S. Constitution. If a shooting happens, God forbid, just respond with heartfelt condolences to the victims and their loved ones, and then wait as long as it takes for heads to clear.
2) Ask the following questions:
a) What would the new proposal do that couldn’t be done by re-enforcing an existing law?
b) Which states, if any, already have something like this on the books?
c) What practical effect, if any, would it have on law-abiding citizens who own/purchase guns?
d) Does it violate any rights guaranteed by another amendment?
e) What would the cost be to federal, state, and local budgets?
f) How easy would it be for someone to get around it?
At the very least, my suggestions would be preferable to all the current hyperbole and name-calling.
That’s probably enough seriousness for now. At least that’s what the ostrich with the tattoo who helped me pick out my underwear this morning says.