Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Guns: The culture will change

I won't pretend to have any great insight into why something like Sandy Hook happens, but I know that our gun culture will change. While hundreds of young people get killed every week in our streets from senseless acts of violence, the event in Connecticut seems to have struck a nerve in our body politic.

The NRA has abrogated all moral standing by remaining silent, not just this week but every week that irresponsible gun ownership leads to murder. Why did Adam Lanza have access to guns? Where are the public service announcements about locking up guns?

In an unbelievable news item from today, an 11 year-old boy brought a gun to school in Utah yesterday telling teachers that it was for his own protection in the wake of Sandy Hook. The boy placed the gun to the head of a 6 year-old schoolmate. Ammunition was his backpack.

The kid got arrested, but some adult belongs to that gun. That adult gun owner needs to go to jail. Period. They are not fit to be mingling in our society and an example needs to be made. Whoever has a registered firearm needs to be responsible about it's proper use and the message needs to be loud and clear. Whether the parents approved of the kid taking the gun or not, some adult is ultimately responsible.

I cannot understand why responsible gun owners aren't screaming about this and every instance of senseless misuse of firearms, whether it's shooting sprees in schools and movie theatres, gas station robberies, or shooting up pictures of the president for fun. Instead all we hear is the fear of the government abridging their rights or the fear of someone coming into their house or business. Fear. How about the fear that the NRA's silence on responsible behavior is putting more kids at risk?

On Saturday morning, the NRA, Gun Owners of America, and every gun manufacturer should have been on TV and radio urging every gun owner to lock up their guns. In fact, with the recent increase in mass shootings and chronic gun violence, one would think that the gun makers would have an ongoing, visible media campaign to increase awareness.  What do we hear? Silence. Granted, the nation was numb from the events of Friday at Sandy Hook, but a Sandy Hook happens every single weekend in Chicago or Miami or Oakland-- every damn week-- so the numbness should have festered into a raging fireball of rage by now.

Instead of encouraging responsible behavior, the gun makers trump up idiotic reasons for us to buy more guns, blaming Obama or Nancy Pelosi. The gun culture will change because the national consciousness has been awakened. It's not the president or the politicians who dictate that consciousness, it's us.

The real threat to gun ownership is not Nancy Pelosi; the real threat is that gross negligence is going to lead to public outcry for stricter gun laws. While it may be fun to fantasize about your "man card" or other nonsense related to your tiny penis, eventually the adults in this country will step in to protect the children... by whatever means necessary, second amendment be damned.

I have no idea what kind of laws will be passed in the wake of Sandy hook, but I know something will be done and people will be angry on both sides: either the new laws will be too much or too little.  I also know that laws alone will not change our gun culture; there is no one law or one tenet of behavior that will suffice. A new consciousness about guns-- one that does not glorify violence, does not allow irresponsibility, does not tie guns to manliness-- is necessary, and it's coming.

We can have our guns, but we will (finally) have to grow up.

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