The rush to do nothing

January 12, 2011

I occasionally look back toward the old stomping grounds to see what they’re up to back in PA, and of course the shooting in Tucson has come up there. It’s everywhere. I’m tempted to write back to PA about it, but haven’t yet. I have a couple samples of opinion from back east to consider, though.

An editorial in the Beaver County Times seems to write off the very people they’re writing to. After an opening remark about gun control, the writers veer off into other topics; interesting ones perhaps, but distractions if the goal is to prevent needless death.

Americans are good at collective amnesia. In a few years, if not months, Gabrielle Giffords will become, “Oh, yeah, that congresswoman who got shot.” Within a few weeks, 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, federal Judge John Roll, aide Gabe Zimmerman, and senior citizens Dorothy Morris, Phyllis Schneck and Dorwin Stoddard will have faded from the memories of all but their family and friends.

The editorial writers, presumably journalists, seem to be in the right line of work to stop this from happening. So I have to wonder, will they? Or are they giving up before they start?

If you want to talk about guns, then talk about guns. You can distract the public with armchair psychoanalysis about Jared Loughner in some other article, on some other day. You can even attempt to walk and chew gum at the same time — the paper’s big enough for both articles, eh?

I can ask these questions on my blog that nobody reads, but you bums have a platform, a newspaper. If you’re going to complain about the inevitable and not even try, what good are you.

Then there is the right wingnut sort of response I find in the letters to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Granted, I’m sure I will be able to find much the same thing in the Times. I see here all the rhetoric that is part of the problem. Let’s look at all the things this fellow, one John E. Schnatterly Sr., does not want us to do about the tragedy…since, after all, it didn’t touch him.

I don’t want days and weeks of hand-wringing and self-flagellation about what we could have done to prevent it. I don’t want despicable accusations of the media and political left that talk radio or conservatives are to blame. I don’t want congressional committee hearings looking into hate speech or gun laws.

Most of all, I don’t want any legislation passed to try to “do something about it.” This would be a gross overreaction, and it would undoubtedly chip away at our already eroding liberty. There is no amount of well-intentioned legislation that will stop a deranged lunatic who is bent on this kind of evil behavior. And, please, don’t tell me the simpleton solution that banning guns will rid us of this evil.

I figured when he said, I don’t want our “leaders” to do anything about it! that the scare quotes around “leaders” tells us all we need to know about his political views, but the rest is ample confirmation. Are these people we consider ‘leaders’ truly that? Are they not in charge, can they not write laws and compel us to obey them? Or is it a simpler matter of disrespect?

So, no. Of course a conservative would not want us to think about anything that could prevent tragedies like this. We shouldn’t look at the rest of his ilk and their hateful rhetoric. No, let’s not have any hearings about gun control. That might accomplish something. And yet, all he can do in response to that is namecall — it’s the ‘simpleton solution.’ What is simple about this travesty is the math. Do it. Tell me how many people Jared Loughner could have shot with a normal pistol magazine instead of the extended 30+. Better yet, tell me how banning guns would not stop people from getting shot! How many people can a murderous maniac efficiently kill with a 15-shot magazine as opposed to 30? Or with no gun at all, with a blade instead?

So there is no legislation that could stop this from happening? Stop, perhaps not. Limit the carnage, yes, definitely. What does he have against mitigating the damage? The Second Amendment (and associated ‘remedies’) have now been enshrined by a conservative Supreme Court, we won’t be getting rid of that in my lifetime. There’s nothing ‘eroding’ there; if anything, the right to be a gun nut is stronger than ever.

But I wonder if gun advocates have any justification for high-capacity magazines for their guns, or such easy access to guns, even multiple guns. I can imagine the initial counter, after all. Oh, he could have just bought two guns. Sure. Can you justify that? How is that good?

Tell me how society is best served by this: we can more easily acquire ammunition for a gun than we can cold medicines. The cold medicines may not be bought up so easily and used to make meth. But we can buy lots of bullets for killing people, no problem there.

The conservative response seems to be STFU. I think we can see why; theirs is a position of weakness. There is no justification for these weapons. Their purpose is murdering people. They have no business existing in our society. The right-wing notions of distrust, disrespect and paranoia towards government are what guide them here. And sadly, we can see some of the same influences in the shooter. So, weakness. And the right wing outcry of STFU.

Although I bash the Beaver County Times for writing this situation off as hopeless, I know they are probably right about that part. Democrats did pass that weapon ban back in 1994, the one banning high-capacity magazines that expired in 2004. They also remember how it contributed to them losing power back then. They got spanked for it. Shellacked, perhaps. I too would question whether they have the spine to bring back such legislation, that Republicans had no problem killing off during the reign of Bush the Younger.

The Times editors may have given up, but I at least will go down while calling out my “leaders” to make change, and calling them out on their cowardice if they refuse to try. It may be hopeless, but to be silent is to guarantee it.


One comment

  1. hehe. i read it.

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