I’m sitting here in Denver, watching local coverage of yet another mass shooting by a gun nut, this time in a theatre during a midnight screening of the new Batman movie. At this time, 12 are reported dead, 50 wounded. The televised scenes at the theatre and the arrested shooter’s apartment show police who are all heavily armed, all dressed in storm trooper black military uniforms. Only a few miles from the scene of the Columbine shootings in 1999, where 12 students and one teacher were killed, and 21 others wounded, this massacre has rocked Denver.
Just like after the Columbine shootings, the Arizona shooting where Gabby Giffords was critically shot, 8 others killed, and 9 wounded, the Virginia Tech massacre, and the Trayvon Martin shooting, there will be lots of bloviating by pundits on all sides of the gun argument. Politicos will be looking for any reason to advance their personal cause based on the personal circumstances/ideology/politics/mental state of the shooter, all trying to gain some perceived advantage over their political opponents. The fund-raising has already commenced.
My thoughts are beyond those partisan, and mostly irrelevant arguments. I’m focused on what’s happened to the United States as a country. Gun massacres are becoming commonplace. We have jingoistic politicians who have idiotically accused a loyal American with a “funny name” of being some kind of sleeper agent for the Muslim Brotherhood. We stand helplessly by as these politicians, who have signed pledges to outside lobbying groups, hold the nation hostage over ideological hot-button issues on taxes, religious beliefs, and gun politics, all distorted into a weird tapestry of odd beliefs based on myths or outright falsehood. The NRA has been so effective at controlling politicians over gun rights that we, as a nation, cannot stop gun traffic across our own borders, causing the deaths of tens of thousands of people. At the same time, those very politicians who have stripped law enforcement of the tools they need to stop the tragic violence, hold the Attorney General of the United States in contempt of Congress for purely political theatre, all centered around a twisted interpretation of the second amendment. And fund-raising.
What the hell has happened to us? Are we this ignorant/negligent that we’ve allowed our country to be dominated by radicals who fight for political power by trying to scare us into a state of constant panic, creating a Darwinian society where we actually believe that we must arm ourselves against other armed people who have scared themselves to the point that they actually believe they need to murder perfect strangers? Every politician who has buckled to the NRA’s checkbook should be ashamed of themselves. Better than that, they should all resign.
It’s time for sane adults to insist that we elect sane adults who will act like sane adults and implement sane policy. There is no reason for us to be the most violent nation on earth (except for maybe Somalia), where gun violence is the norm. There is no reason for us to spend more on guns and the military than all other industrialized countries combined.
This will only happen, though, like every other societal shift, when it comes from the people: you and me ejecting every politician who pledges loyalty to lobbyists over the good of our society as a whole. Until we do this, the violence and insanity will only get worse.
|Bob Cavnar is the author of Disaster on the Horizon.|