The shooting in Aurora, Colorado this past Thursday has gut punched us all.
I can tell you that it’s especially hit the Film Geek community hard. For us, a movie theater is a holy place and this act of butchery is the ultimate desecration.
And there is no denying that these mass shootings are becoming less an aberration and more like the norm. Hell, they’ve become so prevalent that one of the victims of this shooting was a survivor of a previous attack.
People who survive a mass shooting only to die in another mass shooting are victims of not only violence but irony.
It’s clear that something needs to be done. It’s also clear that the NRA wants to make sure nothing gets done via Dan Froomkin at HuffPo. (H/T to David Neiwert at “Crooks and Liars”.)
The message here should be clear, said Kristen Rand, legislative director for the Violence Policy Center, a group opposed to gun violence. “You put a military level of firepower in the hands of civilians, and this is the natural result,” she said. “The lesson that other countries have learned is that you have to restrict access to these instruments that allow people to inflict so much injury and death so quickly.”
Specifically, Rand said that “high-capacity magazines, whether they’re in a pistol or an assault rifle, are the common thread in every major mass shooting in the U.S. going back to the early ’80s.”
But many politicians are responding to the shooting with pieties rather than policy proposals.
According to Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, there isn’t anything wrong with showing sympathy, but there has to be more. “You have to question how genuine that sympathy is if it’s not accompanied by talk about solutions to the problem.”
Opponents of gun control have a powerful rhetorical argument in their arsenal. “The gun lobby is very effective at saying that ‘Now is not the time to exploit these events for political purposes,'” Rand said. “Their goal is to delay so that the pressure comes off of policy makers, the immediacy fades and everyone turns their attention to something else.”
Gross agreed. “That’s the arc that these things always take and they know it,” he said.
But, Gross said, the “now is not the time” argument would only be genuine “if history showed that there ever is a time to discuss the role of gun policy in preventing these tragedies.”
The NRA’s basic reason for existing is to exert political clout to keep gun laws from becoming restrictive.
An incident occurs that seems to make the argument that we need tighter gun laws.
The NRA makes the argument that we should not have the discussion because politicizing the incident would be disrespectful to the victims.
Yet not discussing the issue assures that gun laws are not changed thus assuring the success of the NRA’s stated political goal of keeping gun laws from becoming restrictive.
Therefore, precisely and Q.E.D, the NRA’s stated desire not to see the incident politicized is revealed to be, a political tactic to assure the non passage of tougher gun laws!
It’s realizations like this that make me want to shotgun a can of Hershey’s Syrup
If there is one thing that I have learned in the last few years, it’s this. everything is political. And every choice you make is a political act.
You decide to shop a locally owned store instead of Wal-Mart because you want to keep your money in your neighborhood. That is a political act.
You decide to go vegan and grow your own food because you don’t trust BigAg. That is a political act.
You say you hate politics and politicians and yet you drag yourself to a local planning commission meeting and bitch about the potholes in your street? Congratulations, you have committed a political act.
As we become more and more aware of the effects that our actions have on the world, the harder we work to become more mindful of our actions. Speaking for myself, my MacBook Pro went south on me a couple of months ago. Instead of replacing it with another Apple product, I got an Acer Netbook because I did not wish to give Apple my money until they worked out their supply line issues in China sorted out. The upside is that I believe that in my small way, I sent a message to Apple to get their house in order.
The down side it that the damn thing freezes up if I have more than three web pages open and I have to deal with Norton Anti-Virus again. Something that I haven’t had to do in years.
Not happy about. But I accept the tradeoff.
The issue is not do we want to Politicize this event. The politics are already there. The issue is do we want to use politics to fix this problem or forcibly ignore it.
Whether or not you believe that tougher gun laws are necessary, the idea that we can’t even have the public debate out of respect for the victims is ridiculous.
The survivors don’t wish to have this happen again. Simply because they have no wish to get caught in another crossfire.
And the dead do not care.
They are too busy being dead.
EDIT: 8:00 P.M. Cross Posted at the Daily Kos.