So much to write about, so little time.
Anyway, I wanted to follow up on the tragedy in Aurora, since I said I would. We’re coming up on two weeks since the shooting happened, and we’ve been distracted by other things. The Olympics (I’ll be much more productive next week. I’m not nearly as into track and field as I am into swimming.) Romney’s Griswoldesque bumbling around Europe, and the battle between the Muppets and Chik-fil-A (I’d wonder if I spelled it right, but it’s not like the company cares about spelling or grammar) have served to move the public consciousness away from the shooting. But the issue is too serious to just let go.
In my last post, I played with the armed-citizen scenario for dealing with a random mass shooting. Basically, I don’t want our policy for protecting the public to be based on the idea that a random armed person will be present and able to maintain the presence of mind to pick out an armored target in a darkened, crowded, smoke-filled theater with a loud battle on the screen and panicked people trying to escape and then successfully shoot him effectively enough to not be met with a burst of assault rifle fire.
You see, each element that we add to that scenario takes it farther from the sanitized safety of the shooting range or even defending the familiar terrain of one’s home against an intruder. It’s a scenario that would give the most elite marksmen pause.
I don’t want to trust the safety of my family to that kind of random chance, and for those who would say that my family’s safety is my responsibility, I don’t want to trust that safety to my ability to perform under those conditions, at least not when there are other options.
Of course, the question must be asked. What kind of options? Well, gun control laws, of course. And therein lies the rub, not because no one wants them, but because the gun lobby, primarily the National Rifle Association puts abject terror in legislators. They are prepared to accuse anyone who supports even the most rudimentary regulations as, not just someone they disagree with, but as an agent of tyranny. Not only that, but the rallying cry of the gun lobby seems to threaten? promise? armed resistance should our elected representatives pass a law that the gun lobby deems to restrictive, whether the courts agree or not. You know it. You’ve seen the bumper stickers or the footage of the late Charleton Heston. “You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold dead hand..”
Don’t get me wrong. I think most gun owners, the vast majority, are law abiding citizens, and are not plotting armed rebellion against our elected government. But, when you combine the fear that the NRA puts into legislators with their rhetoric and money, we get to a point where it is an act of supreme political courage to even suggest discussing gun control. Is that not a form of tyranny in itself?
Maybe it’s time to break the chains of that tyranny. Maybe it’s time to ban assault rifles and high capacity clips. Maybe we need to close the gunshow loophole or require training and safety certifications. At a miminum, maybe it’s time to at least discuss it.