Sunday, June 12, 2016

On Gun Control and American Society

All day long I've seen the same things about gun control. How if guns were outlawed or patrolled better, last night in Orlando would never have happened. I've seen people repeatedly ask the question "why do we keep allowing this to happen?" All to politicize the role of an inanimate object. That's the conclusion that I've seen people take from this.

Banning guns won't do anything. This isn't a gun problem. This is an American problem. We are a society of abuse. We abuse everything. Guns, drugs, natural resources, technology. When America went to war with drugs, that wasn't the end of drugs. It was the beginning of a new era of American crime. Nothing changed. Going to war with guns won't be much different. We'll corral existing gun owners and make those with aspirations to proliferate firearms increase their efforts. We bargain right now "its only automatic weapons" until the shooters are using handguns they bought, got licensed to use, and registered, then it'll be something else. The gun control debate's subtext is an odd retelling of "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie". It doesn't stop more shootings like last night from happening. That's the point everyone is missing.

Asking the question "why do we keep allowing this to happen?" is so egregiously arrogant that I don't know where to begin. We as a society don't have the power to stop shootings. Not now, not ever. However, we as a society do have the power to ensure there will be less people behind the trigger of those guns in these shootings. That's something we can work toward. In our schools, in our approach to family, governance, and our overall social discourse. The USA is broken. We've become a third world country where plutocracy has emerged as the economic model and religious idolatry has become a school of thought for establishing social paradigms. A place where someone can see two men kissing that it offends him to the point of shooting up a club. A place where racism and misogyny have become common attitudes. This isn't a society that should claim to reside in the free world, but it does. Banning guns won't change any of these facts. Our society abuses guns. We abuse minorities. We abuse the poor. We abuse religion. We abuse women. We abuse drugs. We're a nation of abusers. That's the USA in 2016. That's where we've made it as a society.

This is not an anti-USA post. I point these facts out because we should be doing better. The problem is that our society is already claiming to do better. The reason we 'allow' these things to happen is because it would require us to admit that we've failed as a society. We don't want to have to stop and talk about education, family, race, gender, religion, etc. It is easier for all involved to point to the piece of metal and say "it's because of that" (or not because of that). The right won't come out and say "some people are stupid, dangerous, and shouldn't own weapons" (in large part because the right's leadership mirror their constituents). The left won't come out and just admit that some people become problematic and will abuse firearms to serve their political and personal ends. It's a stalemate. Nothing will get resolved and shootings will keep happening. The war on drugs didn't work. The war on guns won't work. America needs to go to war with the problems it allowed to manifest within society. That's how you ensure another Orlando doesn't happen again.

Last night's terrible attack in Orlando brought a lot of issues to a head: homophobia, Islamophobia, and gun control. Coupled with the Brock Turner verdict last week, I've taken pause about how we digest our problems in American society. We keep wanting to point at one thing and say that's the culprit. We want to believe so badly that one decision, one change will instantly fix everything. It doesn't work that way. Life doesn't work that way. We've got a long way to go as a society. That is the only thing that everyone should be in agreement about. It is the matter of agreeing that it will take the sum of many parts and not just one action to fix things that still needs work.

With respect to the dead and the hope that their loss was not in vain,
James Khubiar