I told a reporter colleague in Pashawar, Pakistan, a few months ago I couldn’t imagine what it must be like to wallow in the chaos of madmen shooting up schools full of kids on a regular basis while the government stood by doing pretty much nothing as massacre after massacre destroyed innocent lives across the nation.
I don’t have to imagine it. We’re living it right here in the United States.
Instead of perverted and gruesome Taliban gunmen, our schools, colleges, theaters and malls are being terrorized by a wide range of equally lethal madmen. This week, the butchery was in Umpqua Community College in rural Roseburg, Oregon. In Peshawar, the people have longed begged for help in defending their children from insane gunmen. And the government there has said it will scrutinize the problem and figure something out. It’s impotent bordering on incompetent and corrupt, being influenced and twisted by a host of selfish interests.
It’s the same thing here, where gun interests push elected officials around with fear, propaganda and money.
In choosing wire photos this morning to accompany a story about the Roseburg shooting — which sounds almost exactly like a long list of recent shootings across the United States — even the gruesome and sad pictures look the same. There’s the president and other elected officials looking sad and angry. There’s the local law enforcement officials looking shocked and angry. There are the tearful friends and families of the dead and wounded. There are the candles in cups at night at the first of what is certain to be a few vigils in the future. Next will come the crosses, the teddy bears, the flowers and placards at a make-shift memorial.
And what comes after that is the sickest part of this tragedy. The gun nuts and the gun-challenged will move in and explain that the government can’t solve this problem. They’ll say that we can’t infringe on the god-given, flag-waving, camo-wrapped, commie-hatin’ right to arm ourselves to the teeth and hope for the best.
This is the best, America. This is as good as it gets. The past few years and hundreds of gun-violence victims have made it perfectly clear that it’s going to get worse. The more of us gunned down, the harder gun-control critics wrapping themselves in the Second Amendment and political extortion fight to keep everything just the way it is. In fact, Groups like Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and the NRA are trying desperately to repeal the few, weak gun controls that Colorado has. They don’t want any limit on how many rounds a machine-gun magazine can fire. They don’t want restrictions forcing those who buy guns from private parties to have to pass background checks, the same as they would if they bought a gun at Walmart. And they’re desperate to oust state and local officials who disagree with them and install their own pawns to get the job done.
It’s a different spiel but with the same dismal ending people in Pakistan face. The gun nuts and the politicians scared to death of them here are turning America into third-world chaos. We’re nearly there.
These misled and misleading misfits had the gall to, repeatedly, tell me that gun restrictions and controls would have done nothing to prevent the loss of 12 amazing people and the maiming of another 70 at the Aurora theater shot up by James Holmes on July 20, 2012. These people are lying to themselves and to you by telling you that if Holmes and the Oregon shooter hadn’t been able to easily collect an arsenal of military-like deadly weapons, that they would have killed just as many and just as tragically with machetes or dart guns.
It’s a crazy, tired and sadistic pack of lies that a long list of cowardly politicians from city hall, through the the state Capitol, across to Washington and even the White House perpetuate with the same efficiency and results that cowards in Pakistan spout off to the terrorized citizens there.
They say there’s just nothing the government can really do about it. We’re on our own, and in fact, many suggest that we all arm ourselves, arm teachers, let everyone carry hidden guns and shoot it out when your time comes. They suggest that people such as Roseburg shooter Chris Harper Mercer wouldn’t have gone through with it if he’d thought someone might shoot back. It’s the twisted logic of a third-grader. As if someone crazy enough to shoot up a school is going to be sane enough to worry about return fire.
I would love to say that enough is enough, but clearly it’s not. There are too many Americans that buy the crazy Kool-Aid being poured out in millions of dollars of campaign contributions, propaganda and Facebook memes that want you to believe that guns don’t kill kids, colleges kill kids.
The sad and pathetic sheriff in Roseburg responding to the tragedy was sadistic in saying that he would not say the name of the shooter aloud because he probably wanted that kind of fame. That, folks, is the best he things we can do. Jump on the bandwagon of not naming murders in a well-meaning but meaningless attempt to stop shootings by robbing murderers of notoriety. Mother Jones yesterday revealed that the sheriff had written a typical gunner rant to the White House a couple of years ago, saying he would not enforce gun controls if passed because they don’t do any good. No doubt he’ll stand behind his threats, because that’s the kind of guy he is. His love of what he thinks the Second Amendment means is worth so much more than the kids who died in his hometown and the thousands of others who have or will as we dust ourselves off again and wait for the next nutcase to shoot up a school.
These gun-rights liars will insist this wasn’t a gun problem, it’s a mental health problem. No duh.
Like there has ever been a shortage of crazy people on this planet, across this country or sitting in cushy chairs in Congress. The problem stems from sick and crazy people being able to set themselves up as professional armed terrorists within a few hours and with the blessing of the NRA and their army of political hit men, go anywhere, armed with just about anything, any damned time they please. And they shoot up schools.
I’m all for regular mental health screenings for anyone who wants to buy or already owns a gun. Of course that means you have to register your guns. And you tell me how many of these rabid gunners would actually make it as poster boys for good mental health in America? How rich would that be to see a few thousand of the Second Coming for the Second Amendment lose their gun permits because they aren’t psychologically fit to have access to the arsenal they harbor.
Not going to happen. And so, we can adopt Peshawar, Kabul and Aleppo as sister cities to those like Aurora, Newtown and now Roseburg — places that we once saw as so foreign and now so familiar.
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