Cults, Culpability and Connecticut

Summer's End. Lexington Green, 11 September 20...

Summer’s End. Lexington Green, 11 September 2002. Photo taken in Minute Man National Historical Park. Sculpture : “Minuteman” by sculptor Henry Hudson Kitson (1863-1947), dedicated April 19, 1900. Erected 1899 : SIRIS (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Once again we find ourselves faced with horror. Our security breached, ever so briefly, at least relative to many places in the world and our hearts break just a little as we contemplate mothers and fathers burying sons and daughters. As is always the case talking heads will yammer away about the gun control debate. I use those words deliberately, “yammer away,” because reasoned discourse seems to be beyond our powers in this discussion, and unfortunately most of the blame for that belongs on one side, the side I usually find myself defending.
Some will say it is too soon to talk about it. The pain is too fresh. As my friend Aileen pointed out, however, it is never too soon. The personal is political and the other way around. Policy, and our inability to discuss it like adults personally affected over two dozen families. It visited terror on a community. It shattered the cozy little continuity of our Western privileged lives. I for one, am tired of the juvenile responses to this issue, especially whenever something like this happens.
I have always defended the Second Amendment of our Bill of Rights. I will continue to do so. Looking back on my always evolving values and view of the world, it is perhaps the one thing that has remained constant throughout the decades. Still, I cannot pretend anymore that there is some sort of equal ground on the discussion of gun control, because there is not.
Gun advocates will wail, often preemptively, whenever a massacre like this occurs. They announce their fear of gun bans in panicked, outraged voices. They make silly claims, make illogical arguments and eventually fall back on the ad baculum, as if they cannot see the irony of whining about being called “gun nuts” while at the same time making vague threats at a nebulous, non-existent foe.
Among my least favorite examples of this is the car fatality analogy they try to make. Yes, people die in car accidents, just as surely as they do in shootings. The difference, the easy to see difference, that they close their eyes to is that a firearm, by design, is made to kill. That is its only purpose. You are on shaky ground argument wise when you try to say any different.
There is so much about this that frustrates me. Most of all though it is the cult like behavior of the gun lobby and its supporters. Any disagreement is not to be brooked. Any sort of gun control is an infringement, or more to the point blasphemy, against the orthodoxy that they so zealously defend and is to be attacked with as much vigor and hatred as one would defend one’s child from a molester.
Some gun control is good. We need background checks. Do gun advocates really want convicted murderers, or people with serious mental health issues, able to easily obtain fire arms? Sure they may get them anyway, but making it harder reduces the risk to all of us. Waiting periods also help. Who really wants someone in a panic to be able to just walk in, slap down some money and buy a handgun?
What frightens me most, besides the aggressive swagger of gun advocacy, is what it could mean for our freedoms in the long run. Our inability to discuss gun control like adults, the rabid nature of the gun lobby, makes it easy to paint all gun advocates as sociopaths. The less sure our neighbors are of us, the less likely they are going to listen when we actually have a good argument.
We need the right to bear arms. Not to overthrow a government we disagree with (really, somebody get the leadership in the new Right a copy of the Federalist Papers please) but to make sure that our leaders, whether it is the captains of finance who increasingly encroach on government power, or government itself, understand that they cannot simply brush us aside if they ever decide they want to take our rights away by force. When we treat gun ownership like a religion, however, it makes it harder to convince those that do not think that is a worthy enough reason to keep the Second Amendment in the Constitution that we are right.
It is time to sit down, really talk to each other, and figure out a real compromise, and my fellow lovers of the second, it’s on us, because by and large, we’ve been the side unwilling to do so.


6 thoughts on “Cults, Culpability and Connecticut

  1. Christine,
    I am not a second amendment purist. I would love to see a real conversation around what terrorism looks like and how do we deal with it as humans. Sadly, as we profile people of color as terrorists, the evidence before us shows that white young males are the active terrorists.

  2. Pingback: Avoiding The Rabbit Hole | Hand of Ananke

  3. Pingback: Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel in the Gun Debate | Hand of Ananke

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