July 20, 2012 14 Comments
One of the most surreal things of today is just scrolling through my FB feed and seeing links to story after story about the horrible murders in Colorado (Adam Gopnik: “it dignifies them to call them a ‘tragedy’”) while there’s other posts about kids earning blue belts, boycotting Chik-Fil-A for lunch, and dogs sleeping in laundry baskets (I don’t begrudge these standard posts the tiniest bit, it’s just a very surreal juxtaposition of horror a mundane existence). I’ve already read a fair amount of commentary on the Colorado shootings and so far I really love Adam Gopnik’s which really just comes out and calls our gun culture to task:
The reality is simple: every country struggles with madmen and ideologues with guns, and every country—Canada, Norway, Britain—has had a gun massacre once, or twice. Then people act to stop them, and they do—as over the past few years has happened in Australia. Only in America are gun massacres of this kind routine, expectable, and certain to continue. Does anyone even remember any longer last July’s gun massacre, those birthday-party killings in Texas, when an estranged husband murdered his wife and most of her family, leaving six dead?
But nothing changes: the blood lobby still blares out its certainties, including the pretense that the Second Amendment—despite the clear grammar of its first sentence—is designed not to protect citizen militias but to make sure that no lunatic goes unarmed. (Jill Lepore wrote about the history of the Second Amendment in The New Yorker recently.) Make sure that guns designed for no reason save to kill people are freely available to anyone who wants one—and that is, and remains, the essential American condition—and then be shocked when children are killed…
Only in America. Every country has, along with its core civilities and traditions, some kind of inner madness, a belief so irrational that even death and destruction cannot alter it. In Europe not long ago it was the belief that “honor” of the nation was so important that any insult to it had to be avenged by millions of lives. In America, it has been, for so long now, the belief that guns designed to kill people indifferently and in great numbers can be widely available and not have it end with people being killed, indifferently and in great numbers. The argument has gotten dully repetitive: How does one argue with someone convinced that the routine massacre of our children is the price we must pay for our freedom to have guns, or rather to have guns that make us feel free? [emphasis mine]
Also, a nice post from Weigel on the politics. I don’t hold out much hope for any of this changing in my lifetime or the next. Guns are such an ingrained part of America’s culture. And short of a genuine changing of our culture anything we do policy-wise is likely only playing at the margins. And more innocent people are going to die. And that’s a damn shame.