Wednesday, February 21, 2018

NRA / Republicans Look Like The Bad Guys After Another School Shooting, And There's a Good Reason Why

I kind of feel sorry for the NRA and its political action group known as Republicans. I am sure the NRA thought that mass shootings would just be a fad back when they began. One mass shooting every few years is, simply put, good for sales. Terrorist attacks, high crime rates, and insurance policies taken out on loved ones are also good for sales. The problem is that we've done such a good job as a nation to thwart terrorists and investigate insurance fraud, so it's mostly the fear of crime and mass shootings that drives the sales of guns. These new gun purchases, of course, lead to more crime and more mass shootings, and now we're stuck in this Catch-22. We all want guns to protect ourselves against all the other lunatics who have guns. But we also want to blame someone, and it's finally going to be that time for the NRA, gun manufacturers, and the Republican Party. Here's why.


Donald Trump
The Republicans can't control their own president. He is a joke, and they know he's a joke. He's ruining the party, yet they're trying to stick with him. He's handing them losses and close races in places that usually vote red. He's a metaphor for the NRA. The NRA is about individual rights like Donald Trump is about being a good human being. Most people who voted for Trump KNEW he was a clown, but he was a clown saying what they wanted to hear. The Republicans had to accept him, since he was the clown who might defeat evil Hillary. But now we have a flippin clown running the country, and everyone knows it, as if we took all the worst qualities of the party and put them into one person. If the Republicans elect a caricature to be our leader, then all of their decisions can come under more scrutiny. It's like a magician who decides to slowly show you every trick. He can't then try to perform a show for you without you just shaking your head. Donald Trump has, in one year, given up every trick of the Republican Party in a way that could ruin it forever. Up until now, I used to analyze politics and say that if the Democrats wanted to win, they should be more like Republicans because Republicans always said the right things, stayed on message, and were excellent at winning real debates without name-calling. Just think about that when it comes to Trump.

The Amendments
I hate to even mention Donald Trump any more, but he has questioned the First Amendment. But the Amendment argument is more about the intent, and we're getting dangerously close to having to re-evaluate the Second Amendment, especially in relation to several other Amendments. For example, the Fifth Amendment is the Protection of Rights to Life, Liberty, and Property. Based on what people do with guns, I'd say my life, liberty, and property is a real concern, and the government, by allowing those guns, IS infringing on my rights. Even the First Amendment has been assaulted by the Second, with several churches coming under the fire of mass shooters. The Second Amendment might even trample the enigmatic Ninth Amendment. Conversely, we could look at other Amendments that just seem silly today, like the Third Amendment. Do we really need to keep an amendment about the housing of soldiers? Is it relevant today? And keep in mind that many of our Founding Fathers wanted no amendments at all, since the federal government was supposed to be weak, so you can't argue that these are all hallowed views of every good American.

And we can also look to the actual Second Amendment for its own uselessness, as it's about having a well-regulated militia, back at a time when farmers and shopkeepers would have been called on to defend us from the British. Yes, it had an actual purpose, but it wasn't about assault rifles, handguns for personal protection, or even personal rights. It was about safeguarding our country and states, kind of what the billions of dollars in defense spending, each state's National Guard, and each community's police force does for us. Basically, we've outsourced the well-regulated militia, so the rest of the Second Amendment should not apply. I'm fine with every state having its own National Guard, and if it will make all the gun lovers feel better, I'm all for letting ANYONE join up and play war games one weekend a month. Just store their guns in the local armory.

Production For Use
The time when every farmer had a gun to shoot squirrels for snacks or wolves for protection of livestock is pretty much gone. We have as many guns as people here, and we frankly don't have that much we can do with them. Sure, you can wait around for hunting season, but that's a long time to wait to feel the exhilaration of ejaculating your load at the target. When I got my BB gun at age nine from my grandma, my mom was upset. She knew I'd do something stupid with it. And I did. I shot at birds for no reason, shot at a wall and nearly lost an eye in the ricochet, and shot at items that made a lot of noise when hit. No, I never once shot at a person, but I shot at just about everything else. And I was really good, so I once shot a sparrow right through the eye as it flew, with one arm, like I was some kind of rifleman. Luckily, I felt awful about doing it, and I never shot at another animal after that, except for that raccoon that got in my attic a few years back, but I knew that wouldn't kill it. The point is that I felt the power of a gun, albeit a cheapo BB rifle. All these people with guns buy them in case they have to use them, but somewhere deep down, they all want to use them. When it was just crime we had to worry about, that's one thing, but since we have to worry about mass shootings and non-existent terrorist attacks, now people who could get by with a .38 Special revolver need a tactical advantage. And so we buy more semi-automatic rifles that even take the sport out of killing unarmed people, let alone animals. You're not a bad-ass or a hero when you own a gun. You're just a scared person who has bought into the lie that might makes right.

Fake Heroes
Americans love superhero movies. And we love first-person shooting games. And we love politicians who vote to keep us well armed. Or do we? These are all fake heroes. A real hero (in real life) would rather rescue than do harm; do good rather than evil. That's why we love the movies, which are fake because it's all scripted. So are the video games. And ads for the military. Most of us aren't heroes, and most of us would be helpless if we really had to fight against real evil, or even a misguided teenager with a gun who has been desensitized by acts of violence in movies, on television, in video games, and possibly while practicing on unsuspecting animals. Your own gun is your fake hero, too, useless if you're being targeted from a hotel room hundreds of feet away, or if it's in your glove compartment when someone starts shooting during a hymn at church.

You have to remember that the gunmen in all these mass shootings think they are the heroes of their own stories. A real hero in politics doesn't stick with the wrong answer over and over again in order to get an A+ rating from the NRA, and those fake heroes are going to finally lose because they've shown that they'll keep playing the losing hand. That's not courage; it's stupidity, and Americans have seen the veil lifted. The real heroes will be the Republicans who realize that this is ONE issue, and you can still be a Republican without that one issue. The NRA will argue that we just need to arm more people at schools, churches, parks, public places, the gym, workplaces, and wherever, trying to convince us all that we can be the heroes that stop these gunmen from making us scared of the guns the NRA fights for them all to have. But we have to overcome that fear in order to be real heroes for our children and our country. And we're finally going to do it. The First Amendment will help make sure of that. Voters can think and admit that they were wrong, unlike the Republican Party, which has adopted the Donald Trump method of telling falsehoods: deny everything or fully embrace the lie (sometimes both in the same day). That only works with really desperate supermodel wives, fellow billionaires, and ignorant masses.

We The People Dictate The Rules
The conversation starts with the real, heroic teens from Florida who have claimed they will not quit. If those kids can make it happen in Florida, where people have more rights to fire guns in public than drink a beer, then it can happen in the rest of the country. It's a tidal wave that's years in the making, and if the NRA doesn't allow its purchased politicians to settle on semi-automatic rifle legislation, then it's going to be even worse for those cowards come election time. If the Democrats have any sense (they generally don't), the party will set up a high school on wheels with all the tutors necessary to take the top fifty or so mass shooting survivors from Florida and other schools around the country to speak in every state. If Democrats stop trying to fix everyone's problems at all times and follow the Republican playbook, this could be the single-issue vote that changes everything. You don't pepper it with #metoo or LGBT or other movements. Once you get the momentum, you don't settle for more background checks, bumpstock regulation, silencer regulation and other small concessions that won't stop any mass shootings. For my own kids, I hope real change finally happens.

To be honest, I'd be mostly satisfied with handgun and assault rifle bans. You know: the guns specifically manufactured and sold with the sole purpose of killing other people. But the NRA and Republicans better be careful with this one. People are perfectly willing to give up their rights for security. We've done it with identification and surveillance, and those of us who are parents will be part of that group because our kids will ask us to do it for them. My kids already have asked me to do so, and the only reason I'm going to vote for anything right now is for that one, single issue. If you're a parent or grandparent who is a member of the NRA or votes for inaction, then you are specifically condoning the killing of people, and it's not "gangbangers" and criminals and foreigners and terrorists. It's our kids, over and over again.