Looking Down the Barrel

Even a tragedy as horrible as a school shooting no longer warrants civility. Absent from the national discourse regarding guns, and gun control is reasonable perspective. The internet has given rise to mediocre personalities spewing constitutional hyperbole and an utter lack of understanding of a topic in which they profess to possess an expertise.

In the minds of those awarded the privilege of speaking to the American public about socio/political propositions, it can be only all or nothing, black or white. So it is with guns. But how can we have a rational discussion about the second amendment when those whom we turn to for reason are themselves, irrational? To make matter worse, as it always does when people derive their information from biased, unreliable sources, the crazy is trickling down to the public.

Recently I made the mistake of trying to find — within my circle of influence–  a common ground for reasonable people to begin a discussion, in the hopes that somehow the margins might be brought in from the extremes. As a law abiding citizen and legal gun owner, I thought that there must be some commonality between the lunatic fringes. Certainly there had to be people whose sensibilities allowed them to fall on the gun issue somewhere between the government forcibly disarming the populace, and allowing everyone to have their own predator drone.

So I began with the premise that no matter what anybodies feelings were about guns, and gun control, that we should all agree that *ILLEGAL* guns should be addressed. I thought that would be a good way to begin a rational discussion. So I thought.

Little did I know that I — a legal gun owner– am akin to left wing loony Piers Morgan on this topic. Assailed by NRA activists for even suggesting that any guns or gun sales be scrutinized, even the topic of illegal guns seemed to be prohibitive to their second amendment rights. The Only answer that the far right gun nuts would accept, was to arm every law abiding citizen so that they can either deter, or shoot it out with their criminal gun nut counterparts.

Also unbeknownst to me was that President Obama had a secret plan to take everyone’s guns away despite the reality that this administration has made it easier to purchase, and travel with firearms. Yet despite the facts, the panic was palpable. As it turns out, the NRA makes millions from the panic they create. Dumb, camouflage wearing people buy lots of guns when you tell them that they soon won’t be able to.

You see, the NRA is a gun lobby, not an activist group for the rights of American citizens. It doesn’t  give a damn about the second amendment, or anyone’s liberties anymore than the oil lobby cares about the environment. They are concerned about gun sales, and nothing else. The second amendment is merely the worm on the hook the NRA needs to get support  from the proletariat so that legislators can take their money without it costing them their jobs in the form of voter retaliation.  

But lost in all of this  far left/far right gun mania is that innocent people –American citizens– are being helplessly gunned down all too often. These are tragedies, not rope to have a political tug O’ war with. We’re having the wrong discussions, because people are making money from our collective anxiety.

The reality is that the causes for gun violence are more complex than any of the talking heads on cable news, or our unimaginative politicians will acknowledge. There is no one explanation that causes someone to shoot their fellow citizens for no rational reason. The blame has been spread around from too many guns, to not enough guns… from a culture desensitized to violence to a lack of proper mental health coverage… and from the changing landscape of parent/child relationships to the sugar and salt rich American diet resulting in millions of cases of undiagnosed depression.

To some degree, it’s probably all of the above. But the thing is, that offering a reasonable perspective won’t get socio/political entertainers the clever sound bite they need to stay relevant into the next news cycle. So they blather wingnut platitudes in the hopes of having their media appearance turn viral.

… and it comes at the expense of solving problems, and ultimately people’s lives.


About Rich Woods

Rich Woods is the author of the critically acclaimed books, UnLearn Vanilla Marriage, and Yahweh to Hell. He is also a columnist, sociologist, and satirist who has performed seminars around the country. He's also made several TV and radio appearances. Transitioning from a blue-collar background has given Mr. Woods a unique perspective --and an even more unique elocution--among his peers. Raised Catholic, Mr. Woods is now a very public atheist who champions the separation of church and state. He's an advocate for non-traditional relationships, including --but not limited to-- negotiating non-monogamy, as well as being a vocal opponent of political correctness. Throughout his career, Woods has had colorful metaphors hurled in his direction from both liberals, and conservatives. To be honest, most of the vitriol comes from the Tea Party. However, he considers one of his greatest accomplishments having been called "Harry Reid's Lapdog" , and referred to as being "just like Rush Limbaugh" from two different sources within minutes of one another. Originally from Queens, New York, and presently residing in central New Jersey, Rich Woods is madly, and hopelessly in love with his wife Jane since before they were wed in 2002, and is the proud father of two successful, brilliantly creative, young adult children. Try as he might, he can't juggle.

Posted on January 14, 2013, in Recent Posts, Socio/Political and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I have a suggestion that will probably make a huge difference, but will probably not be done.

    In 2005, the latest year I found data for, some 68,000 NICS checks were denied. This means one of two things. Either a mistake was made, which happens but is rare. Or, the person attempting to purchase a weapon lied on his 4478, which is a felony.

    Only 68 of them were prosecuted.

    How many of the unprosecuted 68,000 managed to get a weapon by some other means and went on to commit a crime with it?

    THIS is probably a really good place to start enforcing the laws we already have, instead of passing new ones that won’t accomplish anything.

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