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Another school shooting, with 27 dead, 18 of them children. At an elementary school. A fucking elementary school.

I have now seen people rushing both to frame this in a political context and to shout about people commenting on something politically when it's a horrible tragedy. And it is horrible, and indescribable, and I cannot begin to imagine how the people in the community feel, let alone the families of the victims. I have been crying about this, about people I've never met and now will never possibly meet.

Yet I also think it's bullshit to pretend that this is somehow separate from politics and should not be viewed in that light. A tragedy shouldn't be used to score cheap, disgusting points in an argument, shouldn't be used for manipulative posturing that solves nothing. A tragedy shouldn't be reframed and distorted through the lens of ideology, just like facts shouldn't be attacked because they're inconvenient to beliefs.

But.

At the same time, politics is not an island and the availability of firearms in this country is a fucking political decision. The decisions we make as a country politically are felt by everyone who lives here, and those decisions have consequences, both bad and good. Things that happen in this country likewise should effect the political debate and should effect the decisions we make for the future. Things that make us angry, that make us cry are not sacrosanct. They are even more important because they tear at our very hearts.

Politics is about deciding what country we want to live in. It should be about having an honest conversation about problems and tragedies, and being able to stand up and say enough, this has to fucking stop.

That is not the same as politicizing.

I'm sick of writing posts like this. I don't want to have to be afraid that someone I have never met with a gun and a dearth of morals or self control or mental health will end my life at a grocery store or a movie theater or a mall, or do the same to my niece when she is supposed to be in the safest of places. And because I don't live on an island, that fear, that problem is not mine alone to solve.

Like it or not, how we solve problem together is politics.

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
danielmedic
Dec. 14th, 2012 07:35 pm (UTC)
I agree that it's inherently a political issue. My problem with immediately discussing political solutions (everything from "ban all the guns now" to "if those kids had been carrying, this wouldn't have happened") is that people tend to make very, very bad decisions in the wake of a tragedy. "USA-PATRIOT" comes to mind.
katsudon
Dec. 14th, 2012 07:37 pm (UTC)
This is also a very good point.

Though all offer on the other hand, "don't politicize this" is often a way to quash debate and then by the time people aren't all upset any more, people move on and forget about it. How often have we seen this happen with shootings lately?

Ugh.
danielmedic
Dec. 14th, 2012 08:34 pm (UTC)
True. "Don't politicize this now, but let's agree to a reasonable debate later" doesn't have much of a ring to it, unfortunately.
gookachu
Dec. 14th, 2012 08:08 pm (UTC)
here's the problem as i see it: every recent shooting has been by someone who has bought guns legally. so, the logical (and leftest) conclusion is to ban all guns. but, the problem with that is the 2nd amendment.

let me give you some history and constitutional jurisprudence on the 2nd amendment, which <.001 of the population know about.

1) constitutional jurisprudence: the bill of rights are numbered specifically. first amendment being the most important amendment, the most important safeguards to freedom, and a functioning government ruled by the people. the 2nd amendment is the 2nd most important amendment, the 2nd most important safeguard to freedom, and a functioning government. that is how the bill of rights works, and that's how courts interpret them. this is why the 2nd amendment gets such high consideration - because it was meant to be by the framers.

2) the history behind the 2nd amendment: it all starts with ireland in the 1300s. ireland was, more or less, conquered by england, and made a colony. ireland rebelled, several times. by about 1380 (sorry, i don't have my irish history text book here, so i'm guessing on dates), a law was passed that any british colony/protectorate was not allowed to carry any weapons of any sort. in ireland, and other british colonies later, this meant stick wider than a man's thumb, and longer than his arm. this also included farm implements, cos a scythe makes a great weapon.

this wonderful law allowed things like drogheda to happen (ask mike, if you're not familiar with it), and generally, cromwell raping, pillaging and destroying ireland, scotland and wales. this allowed britain to become the empire where the sun never set, because it's pretty damn easy to mow down a population when they can't even carry a hoe or a shovel to protect themselves.

britain kept this rule for every single one of their colonies, EXCEPT the americas, because america was wild, and unsettled, and had indians and bears, and other nasty things. ireland, scotland, india, areas of africa, all had civilisation for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, and so the people didn't need a gun to just walk outdoors, as you did on the american frontier.

the framers of the constitution were well educated men, who knew their history. some of them had family that had died in drogheda. cromwell's march of terror through the colonies was still relatively fresh in their minds. and, the solution to tyranny, the way to keep a government in place is to arm the citizenry, all the citizenry, regardless of who you are. it's the only reason why the US gained its independence when it did, unlike every other colony, and also why we're not part of the commonwealth. that is why the right to bear arms is the 2nd amendment - it's a safeguard against tyranny. it has nothing to do with "an armed society is a polite society," or any such nonsense. it all has to do with the fact that all governments can become corrupt.

now, ppl can look at this quaint history, and oh, how the founding fathers could have never known about the 24 hour news cycle! i'm not saying that's incorrect. but, it will take more than just "talking" about gun control. if it's the goal to get rid of all guns, you're looking at a constitutional amendment.

personally, as liberal as i am, i'm a strict constructionist, and i'm an historian. i don't support gun control without a constitutional amendment.

and, besides, it never matters how much gun control you have, you cannot stop a mad man bent on destruction. even if it's not guns, it's ricin gas, strychnine in water, suicide bombers. controlling guns is like placing a band-aid over a compound fracture.

Edited at 2012-12-14 08:10 pm (UTC)
katsudon
Dec. 14th, 2012 08:22 pm (UTC)
Well, this is pretty much the kind of discussion I think we should be having.

Honestly, I don't think a ban on guns is feasible even if I think it would be a good idea. You can't put the toothpaste back into that particular tube. But things like the assault weapons ban that expired should at least be considered.

And I've also seen a lot of talk already about things like the state of mental health care, etc, which is not related to gun control but could play as a factor.
gookachu
Dec. 14th, 2012 08:31 pm (UTC)
but, the problem is none of these massacres have used assault weapons. this one had a 9mm glock and sig sauer. gabby giffords was a hunting rifle.

you cannot sell automatic assault rifles in the US. even semi-automatic (3cluster firing) is damn hard to obtain.

it's something i find ironic with ppl going on and on about gun control: the vast majority of gun crimes aren't committed by assault weapons, but with handguns legally obtained.

personally, i don't have a horse in this race. but, i do see so much shuck & jiving from both sides that are simply lies and exaggerations.
katsudon
Dec. 14th, 2012 08:36 pm (UTC)
Gabby Giffords was shot with a glock that had an extended magazine. The extended magazine actually was covered under the assault weapons ban. So yeah, the shooter still would have had the gun, but at least he would have had to stop to reload before he fired 33 rounds.
gookachu
Dec. 14th, 2012 08:42 pm (UTC)
so, there was already a ban. that's already part of gun control. what more can you do?

i just don't understand how gun control can stop the mad man, except other than a complete gun ban. this isn't gang crime we've been talking about, this is the unhinged, lone gunman.
katsudon
Dec. 14th, 2012 08:46 pm (UTC)
The point is that there was a ban that was put in place in the wake of the Columbine shootings that was subsequently allowed to expire by George W. Bush in 2004.

Things like the assault weapons ban can't stop gun violence. But they can mitigate the damage done by a nut with a gun by preventing them from getting things like extended magazines, etc. So at least if shit still happens (which it no doubt will) the damage is at least somewhat limited.
texasfanboy
Dec. 15th, 2012 12:57 pm (UTC)
All a ban does is force gun sales to the black market.

Under those conditions, the only actual change that happens is that the government will no longer have the ability to identify who does and who does not own an assault weapon.

If a sociopath guns down a few dozen shoppers on Black Friday with an illegally-acquired AK-47, would that have made it better?

edit: Since I do live in Texas, where guns are a religion to many people, I should point this out: I don't own one, and likely never will. I have no interest in ever owning one, and I don't have the fanatic zeal regarding gun rights that is common throughout the state. I am, however, opposed to laws that attempt to limit access for those who intend to own one. The gun was merely a tool used by a madman. We should be focusing on why hhe was a madman instead.

Another thought: want to become an instant celebrity? If you gun down a dozen people, you'll be on every media outlet for a week. Maybe we should address that aspect of it, too.

Edited at 2012-12-15 01:05 pm (UTC)
katsudon
Dec. 16th, 2012 12:34 am (UTC)
The perpetrators of most of these massacres have used guns that were bought legally. So do you really think they will go onto the black market if we bring back the assault weapons ban, or will they just buy the less powerful weapons or guns with smaller clips that they can still get legally? Because reminder - the assault weapons ban was a thing that existed until GWB let it expire.

I think this is a problem with many facets that need to be addressed. I don't at all think that it's just an issue of guns. But frankly, getting better mental health care available and funding it probably has even less of a snowball's chance in hell than better gun control.
dogmatix_san
Dec. 15th, 2012 01:08 am (UTC)
I would like a better form of gun control, as opposed to a gun ban. I would like much more for there to be better access to and resources for mental health treatment. As someone put it, "if only psychiatric help were as easy to get as a gun.'

Of the two, I think gun control is probably more likely to happen than funds being diverted to help mentally ill people who badly need it. Which is just sad.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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