Saturday, December 22, 2012

Real Talk: The Smoking Guns

July 20, 2012: A 24 year old masked man enters a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" and kills 12 people, wounding 50 more in a Colorado movie theater. December 11, 2012 A man walks into an Oregon mall and shoots three people before taking his own life right before police arrive. December 14, 2012 An autistic 20 year old starts shooting indiscriminately in the Newtown, CT elementary school that his mother worked at, killing 27 people including 20 small children. That may have been the last straw. Let me be clear, I was sad, I'm not anymore...I'M PISSED; A controlled pissed, but pissed nonetheless. These aren't the first school shootings by any means (Colombine, Virginia Tech, and countless others), but the shock and sadness this one causes may just be the straw that broke the camels back he it comes to changing our loose gun laws in America. As well read as I pride myself on being, I have purposely not researched or read much on the details of this incident because of the visceral sadness associated with the death of so many young children. It hit me like a ton of bricks and I'm not a parent; I could only imagine what it felt like as a parent. Two more things hit me as soon as I heard about this incident, a) This is another indication that too many guns are ending up in the hands of the wrong people, b) He just killed 27 people and noone has referred into him as a terrorist. I understand that the 2nd Amendment is virtually irreversible and is widely supported by many states and virtually every rural area. I know plenty of young people who are responsible gun owners (even some that own automatic or assault weapons); they own them, they may go to the gun range and shoot, they're around just in case of the worse but scarcely even get touched. I also know that most rural gun owners have them for the purposes of hunting or recreational shooting only and have never turned their firearms on other people. I honestly believe 90-95% of registered gun owners are not a real threat to society. The problem is that the other 5% of registered gun owners (and those who procure firearms by less legal means) are comprised of people who likely either: lead a lifestyle that increases their propensity for violence, have mental/emotional issues which increase their likeliness to "overreact" to something via firearm. Just like with insurance, law enforcement, and so many other things, the actions of the 5% make things much worse for the more responsible 95%. But rather than complaining, which won't get us anywhere, my thought process (still trying to avoid the emotion that comes with fully turning my attention to the details of this latest tragedy) immediately turns to "What can we do?". The over reactors immediately jump to "Get rid of guns in America", but I'm versed enough to realize that this isn't feasible. In rural America (which by land mass is still the majority of the country), fear that the "city slickers" will try to take their guns is a constant fear and can drive their political views and affiliations. Hell, the NRA and right wing response to this situation is "Guns aren't the problem. He was just a bad apple. If the principal of the school had had an assault rifle in his office, none of this would have happened."( I heard a similar "Arm everyone as a deterrent" from zany ass Ann Coulter in reply to Trayvon Martin's murder; SMH). If more restrictive gun legistlation is passed, their inevitable response will be "Why should I stop buying guns because of a few? I haven't broken the law." Fuck the NRA, we know they have their own reasons for advocating more guns. A friend of mine on Facebook recently very astutely compared this to saying "I'm a law abiding citizen, not a hijacker. Why can't take my knives and box cutters on the plane?". If that argument worked, I'd be at city hall tomorrow saying "I'm not a criminal, I don't want to pay the portion of my taxes that goes to funding the police force. They don't need them for me, I don't like them fuckers, and they don't like young Black men." Let me know when that shit starts to work. And this theory that everyone should be armed to prevent gun violence sounds crazy; raise your hand if gun availability seems like the answer rather than the problem. I won't lie and say I know the whole answer, but although many of my responsibly gun-owning friends won't like the fact that the late rash of violence has made me believe that non-soldiers don't need assault rifles available to them anymore. The process of acquiring a weapon should be tweaked also, maybe it should have a mental evaluation requirement as well, I'm not sure the best way to do it, but something must be done and now Obama and Biden seem to think the same. I hope they get the right people in the same room and come up with something that nudges this issue in the right direction. Feeling how I felt the day that elementary school got shot up is not an experience I was fond of and I'd guess everyone else felt the same way.

I'll only use a few sentences about the lack of terrorism profiling. I think defining who's a terrorist and who's a violent criminal gets distorted by narrowly minded regional stereotyping. I wonder if Tim McVeigh (the Oklahoma City bomber), the Unibomber, Eric Rudolph, the Virginia Tech shooter, the Dark Knight movie theater shooter, ESPECIALLY Jared Lee Lougher (He shot a politician for a political reason), would be much more often referred to as terrorist if the same actions were carried out by someone from the Middle East or Africa. When white men commit such crimes, people automatically explore the "Oh maybe he's just crazy" rather than questioning their motives. This is opposite with those from Arab or African descent, there is no regard for their mental state, their intent gets assumed as terrorism, even if the person was born and raised n the US and has no definable connections to terrorist groups. If you're premeditating and carrying out mass murder, you need to be treated like a monster; no matter what you look like. Real Talk...

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