Answer the damn question.
It’s a simple “yes or no” answer.
But somehow, no one can simply answer it.
Not lawmakers. Not the NRA. Not gun manufacturers. Hell, not even many of us.
Do you love your guns more than you love human life?
Yea or nay?
Apparently it’s one of the toughest questions in American history. No one just says “yes” or “no.” Any answer comes with various caveats and diatribes. It’s why the aftermath of every mass shooting in this country follows this vicious circle:
“Sentimentality is always the mark of cruelty and dishonesty.”
I heard this from a commentator on a major news network. And that above picture is the perfect example of it.
You see, if you’re like most Americans you think it’s horrible. You feel bad. You want to say something. But doing something? That’s a bridge too far.
I never give “thoughts and prayers.” Not about mass shootings. Not about terrorist attacks. First of all, I don’t believe in God so….what the hell do prayers do coming from me? I focus on the “thoughts.” Why did this happen? How did this happen? What can we change to prevent it from happening again? I go on Facebook after something like this to talk to people. To debate. I’m not an expert. I don’t have all the answers. I want to hear from all sides. I want change. I want ideas. I want solutions.
But it’s time to bring up that old adage,”If you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem.” Folks, many of us are part of the problem. How do you know? Well, if you answer the damn question above using one of these incredibly stale taking points, you, my friend, are part of the problem.
- “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” No, that’s actually what they’re made to do. Kill something. Automobiles are meant to transport us from one location to the next. And when tens of thousands of people started dying because there are so many cars on the roads, the entire country banded together trying its damndest to prevent as many auto-related deaths as possible. And yet, somehow, we believe weapons of murder can’t possibly be regulated to save lives.
- “Don’t take my guns.” No one is taking your guns. It’s against the Constitution. But we can legislate which ones you can have or how many you have. Justice Antonin Scalia said so. Sorry about that.
- “We don’t have a gun problem. We have a mental health problem.” Yes, we have a mental health problem in this country. But tell me, o great “Warrior for the Mentally Ill,” what are the solutions you fight for to fix this problem? Right now, the only one I hear is, “Give me more guns so I can shoot these people when they lose it.” By the way, studies show we could cure all major mental illnesses and mass shootings in this country would drop…..a whopping 4%. Whoa.
- “I need my guns to keep myself and my family safe.” Again, I have no problem with you owning a gun to protect your home. However, this shouldn’t shut down the entire debate over gun control. We have a mass shooting epidemic in this country. When we start having a “Strangers with guns raping and pillaging middle-class suburbia” epidemic get back to me.
- “Criminals don’t comply with gun laws.” No shit, Sherlock. Hence the term “criminals.” Should we not attempt to make it tougher for them to get guns? Somehow, we want to make it as hard as humanly possible to exercise our right to vote and as easy as humanly possible to exercise our right to bear arms.
- “People who want to commit suicide will find a way.” Fake news. Gun accessibility plays a huge factor in our suicide rates. Studies show only 3% of suicide attempts by drug overdose actually end in death compared to over 80% of suicide attempts by gun. And most people who survive a suicide attempt never try it again. You may as well just say, “I don’t care if the crazies commit suicide because I can’t sleep unless I’m spooning my AR-15 at night.”
- “Chicago. CHICAGO!!!!!” First of all, Chicago doesn’t even have the highest per capita murder rate in this country. Secondly, I know your heart bleeds for all those gang on gang shooting victims. Please send thoughts and prayers.
- “We need to get rid of gun-free zones.” Just stop. A study of mass shootings between 2009-2016 found only 10% of all mass shootings happened in a truly “gun-free” zone. The school in Parkland, Florida had two armed guards. Just stop.
- “We need to arm teachers/we need to pay ex-police officers and veterans to stand guard.” Have you met my mother? She’s a former teacher, a great one. She cared about her students. But she would be the worst person on the planet to arm. You may as well just put snipers on the surrounding roofs. Plus, most of you won’t pay one dime more for teachers salaries or pencils and paper for the students. But somehow you’re willing to pay thousands of dollars more for security upgrades? Oh, one more thing–if you’re not a teacher, shut the hell up.
- “We need more good guys with guns to combat bad guys with guns.” Hey, genius, most of these people get their guns legally. You know what that means, right? It means most of these people were good guys with guns before they decided to become bad guys with guns. See what happened there.
Now that we all agree to never use these phrases again, let’s have a real conversation so something like this never happens again. I am begging you, pleading with you, to please open your mind and let go of tired dogmas, myths, and outdated beliefs. 16 year old teens who spent a Wednesday afternoon at their high school hiding under desks as a gunman killed classmates and teachers are begging, pleading, crying out for us to help. This problem really isn’t about mental health or criminals or guns. I don’t want to take away your guns. I would prefer not to add more gun control restrictions. But we are left with no choice because many of us refuse to look at ourselves and realize we’re the ones that need to change. We argue it’s a mental health issue yet refuse to restrict gun access to the mentally ill, change HIPA laws, or pay more in health insurance for people to get help. We believe violent movies, music and video games glorify gun violence but overlook how our mass fetishization of firearms does the same. We blame parenting while forcing parents to spend more time at work and less time at home actually parenting. We tell our children hard work can help them fulfill their dreams while hardly working to prevent the next shooter from gunning down those dreams.
In one of my countless Facebook debates, I told someone he offered no solutions, only saying “it’s something we can’t control like mental health or parenting or not following laws and therefore we should do nothing because I love my guns soooooooo much more than someone else’s kids.”
His response: “Yes, I love my guns more than other people’s children. Because they’re not my children.”
At least he had the guts to answer the damn question.