Update at the end of the post
It is easier for a crazy person to get an automatic weapon than healthcare in America.
- Shannyn Moore, Moore Up North
So, America, here we are yet again.
Another mass killing.
Another hellish scene of smoke and blood and murder.
Another day of death and pain, panic and terror.
Another dozen people shot dead. Children. Young people. Sixty more wounded, gut shot, shot in the head, shot through the lungs, bones shattered, flesh torn. Bleeding, hurting, crying, some will die, some will live. People we knew gone in a second, torn apart, destroyed, changed forever.
Another hundred American families grieving with loss and concern, a nation left shaking with fear, left wondering why? How?
Another murderous bastard with a bag full of semi-automatic weapons and a score to settle.
Yet another bloody horror.
It’s a horror that has become all too common here in America.
It’s a horror that while it still shocks and appalls us, it is no longer a surprise.
What’s that? Oh yes, another grinning nut with a stupid haircut and a personal arsenal of automatic weapons killed some people? Tsk tsk terrible isn’t it? Oh and they caught him? People say he was a nice guy, quiet, kept to himself, kind of odd but, man, didn’t see this coming, no Sir. Here’s a picture of him smiling like a crazy guy, look at those eyes, they’re crazy eyes, anybody could tell he was going to snap. He probably tortured small animals and has his grandmother’s head in the freezer. It’s the parents’ fault you know, for not raising him right, for taking Jesus out of the schools. It’s the doctors, why don’t they get crazy people off the street? It’s the goddamned police, they’re never around when you need them. It’s the government. He’s probably a veteran, you know, those guys are all on the edge. Oops, gotta go, Dancing with the Stars is on…
Day before yesterday, James Holmes walked into to a packed Colorado theater, apparently through an unlocked emergency entrance, and started shooting. Reportedly he was dressed in ballistic armor and carried several weapons, including a semi-automatic pistol (or maybe two), a rifle, and a shotgun. He apparently set off a smoke or gas bomb and then got down to the grisly business of killing random strangers. He was caught a couple minutes later in the parking lot behind the theater and surrendered without a struggle to the police.
And now? Well, now we Americans will go through the same old oh so utterly predictable dance.
Stage One, Confusion:
Mass killings are still big news. I have no idea how much longer this will be so, Americans quickly grow bored with sequels. Unless the next act of mass murder is done by a guy in a Bruce Willis costume shooting a chain-gun from the back of a crashing stealth fighter in the middle of Times Square, I suspect that eventually we’ll just stop watching. Some guy went bonkers and killed a bunch of people? Yawn, I’ve seen worse. That’s just so suicide bomber. Ho hum.
However, for now, mass murder is still the number one news show money maker, guaranteed to pull in a Forty-share.
Problem is, there’s just not enough actual information about the event to fill up the airwaves.
Nobody really knows anything.
But Americans aren’t interested in facts and they’re for damned sure not interested in waiting. So, over the next few days, until America loses interest, the news outlets will each issue at least three versions of the story, all different, all mutually contradictory. Accuracy doesn’t matter, being first is what matters.
You’ll get interviews with at least four witnesses who didn’t actually see anything, including at least one middle-aged hypochondriac who wasn’t actually there that night but saw a movie in the same theater two days before and had to be hospitalized because she was traumatized by the close call.
You’ll get interviews with at last three former victims who weren’t there but were near similar events and whose stories are now somehow relevant.
You’ll get earnest opinions from two experts in fields completely unrelated to anything that transpired in Colorado, and CNN will interview at least one former Air Force Major who was stationed in Qatar during the Iraq invasion and now teaches law at a small Woman’s college on the East Coast.
Eventually, each news outlet will trot out their one remaining gray haired genuine distinguished Newsman, and he’ll opine on the miserable state of journalism in this modern age – then he’ll condemn all the other stations for getting it wrong.
Stage Two, Speculation:
Since there isn’t any real information and by the time there actually is America will have completely lost interest, the important thing is to fill up the media channels with something. News anchors, talk shows, bloggers, pundits, and the endless ill-informed mouth-breathing Yahoo commenter will each and all put forward their opinion:
The shooter is a liberal. It’s all part of a plot by the America-hating tree-hugging, New World Order to make peaceful, patriotic gun owners look bad, then Obama will send Interpol in their sissy blue UN uniforms to take away our guns. Oh noes! To the bunkers!
The shooter is a Muslim. Of course he is. You just can’t trust those people. They hate America. He probably thinks he’ll get forty virgins in Paradise for every American he killed. We should kill all the Muslims.
The shooter is a member of the NRA. He’s a gun nut. Those guys are all crazy with their gun shows and gun magazines and gun clubs and guns. We should outlaw the NRA.
The shooter is a member of the Tea Party. Sure. They hate anybody having fun. They hate young people. He probably figured the theater was packed with liberals.
The shooter was just fed up. He was an Illegal alien. Probably Eric Holder’s brother in law. He was probably abused as a child, born again, a member of the Occupy movement, gay.
By the time the sad truth comes out, if it ever does, that he was just another nut listening to the voices only he could hear, nobody will care. The only thing Americans will remember, is that James Holmes is yet another sterling example of whatever political point they’re trying to make at that particular moment.
Stage Three, Comparison:
Speaking of using this sorry event to further particular agendas,
The conservative channels will start running footage of Columbine, Fort Hood, and Waco. The liberal channels will start running footage of the Giffords shooting. None of those things really has much to do with the current horror, but they are images of bodies and blood and bullets and that’s what counts when you’re explaining how this event is what happens when the End Times are nigh or civilization is on the brink of collapse. It’s important to associate this mass murder with other horrible events in order to shape public perception in the proper manner.
All channels will talk about Bath Salts and Reefer Madness and that face-eater guy. There’s no indication as yet that Holmes was high, but then again there isn’t any indication that he wasn’t either.
And, of course, there’s the PTSD and, you know, we should expect more of this kind of thing as veterans start to come unscrewed. Especially if they were bullied as children. Or abused. Or into comic books. or Video games or Porn.
The simple truth of the matter is that you don’t walk into a theater and start shooting people unless you’re, at least to some degree, nuts. But that’s just not enough for us, is it?
Homes can’t just be nuts, it has to mean something. Somehow.
However, all of this, Steps One through Three are just the warm up act. Next we get to the main event:
Stage Four, Blame:
It’s Batman. Violent movies and violent video games and rock and roll music. That’s what it is.
It’s bad parenting, this guy’s folks should have their asses kicked for raising a psychopath. But since we can’t do that, we'll punish his family by having every single news agency in the world camp out on his mother’s front porch, and we’ll ask her important questions such as “what are you feeling right now?”
It’s the Liberals with their liberalism, their political correctness, their socialist agenda, their coddling of criminals. Sure.
It’s the Conservatives with their conservatism, their guns and their bibles and their callous disregard of the human condition. Of course it is.
It’s the Me Generation, these selfish little bastards, always with their hands out, me me me. It’s social media, it’s Twitter and Facebook and those self centered bloggers looking for attention. It’s the video games and the Atheists and Fast & Furious and bad teachers and Obama.
The politicians and their supporters will all, each and every one, gleefully make hay. Oh they’ll all, each and every one, wax poetic over the dead (with the exception of certain predictable pundits who’ll insinuate that the dead had it coming for being unprepared and unarmed and ungodly), and they’ll even wipe away sorrowful bitter tears and pause for a moment in patriotic remembrance with the flags waving and crackling the cold breeze at just the right camera angle, and they’ll condemn the other guy for politicizing the tragedy, and then they will make just as much political hay out of this as they can because somebody is damned well to blame for this mess. And it sure isn’t going to be them, no sir, it’s the other guy and his un-American agenda.
Somebody is responsible.
Oh sure, James Holmes might have pulled the trigger, he might have planned it all and bought the guns and built the bombs and put on the body armor, but somebody else is to blame.
Stage Five, Bang Bang Crazy:
And so we’re finally down to the perennial American argument:
Guns don’t kill people, crazy people with guns kill people who don’t have guns.
So, we should ban all guns!
No, wait, if we ban all guns then only people with guns will have guns so they’ll kill the people who don’t have the guns and then there will only be people with guns left and then they’ll kill each other because if you ban guns only people with guns will be criminals and when the government comes to get our guns only the criminals will be free because liberty equals guns. Also what about bears?
OK, then we should give everybody guns!
But if everybody has guns then even criminals will have guns and brown people and yellow people and illegal people and people who don’t love Jesus will have guns and they will break into our houses to steal our guns and rape our women and eat our babies and take our liberty so then police and the military will need bigger guns to keep us safe from those people but then we’ll need even bigger guns because otherwise we won’t be safe from the cops who will use their guns to take our freedom.
OK, well then how about a reasonable common sense compromise?
We all agree that as Americans it’s our basic right to keep and own firearms. But also, some people really, really shouldn’t be allowed to own even a Nerf slingshot, let alone a machine that can punch five hundred fist sized holes in a room full of people in under a minute. How about some background checks, waiting periods, and some kind of reasonable way to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, terrorists, and crazy people?
What! Communist! Nazi! How dare you? Second Amendment! Second Amendment! Every red-bloodied true blue American has the God given right to own a fully automatic meat-grinding bone-shattering blood-spattering high capacity killing machine if they want to, the Founding Fathers said so! USA! USA! Dead kids? Mass murder? That’s the price you pay for freeeeeeeeedom! Besides if there had only been one, just one, god fearing patriot with his own concealed meat-grinding bone-shattering blood-spattering high-capacity peacemaker in that theater, why he’d have stood up and donned his genuine American made night vision goggles and fired up his laser-sight and he would have put that animal down right goddarned there! To Hell with Batman, give me a Glock Nine and an extended mag any day.
Also, we need more Jesus.
Stage Six, Acceptance:
By the time it’s determined that the shooter was just plain nuts, most Americans will have long since changed the channel and forgotten about it.
Meanwhile Congress, ever eager to do something, will ban super-hero masks and squirt guns in movie theaters and require Marvel to put warning labels on comic books.
Nothing will be done about the real problem because nothing can be done.
But the Second Amendment will be safe and that’s what counts! That’s the price you pay for freeeeeeeeeeedom: crazy people with guns.
If the Government comes to shoot you down in a movie theater, well, boy, you’ll be ready.
Besides, it probably won’t happen again.
Stage Seven: Déjà Vu:
And so it goes.
Nothing, and I mean nothing not even religion or abortion, generates the hate mail that any article on guns does.
Based on the frothy mess clogging my inbox, some of which I’ll publish in the next post, the NRA should spend some time teaching classes in reading comprehension, writing, logic, and basic punctuation, but I digress.
As I’ve said here many, many, many times, and will obviously have to say many, many, many more times: I’ve spent my entire life around weapons, all kinds of weapons – some of which you can’t even imagine. I helped design, field, and test weapons. I likely know more about weapons and their use than any other ten people you’re likely to come across. I wrote US military war fighting doctrine regarding certain weapon systems. I own guns, all kinds. I”m rated an expert shot with either hand. I teach guns. I’ve taught guns for nearly 30 years now. I used to shoot professionally. I spent my entire life in the military, in warzones around the world. I have a Concealed Carry Permit and an FFL. I know something about guns.
I’ll tell you something: the ignorant, illiterate, and cognitively challenged gun-nuts who trolled this site or spammed my inbox over the last two days are the very last people I would allow on my range or allow to handle weapons anywhere near me or mine. Seriously. These Rambos are fucking insane.
These people have taken the Second Amendment and perverted it all out of recognition.
Here’s a sample from some “Patriot” on a forum that linked to this post:
“Horrible events such as the one last week, last year in Tuscon, or 13 years ago at Columbine, are part of the price that comes with the individual right to keep and bear arms and the inability of our government to disarm the populace which is essential to ensuring that the people of this union will never again be returned to being the subjects of, or subjugated to, a despotic and tyrannical government.”
I’ve got a hundred emails here and comments that I deleted from this post that say exactly the same thing, i.e. the kids shot dead in Aurora last week are the price of liberty, of freedom, so that these lunatics can carry guns.
Seriously, you’ve got to be shitting me.
Who the hell thinks like that?
I know a little something about the Constitution too, including the Second Amendment. I’ve read every word of the Federalist Papers. I’ve got a pretty good idea of what the Framers intended and I’m pretty sure that they would be appalled by that quote above. They certainly didn’t mean that we had to risk our our kids getting their brains blown out every time they want to see a movie, or go to school, or meet their congressman. In fact, the idea was that we could live in a country where we didn’t have to worry about getting our brains blown out all the time.
As I’ve said elsewhere, I’ve been to Somalia, I’ve been to Iraq, I don’t want to live there.
However, for the record, the post above does not, repeat does not, advocate for or against any additional laws, regulations, bans, or any other form of gun control.
What I actually said was that all the arguments were oh so tediously predictable.
What I said was the usual folks would call for gun control.
And in response the usual folks would scream about Nazis and fascism and explain why nothing ever can work and how dead kids are just the price you pay.
And that is exactly what is happening, because that’s what always happens.
Both sides are perfectly convinced that they are right. That’s it and that’s all. Period. No compromise. No no no. End of discussion and fuck you, Liberals. No, fuck you, Conservatives.
You cannot reason with unreasonable people.
People called me a cynic, but as I predicted, exactly as I predicted, here we are, in the same place that we always are. Yes, I’m a cynic on this subject, because for thirty years, since the lobbyists and the the Neocons took over the NRA, it is just the same old thing. Nothing changes. More dead, more blood, same old thing.
We can’t even have the conversation.
And nothing will change.
And so it goes.