19 December 2012

The Time to Talk About Gun Control Is After The Voice Is Over

In the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, everyone is being totally cool and avoiding politicizing the tragedy by saying things like, "It's time to have a conversation about gun control", or "If we hadn't kicked God out of schools, this wouldn't have happened".

I realize it's controversial and edgy and dangerous and full of bad-boy charm to start a debate so soon after an indisputably horrific and sad event. It might seem opportunistic but I'm going to come right out and say it: I'm against people killing other people.

Now, OF COURSE, I mean that I'm against American people killing American people, and OF COURSE it's totally cool if American people kill people from other countries, as long as the people from those other countries have it coming or are inconveniently in the way or we just sort of feel like it. This debate is a domestic one. Like, the motherfucking Cleavers domestic.

We're familiar with the good ol' NRA slogan, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people." And they're not wrong! Forget gun regulation— we need people regulation. That seems clear and straightforward to me, so like a good pundit, I'll leave it be. I'm sure there's no way to construe negatively the suggestion that deciding who gets to be a person and who doesn't should be done by lawmakers, or anyone.

So, people regulation aside, we need to talk about the causes of all violence— not just gun violence. Let's look at some options:
  1. Everyone who does violence must be mentally ill.
  2. Everyone who does violence must be evil.
  3. Everyone who does violence must be mentally ill and evil.
  4. Sometimes a non-evil, mentally healthy person does violence.
Ha! Obviously, that last one is a joke. Just trying to lighten the mood with a little levity.

ANYWAY, if it's the first option, let's just fix mental health care, which I had no idea was a thing. And since it's mental health, I'm sure we can just give folks some sugar pills and light psychological jargon and send them on their way.

The only problem is if someone doesn't want treatment, or to even be screened and potentially diagnosed. Obviously, it's the responsibility of someone who cares for them to judge that they're not in their right mind and force them into treatment. At gunpoint if you have to. And once everyone's normal, we won't have any more violence!

BUT, what if the real cause is the second one? I mean, fucking hell, how'd we get so much evil around here? Probably because we won't let an omnipotent God who's unconcerned with human laws and human rulers into our most sacred, most underfunded institutions. I bet God showed up late (because he drives the posted speed limit) and then was forced, or coerced, to wait outside while the shooting happened, utterly incapable of intervening.

We need to start teaching the Bible again. People need to learn the examples of the heroes of our Judeo-Christian heritage. Like Moses, who murdered a dude, or David, who murdered a whole bunch of dudes, and had one dude killed just so David could bang that dude's wife, even though she wasn't totally into it. Oh, that reminds me, there's way too much sex around, and sex is connected to violence, for reasons that are too disgusting to discuss the details of here. But I guess regulating sex is all part of regulating people, right? PROBLEM SOLVED.

The point is, let's put an ever-present God where he belongs: everywhere. Once everyone follows the same arbitrary social norms, i.e. handed-down-from-heaven morality that we're conveniently calling "God", we'll have gotten rid of violence. Because Christians are never violent, so everyone should just be Christian. There are probably no problems in implementing this plan, not from the First Amendment, and especially not from how well it always works making people do what you want them to do! Seriously, though, if they give you trouble, put a gun to their head.

And if we're talking option 3? Seems like a pretty slim chance to me, since you'd have to get Democrats and Republicans to agree on it, but whatever, you bleary-eyed idealist. I guess if it's option 3, just line 'em up against a wall, because that's hopeless.

What's important, more important even than what the underlying causes of violent tragedies might be, is that we don't let this sort of horrific event divide us. It doesn't matter if you believe there are too many crazies, or too many devilsies, or both, or the fourth option— that even normal people can do unspeakable things— HAHAHA, oh I couldn't keep it together, that joke's just too good. Seriously, normal people doing unspeakable things?! HAHAHAHA, ah, it feels good to laugh again.

ANYWAY, what I was saying is that we shouldn't let tragedies divide us. What we can agree on is that  the best way to cope with mass shootings is to create a separate category, be it "mentally ill" or "evil", to put people in so that they're not like us. We'd never want to think of ourselves as violent— it's just the mentally ill or the evil who are. As long as we're not mentally ill or evil, it's totally safe for us to have all the guns we want— which is, by the way, all the guns— because we're not the violent ones.

You remember when I said what we needed was not more gun regulation, but more people regulation? Good news! As soon as you relegate "people" to categories like "mentally ill" or "evil" so that you don't have to face the violence you yourself perpetrate, you're already doing the work of people regulation. That's why we can't be divided. That's what makes America great!*

One last thought, on the role of the media: give these guys a break, OK? They're not overhyping and overplaying the tragedy. They're focusing only on high-profile tragedies so that we normal people don't have to think about the fact that the United States has a firearm homicide rate at least 20 times higher per capita than other countries who are similar economically and politically. The media, in this instance, are helping us define the categories of "mentally ill" and "evil" by allowing us to avoid situations which would suggest gray areas exist, or that so-called normal people commit heinous acts.

HA! Sorry, I couldn't resist getting one more in there. ANYWAY, sleep well tonight, knowing that only the mentally ill, or the evil, or both, are the ones who commit violent acts. Also, sleep well because you've got guns under your pillows.**

*After completing that sentence, I fired off a couple rounds in the air, Yosemite Sam-style.
**Which is your God-given right, and why I just fired off a couple more rounds in the air. Hang on, there's some police here. I bet they want to celebrate, too.