I blame guns.
Regardless of the rationale for owning one; regardless of the "glorious" history of both guns and gunplay and their stake in the emotional crutch of American exceptionalism; and regardless of the dedicated fervor of the bumper sticker N.R.A. logic spat out by some bunkered down Second Amendment connoisseur, what's irrefutable is that guns are designed for one function -- to kill,
Indeed a gun has zero capacity to carry out its intended purpose on its own, a fact upon which the "guns don't kill" semanticists rely heavily. But that's the point. Yes, guns are an inanimate, unthinking vehicle for the delivery of death regardless of whether the one holding it is an Episcopal priest or just some dude who's bat-sh*t deranged. But not only do guns shoot bullets that kill, they also serve as a surrogate provider of contrived empowerment to far too many emotionally under-endowed macho front artists whose definition of gun control is holding a pistol with TWO hands.
Fair enough. But as a practical matter, our response to gun-violence must also be grasped just as tightly. It's said that the level of a problem's solution must be above the level of the problem itself. In this case, the problem boils down to the right of unfettered ownership of devices designed for the sole purpose of killing.
My solution? Let every gun nut in America have such devices. Give them their guns -- as many of them as they like. If it makes them whole, then I say let them have all the gats, Glocks, 9-millies, and pump-shotties they want. Give them all unfettered access to as many guns of any kind that they can possibly shove into a back-pack, a pick-up, an 18-wheeler, stretch limo or one of those adorable minivans a lot of the soccer moms drive. Give the people what they want; be it a blunderbuss or one of those street-sweeping AK-47 N.R.A. crowd-pleasers.
Just make it as financially costly as humanly possible.
Chris Rock once quipped that one way to reduce gun violence would be to charge a thousand dollars a bullet. I'd go a few steps further. Why not a starting price of $500,000 per for something you might be able to fit in a derringer? The N.R.A. insists upon the unfettered availability of guns? No problem. Let the people have all the guns they want; just make it as hard as possible for the people to load them. We're talking bullet, not gun control. The N.R.A. can't have it both ways and as far as I know, the National Bullet Association doesn't exist.
As for the eventual emergence of a flourishing black market of bullet bootleggers, treat them the same as we do crack dealers and terrorists or child pornographers and runaway slaves.
Give the bootleggers their own Gitmo. Chase them down. Hound the sh*t out of them. Drone them where ever they're found whether it's Abbottabad or Manhattan. Those we capture can be displayed in see-through, bulletproof plexi-glass Hannibal Lector-like lockdowns; as much for the spectacle as for the sheer irony of bullet bootleggers imprisoned in bulletproof cages. Meanwhile, if it so happens that from time to time, the efficacy of both their plexi-glass cribs and some newly-confiscated bootleg bullets need gauging -- oh well. Just have the bootleggers huddle in a corner for a while.
If my position is that fully outlawing gun ownership would make all this unnecessary, the other side's response would likely be the familiar yada: "If guns are criminalized, only criminals will have guns." But in truth, any logic to be found in my position could be overridden by the reality inherent in that yada. It is likely that mostly criminals would have guns. But that's a reality sustained only by the very presence of guns in our society in the first place. Even so, I'm still backed in a corner because of my view that as a species, humans haven't evolved to the point of being able to trust ourselves in a world without guns. But if that view is accurate, it simply confirms the need for strict gun control laws.
Ironically, it turns out that also on Friday, possibly at the same time the shootings in Connecticut were taking place, a 36-year-old man went on a rampage in China that resulted in a nearly identical number of victims. Twenty-two children and an adult were victimized by the assailant. At last reports, none of the victims had died. The assailant, now in custody, used a knife. What if it had been a gun? What if the Connecticut shooter had a knife? How likely is it that these outcomes would have been reversed if each man's weapon of choice had been different?
Among the takeaways from these overlapping events might be the awareness of how thoroughly the slogan, "no justice; no peace" exists in symbiosis with another slogan that should emerge in this tragedy's aftermath: "no guns; no deaths." As apropos, it would be aimed squarely at the N.R.A.
The specific 20 victims upon whom this piece focuses were not polarizing public figures nor were they social or political ideologues who perhaps lived by the sword. These were mere children, some barely old enough to process what was occurring around them. More than anything, it's the ages of these innocents that renders so utterly vile, the often selective libertarian-ism of those so mind-numbingly resistant to any form of gun control.
Children are to be shielded from gun violence, yet, the perspective of our Second Amendment fundamentalists seems likely to presumes that twenty dead kids amounts to anecdotal evidence -- not confirmation -- of a gun problem. Friday's victims? Just collateral damage in the causality loop of their cherished "Guns-R-Us" culture, not the game-changing tipping point brought on by an event so jarring, so difficult to conceptualize that once again "everything changed."
How many kids killed in one fell swoop of Glock madness is enough to change minds?