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Should Progressives, Shot Down on Gun Control, Embrace the Dark Side?

By       Message Robert S. Becker     Permalink
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Headline at Huff Post today:

"Interest In 'Gun Control' Is Fading, Google Data Shows

As usual, people appear to care in the days following a major shooting -- and then they lose interest"

Well, that was quick, less than a week. Okay, hardly a scientific survey, but why should the latest, unspeakable carnage disrupt what's blatantly set in political stone? The gatling gun free-for-all remains untouched -- whenever, whoever fires what arms, however horrific or vulnerable the victims. Reality be damned, with one GOP doofus indicting last week's corpses for not fighting back -- what with chalk and erasers?

Whatever, time to deal with it: dreaming of gun reform is one tragic dud, "dead in the water" with the same awful consistency as innocents dead in classrooms. And I don't say this just to provide cover for Bernie Sanders. Gun advocates have won day, the season, and the next two years -- and what fixated pollyanna keeps hitting one's head against the unmovable wall of the church of the NRA? After all, this is no sudden ambush or showdown at not-OK corral: the unified gun industry pulled it off, leveraging scare tactics, Constitutional distortions, gerrymandering and the historic oddity of awarding each tiny state two Senators. That's turned out well. Locking down the system, gun partisans own the courts plus the state and federal decision-making powers -- lock, stock, and barrel. And that's no metaphor.

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Link Guns to Sex, Energy/Climate Education

When we internalize the gun fixation as the overarching Yankee sacred cow, time for reversal and cool-headed deal-making. Progressives, arise, before we become a nation of armed camps. Why not consider support for early, universal gun education (and of course practice) if gun defenders fully endorse 1) early, scientific education on sex, gender and procreation, even safe abortion options, and 2) early education that teaches what our total energy usage really costs (the full "externalities" of fracking, coal, nuclear and oil, war charges included). No need to glorify anything, just show the basics of modern realities on guns, sex, and our oil-driven, geopolitical foreign wars. Seems like a fair exchange to me.

Look, the alternative to enlightenment is equipping every short-waisted munchen with bullet-proof vests -- or handing out six-shooters to six graders as rites of passage, like confirmations or driving privileges. We teach the young about avoiding diseases or menaces rife with danger, like opening mysterious exe. files -- why not show them how not to get gunned down? Imagine the latest fashion: stylish, junior-sized protective vests, good against sucker punching by your buddy, too.

So, what's the moral downside to teaching a fact of modern life? Guns are here to stay, zealous staples of American home life. Isn't that why those fun-loving owners call it "gunplay"? And the NRA deems shooting a "sport." With fatal firepower showing off its mighty prowess every week, we already have the backdrop: kindergartens feeling "shock and awe." What's wrong with knowing which gun fits which target, or improving facility in loading, cleaning, and locking your gun away from the curious or the deranged? Like younger siblings? Hell, why not video game apps for target practice?

That way, when guns are eventually mandated, if schools don't go extinct, for all teachers, principals, coaches, guidance counselors, and janitors, staff is certified on the first day of school. Remember your last frumpy guidance counselor, that earnest model of tunnel vision, now armed to the teeth with a six gun, maybe more. Who knows today which students explode -- or what array of threats will head towards your head?

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Guns Vs. Collegiality?

I just heard an interview with a University of Texas economics professor resigning not because he fears having his head shot off. He strongly rejects the atmosphere of tension, thanks to bizarre Texas carry laws, that pervade college campuses. He was full of bizarre, obsolete notions that conspicuous guns just doesn't foster the healthy and safe give-and-take of higher education. He even linked guns to lower impulses and emotional excesses, not spritely intellectual exchanges. What a dinosaur. Gosh, imagine two strident militants, one an atheist and the other driven by God to take out abortion doctors -- wonder how long "mere talk" will last?

In short, what progressives favor -- rational, humane control over the surge of shiny, modern totems, pushing well beyond 300+ million guns -- is a greater long-shot than Sanders winning both the presidency and handing Democrats the Senate. Reform appears a fish fantasy, a political fools' errand when even heaps of slain tots don't shock enough adults. My idea could break the ice and makes more sense than turning schools into fortresses or arming every skittish teacher to defend against global terrorism. If we can't deal with the real causes, this pragmatist declares, we might as well confront the most painful symptoms.

Let the next generation resolve the psychic damage to our youngsters. Why not condition all our youngsters just like our tough-minded, pioneer forebears did. Threats were everywhere so everyone who could walk learned to defend homestead and family. Is it not either/or, that is, either we retrieve and destroy tens of millions of guns, with exceptions for hunting rifles strictly limited to fire only once a minute), or havoc continues over tuna sandwich school lunches? Either we forget about registration and monitoring purchasers, which only idiots apparently obey, or mass murders proceed with abandon. We're rapidly getting beyond where buy-backs or liability insurance per gun are workable, even "outlawing" new gun purchases (whatever that means) don't promise solace in five, let alone ten years. There's a century's worth of guns at large, many beyond public reach.

All About "Life-skills"

So, as this primary season elevates the "art of the deal," what's wrong with this comprehensive, win-win solution? Why not teach potential victims how to handle guns and snappily replace that six-clip? Why not award school laurels to winners who instantly get bullet-proof vests in place? For advanced, if quick-moving students, why not after-school sessions on confronting armed shooters, mastering the "art of rushing, then disarming maniacs armed to the teeth and keen for blood"?

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For a decade, Robert S. Becker's rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, messaging and frameworks, now featured author at OpEdNews, Nation of Change and RSN. He appears regularly at Dissident Voice, with credits (more...)
 

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