Ok, so someone shot up a country music festival in Vegas. I’m horrified but not surprised. We as a country care less about a person’s access to mental health treatment than their access to guns. The end result isn’t surprising anymore, but it is horrifying. As a result of that horror, a clamor is already up about gun control, with the predictable anti-gun control people clamoring back. They say, It’s too soon. Well, It’s not too soon, it’s overdue from the last fucking time we had a thing like this.
Getting out in front of the Right Wing parade, we’ve heard Bill O’Rilley issue what is essentially a shrug in a long form text format. “The Second Amendment is clear that Americans have a right to arm themselves for protection. Even the loons.” Here’s something I learned about Bill O’Rilley a long time ago. He shot off his mouth about something – doesn’t even matter what it was and I can’t remember at this point – and was wrong and called on it. His response to that was essentially, “Oh that? Yeah, I was just bloviating.” I’ve got a fairly extensive vocabulary but I’d never heard the word “bloviating” before. So, I looked it up. It basically means going on like a pompous asshole with very little meaning but lots of self-serving words. From this I learned that in Bill O’Rilley’s world it’s perfectly fine to be completely and unambiguously wrong as long as you are an asshole while doing it. O’Rilley is not a dumb guy and he knows he’s wrong here. But that’s ok, because he’s also being an asshole.
The second amendment says nothing about self-defense. The second amendment says precisely this: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Clear as fucking mud, eh? One can interpret that a few ways. My favorite is that it means everyone has a right to join the Army. Even gays. Everything in that text talks about the security of the state, not the person. In fact, that’s exactly how it was interpreted until 2008 when the Supreme Court in a 5/4 decision (Heller) decided that it meant a right to self-defense even though that wasn’t anywhere in the text. Scalia, the “originalist” and “constitutional conservative” did this bit of mental gymnastics, by the way. This is not some hallowed right passed down from father to son and ingrained in the American experience, it is something that is as old as some of my favorite tee shirts. And at any rate, it also says that shit should be well regulated. ALSO the firearms that the founding fathers had any experience with were packed with a ramrod. Sure, you can have one of those, right next to your sharp stick and all those extra commas that make the second amendment so hard to puzzle out.
Getting back to the topic at hand, it’s not too early to talk about gun control, it’s too late. As of this writing it’s currently too late for 58 country music fans in Las Vegas and anyone who loved them. And anyway, this happens with such frequency and morbid regularity that it’s a topic that is evergreen. It’s always time to talk about gun control because even if it’s not in the news now, if you wait a few months it will be.
Mass murder is not the price of freedom. The founding fathers did not write a document that granted us the right to murder each other with machine guns. In fact, they were against a standing army because they feared a destabilizing military coup more than anything else and wanted to make sure people who were in state militias didn’t have their military guns taken away from them. It’s a bizarre anachronism that really has more to do with post-revolutionary America than the America of today.
We’ve already seen an example of an amendment which was repealed because the distortions upon the American society became too great to bear. The Eighteenth Amendment ushered in the prohibition of alcohol and unleashed violence and lawlessness in America. Now to be fair, alcoholism was a huge problem back then and they felt something had to be done, but the Eighteenth Amendment and it’s laws didn’t take reality into account. Moonshiners, Rumrunners, and Gangsters, all universally armed, plied a now-illegal trade all because a magnified minority wanted the entire US to be dry. The twenty-first amendment repealed that mistake because things in the streets went completely crazy. Things in the street are now completely crazy. Just because it’s in the constitution doesn’t mean it’s a great idea or should be encouraged.
We are a self governing democracy. We the people CAN say that enough is enough and demand change. We don’t have to just shrug. And nothing about the arsenal the loser in Las Vegas shot at those people was “well regulated.” We should be horrified and we should talk about gun control now or we should not be surprised when a slaughter like this happens again.
Stay Weird and Remember to duck.