There is no do
by Jon Worley
A guy walks into a crowded theater and empties all the guns he can carry (at least until they don't work anymore). How can we make sure this never happens again?
We can't. You can't pass a law against being an asshole, and you can't pass a law against being insane. You can pass a law banning all guns, but that's just not going to happen in the U.S. Any half-assed attempt to limit the sale of guns is unlikely to go anywhere. And a precisely-worded law banning certain types of guns will be outdated the second it is signed.
I could fulminate against the insane positions taken by the NRA, but there's no point. A lot of folks really believe that they need a small arsenal to protect themselves against the government, even though recent examples of such people (Ruby Ridge, Waco) didn't go so well for the people holed up against the man. Hell, even Butch and Sundance couldn't do much against the Bolivian army, which wasn't as well-armed as your local police precinct.
So we've got lots of crazy people walking around. Some are crazy about guns, some are crazy about God and some are crazy about the sex lives of other people. Some folks are crazy about raw meat, some folks are crazy about snakes and some folks are crazy about Jane Austen. Those last ones really scare me. Some nights I lay awake in fear of someone standing outside my house and reading Pride and Prejudice over a loudspeaker. Well, one night I did. After getting a paranoid contact high from reading Hunter Thompson. But still.
What do we do when crazy people do crazy things? We move on. How do we stop crazy people from doing crazy things? We don't. We live in a country of more than 300 million people. Even if only one percent of one percent of the population is certifiably insane, that leaves 30,000-plus crazy people out there. The world is cranking its way toward eight billion. That leaves room for millions of crazy people.
And what, exactly, is a crazy person? Someone who wants to kill in order to feel the power of life and death coursing through his (and in this case, we're almost always talking about guys) veins? In ancient times, those were the people who signed up for the Crusades or what passed as the military. They got to do their fair share of killing and pillaging (this includes such savory activities as raping and torturing and such) without anyone batting an eye. We're so civilized now that such things are considered crimes today. And if you want to engage in such activities within the bounds of our society, then folks might call you crazy. They'll certainly lock you up and throw away the key--if they don't whack you first.
We live in a society where people expect to die in peace. That's good. But blood lust hasn't been eliminated by human evolution. We just don't accept it as "normal" anymore. And that's good, too. Yeah, we might want to eliminate as many tools of mass murder as possible. The U.S. and Russia are, through attrition more than anything else, cutting down their nuclear weapon stockpiles. Chemical weapons are officially banned, though not completely eliminated. We could ban all firearms in this country. But I don't think that's possible or even reasonable right now. So we do what we can for the people that are hurt, and we move on.
I'd love to fulminate about the idiocy of owning a handgun. Hell, I have many times in the past. But that's an old argument that isn't going anywhere. And I'm tired of all the nonsense. The gun freaks won't let go of their guns, and there are more guns in private hands in the U.S. than there are living people. So even if sales of new guns are banned, the supply of used weapons is almost inexhaustible. If a group of kids managed an ultra-Columbine and wiped an entire school off the face of the earth using nothing but .38 Specials, there would still be a sizable minority in this country who would claim that such a tragedy could have been avoided if we gave 13-year-olds the right to carry concealed weapons. I'm just not in the mood for that type of bad craziness.
So. Be sad. Feel for people who lose loved ones to senseless violence--wherever that violence might be. Find a way to love someone whose views you abhor. Cool your own temperature when you hear something that pisses you off. You won't prevent any more tragedies like the one in Aurora, but you will make your life (and the lives of those around you) better. In the end, that's about all any one of us can do.
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