What Do We Do?
Two right-wing eliminationist Infowars listeners shot two cops in Nevada. The cops were oppressing everyone by eating lunch, and the Alex Jones acolytes covered their bodies with Gadsen flags, screaming about the revolution.
Some rancher out in Nevada won’t pay his bill to the government for the privilege of having his cattle graze on land held in the public trust. A bunch of Alex Jones types weren’t going to let the federal government essentially stop this man from being a deadbeat.
A company is going to sell bullet proof blankets for kids to use during school shootings. Because ours is totally not a third world country and this is totally not a banana republic in which we live.
All the freaks who scream about how the “other” (fill in your own blank for that one) are dragging real America down don’t realize that they have it backwards. It’s not illegal immigrants or Obamacare or black welfare queens or gays or N0bummer himself who are turning this country into a third world backwater.
Instead, I’d argue that our creeping third world status is brought about by the people who believe lawless wild west gunslingin’ justice should act as a template for contemporary society. It’s the notion that a “good guy with a gun” – and they sure as shit don’t mean a cop – is the only thing that stands between you and a “bad guy with a gun”. The cops in Nevada – they were armed. A shooter in Washington State – he was subdued with pepper spray. While he was reloading (remember how the NY SAFE Act limits magazine capacity?)
But the best we can do is to throw a kevlar blanket to a kid and say, “play dead?”
Let’s just cut through the bullshit. An armed society isn’t a polite society; an armed society is a dysfunctional, failed state.
Oh, but SWITZERLAND!!1 Right?
Let’s pretend for a moment that a comparison with Switzerland is apples to apples. Let’s make-believe that the libertarians don’t really mean Somalia when they’re describing their dream governmental structure.
I’ve spent a lot of time in Switzerland. I have family who lives there. Switzerland is an officially quadrilingual confederation with better schools, better social services, better foreign policy ideas, better medical care, better access to medical care, and excels at just about anything it touches. Switzerland is a wealthy and law-abiding first world functional state. Less than 8% of Swiss live below the poverty line – in the US it’s 15%. Unemployment in this country with a private health insurance mandate is 2.9% – in the US it’s 6%. The Swiss have this whole “functioning society” thing down pat. They do share our mistrust of foreigners and immigrants, however.
The Swiss are armed, because they have what we call a well-regulated militia. And the Swiss know from regulation.
And they own their extremely well-regulated guns to protect their country – not to overthrow their Cantonal or federal governments because some asshole on the radio decided there’s tyranny afoot.
If Sandy Hook didn’t convince you that we have a serious problem, or if the almost weekly spate of mass shootings didn’t convince you, I don’t know what will. Instead, we have a bunch of guys carrying semiautomatic rifles into Target and Starbucks, because arglebargle.
Maybe the $100 billion annual cost to taxpayers from gun violence will convince you, if nothing else.
Will stricter gun laws make a difference? I don’t know. 50-state uniformity would be nice. Expanded background checks would be swell.
What about expansion of mental health services – that’s the one the gun people like to highlight. Ok, folks. I’ll go for that. But you realize you have to pay for it. You have to set it up right, run it properly, and fund it adequately. Given the ease with which Obamacare was passed and implemented, please don’t insult my intelligence by pointing to “mental health treatment” as the answer because you know and I know that you don’t want to pay for it.
How about legislation that allows, say, the families of the slain Las Vegas cops to sue Alex Jones and his corporate empire into bankruptcy? Oh, I’d love to see guys who yell “fire!” in the most crowded of lunatic theaters every single day have to pay for the natural results of their incitement.
What do we do?
I don’t know.
But what I do know is – whatever we’re doing isn’t working.