Hey, remember that last gun massacre? The GOP did everything but pull the trigger
In every gun massacre in America, from five dead in rural California to 26 massacred in a tiny Texas church, from 49 slaughtered at a Florida nightclub to 600 shot in 10 minutes at a Vegas music festival, from shopping malls to elementary schools, college campuses to, well, pretty much every city, town and gathering place in Trump-ravaged America, there’s a straight line that runs from the grossly armed shooter, to the extremist GOP, to the NRA lobbyists who ‘donate’ millions to their campaigns, all wrapped in the blood-soaked lie of America as some sort of macho, pseudo-cowboy gunslinger that “needs” millions of guns to protect itself from, well, all the other guns.
Let us make it perfectly clear: The Republican Party — who, at the NRA’s behest, refuses to make a single effective change to our heartbreakingly stupid gun laws – is directly complicit in every massacre, gun suicide, dead wife, slain girlfriend, murdered family, slaughtered child killed by yet another clotted, gun-wielding male. And the National Rifle Association remains the truest terrorist organization in America, far more nefarious – and brutally effective – than ISIS could ever dream to be.
Both are full of cowards of the most warped morality imaginable, condoning and directly profiting from the indescribable suffering and pain America endures on a daily basis. Guns remain, forever and always, our deepest shame, our most nefarious false god, and our most vile excuse.
Can you prove otherwise? Can you suggest a single, valid moral purpose for such grotesque weaponry stockpiled by a supposedly peace-loving citizenry? Can you point to something of real and lasting value they bring society as a whole, how guns help us grow, help communities unite, bring families together and propel the human spirit upward? Of course you can’t.
There are those who try to argue, through much reductive mangling of logic, that America’s epidemic of gun violence is really a mental health issue. This is disingenuous nonsense. Mental illness affects every society on earth. Only America suffers gun deaths of such appalling scale.
Some say it’s all capitalism’s fault, warping our perceptions well past human kindness. Or it’s all the result of America’s endless warmongering, decades of massacring foreign citizens in the name of ‘democracy’ (read: oil, power, control), causing dark and violent lashing of the human spirit.
Maybe it’s the dark byproduct of decades of social injustice? Class warfare? Drug addiction? Is it violent video games coupled to the endless firestorm of ultra-violent Hollywood movies and TV shows that smother our hearts in revolting imagery from the time we are knee-high to a bullet hole.
It is none of those things. Or rather, it’s all of them, to a point, but they all wither under the bloody weight of 300 million carefully built, perfectly designed, specifically marketed weapons of death, more than half of them clumped together in the twitchy hands of 3% of the terrified, anxious male American population.
It’s the guns. It’s the guns. It’s the guns. Remove the guns, and all the other problems change complexion entirely. Remove the guns, and the American experiment instantly leaps forward.
It must be repeated: Every nation on earth, to some degree, shares our same social problems. Yet we are the only developed nation of such wealth and status with tens of thousands dead every year from a bullet to the flesh. We are the only developed nation that can claim a gun massacre, on average, every day of the year.
It’s the guns. It’s the guns. It’s the guns. Remove the guns, there are no more dozens of dead churchgoers, massacred festival attendees, brutalized wives, bloody schoolchildren, slaughtered club-goers, slain toddlers. Remove the AR-15 from the gnarled claws of yet another spouse-abusing white male who thinks the world needs to feel his “wrath,” you are left with, well, another white guy whining into his beer-soaked NRA pillow.
Remove the guns, and suicide rates plummet. Remove the guns, America’s dumb macho posturing collapses.
Put another way: Remove the guns, and only good things happen. Add more guns, and only more fear, hate and death come forth.
And of course, the GOP does not care. The Republicans, particularly under Trump, are perpetually terrified of offending the only core constituency they have left: the hard-right base, a reactionary, highly racist voting bloc largely controlled by calculated misinformation and outright hate speech from the likes of Fox News, Breitbart, InfoWars and the NRA.
This is why the GOP will never, in its current extremist form, support any substantial gun control, much less outright bans. Even the most mild of actions, like the ban on so-called “bump stocks” of the kind used by the Vegas gunman to shoot 600 people in 10 minutes, killing 58 of them, went nowhere in Congress. This is why they are far too cowardly to pass Sen. Feinstein’s re-proposed assault weapons ban legislation, even though the vast majority of Americans support it. Extremists rule the GOP. The NRA terrorizes everyone, with no repercussions whatsoever.
There is not a single pro-gun argument that holds any merit. No one has yet to offer a lucid, society-affirming reason that comes close to justifying 33,000 dead per year, or that makes it OK that Devin Kelly walked into a tiny Texas church and went aisle to aisle, deliberately pausing to shoot crying children, point blank, with an AR-15 assault rifle he obtained with almost zero effort whatsoever.
Do you want to argue that, technically, Kelly shouldn’t have legally been able to obtain his AR-15, because he lied on some military form? So what? This is meaningless. He could have obtained his weapon a hundred different ways. Getting a gun, particularly in Texas, is as easy as breathing. The state requires no waiting period, no permits, no registration, no license to own.
Texas worships guns. The state has some of the most lax gun laws in the nation. Its pro-NRA governor, Greg Abbott, incessantly encourages Texans to arm up. You can stand out on your front lawn in most parts of Texas and scream that aliens are invading your garbage cans and Obama was a Kenyan, and someone will hand you an AR-15, just for fun.
Abbott’s solution to 26 dead in a tiny church at the hand of another angry white male with an assault rifle? “Work with God.” Greg Abbott is as shameful as he is an embarrassment.
Let’s say it outright: You should no more have the right to carry around a gun than you should be able to walk around with a bazooka, or a flamethrower, or a bottle of live E. Coli. Why are guns legal and, say, grenades are not? That’s easy: The NRA. Profits. Angry, undereducated men. The lie of protectionism.
Ah, protectionism. The biggest fantasy of all. Every stat, every toddler death, every murdered spouse and suicide-by-firearm proves guns protect no one; just the opposite — they annihilate everything. Guns do not equal liberty, or freedom, or democracy; they equal only death. Owning one does not mean you’re some macho outlaw defying government rule. No one’s “rights” would be impinged by removing a vicious weapon of hate and devastation from the culture, just as your “rights” are not impinged if you are barred from running around town with a canister of sarin gas.
It bears endless repeating: Guns bring absolutely nothing of value to society. They do not offer progress, connection, love, community, humanity, God. They bring only shame, and more hate. They are death. They are death. They are death.
Mark Morford has been providing award-winning commentary and cultural criticism to the San Francisco Chronicle and SFGATE since 1998, which probably astounds him more than it does you. He’s also one of the Bay Area’s premier yoga instructors, leading classes, workshops and retreats in SF and around the world since 2001. Read his latest stories, follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, or just visit markmorford.com for the whole of it. Email him here.
All words: Copyright © 2017 Mark Morford/Rapture Machine, Inc.