Man, old Warren knew how to turn a phrase, didn’t he?
I’ve written about guns and gun control before, many more times than I remembered. When I did a search for “guns” on the BLog, I ended up with the six pieces linked in the previous sentence. I hadn’t realized I’d said so much.
Looking back over those pieces, I shake my head at my past self. I think they’re generally well-written,1 but often too conciliatory.
As I mention in at least one of them, I grew up in what it is now fashionable to call “gun culture.”2 Guns in the house, hunting on the weekends, whatever. So I get guns. I understand why people like them and want them and have them. As a result, I’ve always striven to be as even-handed as possible, balancing society’s need for safety with the Second Amendment rights of gun owners.
But goddamnit, something broke inside me after Orlando.
The other night, my wife said to me, “Really? Not after Newtown?” And I laid awake for hours, trying to figure out what was so wrong with my soul that I hadn’t been radicalized by the deaths of fucking children.
Don’t get me wrong: It’s not that I’ve ever been gung-ho about owning guns. As I said above — I’ve just always tried to be even-handed. This country is riven with discord and egged on by zealots of all stripes, and I guess I always thought someone should stand in the middle.
Fuck it, though. Just fuck it. I’m so sick and tired of this. I’m sick and tired of being fair to both sides, especially when one side just absolutely does not give a flying fuck.
I’m sick and tired of saying, “Hey, guys, can we just talk about some sensible, minor gun control?” and being hit with the equivalent of a two-by-four by the gun lobby.
I’m sick and tired of a gun lobby that witnesses the wholesale slaughter of American citizens and never once thinks, “Hey, we could give maybe just an inch on this. Just a single inch.”
I’m sick and tired of lawyers, guns, and money seeing to it that innocent people in this country can be mowed down anywhere, any time, for any reason, with precisely nothing to be done about it.
So fuck it. Take away the guns. Take them all. Is it unconstitutional? I truly believe it is and I just don’t fucking care any more. And it’s not because the left has gotten to me and radicalized me. It’s because the obdurate assholes on the right refuse to even come to the table in anything remotely resembling good faith. Because they refuse to admit that there’s a problem that they could help mitigate. Because at this point in our history, if you are not at least interested in the mere act of discussing gun control, you are absolutely, 100-percent objectively pro-death.
I’m sick and tired of trying to be rational with people who have zero interest in rational discussion.
The gun lobby likes to protest that tragedies like Orlando are a mental health issue. And they’re right. The issue is that someone with that kind of mental health should not be able to get a gun so fucking easily!
Someone interviewed twice by the FBI should not be able to get a gun so fucking easily!
Someone with a history of beating the shit out his wife should not be able to get a gun so fucking easily!
The problem isn’t crazy people. It’s crazy people in a system that is just as crazy. And if the NRA and the rest of the gun lobby won’t concede, “Well, yeah, that’s a problem. Let’s take some common sense steps to resolve it,” then fuck them. They don’t get anything, then. If you can’t compromise with someone holding a gun on you, then you just take the gun away.
To my friends who love their guns, rest assured I still love you. But I just can’t take this any more. When you’re ready to shrug off the NRA orthodoxy, great. Maybe then there’s room for reasonable discussion and negotiation. Until then, don’t even try to talk to me about it.
Let’s do this.