Guns don’t kill. People do. Well, duh… Obviously. But no one says that to state the stupidly obvious. It’s used as an overly simplistic piece of byte-brain verbiage to endorse and perpetuate the devastating American male love affair with guns.
This time, as Santa was about to hear a child’s Christmas wish, 22 year-old Jacob Tyler Roberts was wildly firing an AR-semiautomatic rifle at people he had never met. Their particular crime was to go shopping at the Clackamas mall.
It’s yet another pile-up on the American munition-strewn landscape. Shock and angst, tears and nightmares, bodies destroyed, dreams crushed. Names and places are different each time while the human suffering and meaningless tragedy remain unchanged. The media defaults to its ‘this could have been so much worse’ scenario, perhaps correctly assuming the public will be mollified by the awesome news of our good fortune.
I have raised this issue before, an inaudible female voice within the crowded, noisy halls of gun-toting (real) men. And please don’t get hung up because there are women who like guns too. I repeat, duh. Obviously. But make no mistake. This love affair is between men and guns. This began with men. Killing with guns is done almost exclusively by men. The NRA and gun lobbies are filled with and run by men, and the media and political groups that sit back and never raise the fundamental issues, are still men’s clubs.
I stumbled on an ABC report, of all things, that is startling in its portrayal of the proportions of this demented love affair. Check it out. My personal fave is the comparison of federally licensed firearms dealers in the U.S. (How many unlicensed? I’m not going there.) Weighing in at almost 130,000 in number, which is ummm… a lot. At least there are more gas stations, by about 13,000. Still, there about four times as many as grocery stores, and only 14,000 MacDonalds. So if you think grocery stores or MacDonalds are ubiquitous — try gun dealers.
As the report wisely notes, unlike hamburgers, guns last. Around 8.5 million NEW guns went on the street in 2010. More than that in 2011, and 2012 will set new records.
All that math adds up to lot of opportunity for drunken, drug-addled, disturbed, or just nasty pissed-off men to continue their deadly love affair. Of course the joke is on the rest of us.
Americans, the first to raise holy hell at the least infringement of freedom, are living in a country that is losing its freedom. One school, one mall, one office… one weapon at a time.