The price we pay for freedom
You know, people say stupid things. It happens frequently. Many folks on social media are ready to attack those who tweet, text or talk Second Amendment smack after a mass shooting, and so today’s coverage begins.
Late last year, Tennessee Representative Andy Ogles sent out a holiday card with his entire family holding guns. The caption read, “The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference — they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good.” When asked about that photo in light of three kids and three adults being gunned down in a school in his city, he refused to apologize for his tasteless holiday P.R. Why? Perhaps he fears an expression of sorrow and grief would expose him to be less than the manly man he conjures for his brand and image.
Oh, Ogles did say he was, “devastated by the tragedy,” but like 99% of the Republicans in office, he will do absolutely nothing to protect the rights of “life, liberty and happiness” of the very people he represents, but he’s only one of many misguided guys who believe a gun is part of the “American dream.”
Another trope that rolls out of the mouths of the protectors of the amendment they like is a notion that mass shootings demonstrate that “freedom is not free,” and when people die at the hands of a lunatic it’s simply “the cost of freedom.” I find myself screaming that sounds exactly like a notorious domestic terrorist, Timothy McVie, who was put to death by the state.
On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVie planted a bomb at the Oklahoma City Federal Building and killed more than 168 people, including nineteen children. When asked about the kids lost in his retribution for the Waco siege two years before, McVie uttered the immortal line, “They were just collateral damage.” Now, we have far-right members of Congress blaming the Nashville shooting on transexual procedures and illicit drugs, ignoring the real problem. The alleged shooter was being treated for a mental disorder.
There was no law in Oklahoma that prevented anyone from buying enormous amounts of the fertilizer McVie needed for his bomb, and obviously there are no red flag laws in Tennessee that would have prevented the shooter from legally buying seven guns. Audrey Hale’s parents didn’t think she should own guns, but she was a 28-year-old adult who could own as many guns as she wanted.
Tim Burchett, another braindead Congressman from Tennessee, declared, “We’re not gonna fix school shootings.” He even went so far to say that he doesn’t think the government has a role to play in stopping mass shootings. This guy, along with Andy Ogles, should be thrown out of Congress. If they cannot even believe a solution is feasible then they are part of THE PROBLEM.
Intellectually, I don’t care if you own one or four hundred guns, but if the purpose of your weaponry is casting fear over the neighborhood, you are misguided. If your reason for ownership is sport and hunting, I must ask what happened to using a rifle to bring down a deer or bird? Why would you destroy the very meat that is the object of your quest? Most police departments don’t have the firepower of their local gun clubs but, when protecting blue lives, pro-gun fans never seem to remember that cops are often outgunned by those with the automatic weaponry that Democrats want to ban.
Maybe I am naïve about the protection aspect of having weapons in the home. I get that you want to protect your family, but protect them from what? If an average gun lunatic wanted to off your whole family, all they would need is a loaded AR-15 and you would be helpless with your little 9mm handgun. It’s just a teddy bear for a nervous person, bringing comfort but no real protection.
Another aspect of our ongoing struggle with the plague of lunatic shooters is this concept of congratulating the police on how fast they responded. That’s all well and good, but in the end it’s not the quick response to the 911 call but the lack of concern about mental health challenges, red flags laws and dismal gun ownership record keeping. We truly have no idea about who owns guns and how many. Maybe we just don’t care.
A workable system would be national gun registration and a database entry required for weapon merchants and accessible by law enforcement. We need to keep an eye on those who buy “too many” guns or “too much” ammunition and messages posted on social media presenting clues to a crazy person’s intent. Yell to the ACLU all you like, but the print clearly states, “a well-regulated militia.”
Let me get real here. When dishonest politicians, TV talking heads and far-right scum on the internet claim the ravaged, dead bodies of nine-year-old children is just “collateral damage” or the “price of freedom,” I want to screech, “If you cannot do something to protect our children and make America better then SHUT UP!”
I don’t care if you are a Republican or Democrat, if you don’t do something about this crisis you will go to hell. According to Axios, “At least 57 people have died in 38 mass shootings in the US this month alone, with another 133 injured.” With seven hundred people taken from the earth each year by senseless mass shootings, we must address it. We first must admit it happened, then agree it’s a scourge and decide what we will do to prevent it. If not, we are not much more advanced than Neanderthals, who didn’t have guns.
Security at every door, metal detectors, teachers with guns, students with guns, more resource officers, more weapons, more religious resistance to a Second Amendment update will only kill more. We are at the tipping point and maybe it’s too late. It’s certainly too late for the 57 people who were taken from us this month by firepower, but it’s not too late to take back some guns, limit who can own them and convince America that inaction by those in power is careless, reckless and intentional disregard. In a court of law that’s called “negligence.”
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