Ok. This is the post that I've somewhat morbidly been waiting to write. It's been stirring around in my head for a long time and I want to make sure that I get it right.
At 2793 gun deaths since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, Americans living at home in the United States of America have now killed more of their fellow citizens, than died in the Twin Towers on 9/11. In World Trade Centre Towers 2606 people lost their lives, to outside forces.
Let that sink in for a moment.
On 9/11 2606 people rode the elevator to work, only to have their lives snuffed out, by foreigners - the "other" - in one fell swoop; in an act that many would say was unpreventable. At least unpreventable given the government of the day. There were nine hijackers on the planes that hit the towers. At a rate of 290:1 victims to killers, that's about as impersonal an act as you can get. And yes I'm saying it's impersonal even though the hijackers died, because there was little face-to-face contact between the killers and the victims.
In the three months since Sandy Hook 2793 people died at the direct hands of another individual. Even considering the multiple-death shooting, the rate of victims to killers is under 2:1. These are very, very personal acts.
In the wake of 9/11, strict controls were put in place governing how we were to fly. Strict controls were put in place to specify what we could and could not bring on an airplane. In the wake of 9/11 we have been told that we cannot bring liquids in quantities greater than 50 ml. We have been told that we must take off our shoes when passing through security. In America, they have been told to surrender any sense of dignity they might have to pass through a full-body scanner; a scanner that shows the operator an essentially naked human body. Since 9/11 I can't take a set of nail clippers on a plane because they create a security risk. In the most extreme cases, people have been denied access to flights because the t-shirt they were wearing was thought to be "dangerous". In the wake of 9/11 all of us sheeple stepped in line with the new security measures because we were told that it was "safer".
2606 dead, killed by anonymous strangers with a couple of airplanes, in the blink of an eye, mostly unknowing of their fate, due to a massive error in judgement by the Bush administration resulted in some of the most inconvenient, draconian travel rules the free-world has ever seen. And we were all largely ok with it.
2793 people, including 20 innocent children in an elementary school, killed in circumstances that are largely up-close and personal, full of fear, by - conservatively - 2700 other people, each with a firearm. Yet Americans can't even have a conversation about gun control.
My question is simple. Restricting your (our) ability to travel became a national security issue. Why haven't guns in America become a national security issue?
Why is it ok to police people and restrict their ability to carry toothpaste, mouthwash, hair gel, nail clippers, cologne, and bottles of water onto an airplane, in the name of safety... and yet, it's not ok to talk about restricting access to certain types of guns? Forgive my incredulity but I really don't understand this dichotomy.
If you're going to take 100 ml of liquid x and mix it into 100 ml of liquid y, on an airplane, while it's flying someone is going to notice. It's complicated stuff that takes at least a little skill to bring to fruition. Hell the shoe-bomb guy brought the functioning device onto the plane, ready to go and he couldn't pull it off because someone noticed. Yes I know that the 9/11 hijackers used box cutters. However, with the cabin doors now being locked and barred, the plane is in little danger of being used as a weapon.
By comparison, how hard is it to get angry at your neighbour, pull out your unrestricted pistol, and shoot the guy? How much training does it take to load an assault rifle, walk into a crowded place and start firing? Almost none.
The really sad part, is that nobody who is ready to have a serious conversation about gun control, is saying "take away all the guns from all Americans". Nobody. Not even Gabby Giffords who, 13 months after being shot in the head, returned to the Senate to ask for a conversation on gun control; rather than gun bans.
The pitifully weak request from us, is to just have a conversation about limiting access to assault weapons, extended capacity magazines, and guns that can fire fully automatic. Yet to hear the NRA, the extreme right-wing tea party, Sarah Palin and crew, and Fox News tell it, you'd be forgiven if you thought the government was coming for all your guns so they can round you up and "take away your freedom."
I know it sounds crazy, but that is exactly the message that the aforementioned is sending out. They seem blissfully unaware that nobody has asked for all the guns, nobody will ask for all the guns, and most poignantly that the government doesn't need to take away the citizens guns. The US government has drones, fighter planes, tanks, amoured personnel carriers, ships, gun boats, the SEALS, helicopters with god-knows-what weaponry, Hummers with laser weapons... they don't need to take the guns from their people because they have more, bigger guns at their disposal.
In a previous post I wrote that the Second Amendment of the US Constitution needs to go. I covered how it's outdated today, and how lonely red-necks with AK-47s do not constitute a "well-regulated militia." I stand by those comments. And for those of you desperately clinging to your firearms up here in Canada, I stand by the assertion that you do not have a right to those guns, up here North of the 49th. We don't have an equivalent to the Second Amendment. But that's digressing a little. As I said above, nobody with a rational argument is saying "take away all the guns." We just want some controls on ownership that will actually contribute to saving innocent lives.
To quote Senator Giffords, "Too many children are dying... Be bold. Be courageous."