A few months back, I wrote a Stop the Hate that dealt with victims of military rape. I. Was. Terrified. I literally debated whether or not I should post it. I thought it might end up being the end of Manic Expression, that this one article could single-handedly tear down the entire site.
I worried over nothing. Manic Expression is, of course, a place where everyone is free to express whatever opinion they like, so long as they do so in a civil way. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust you guys, its just that…well…we’re not really allowed to talk about the military in any way more complex than a cheer squad might.
Some conversations just can’t happen in this country any more. They are off limits. Even people who might agree with you tell you to sit down and shut up. Have you ever tried to have a grown up discussion about abortion? You either hear “my body, my choice, end of story” or “life begins at conception, end of story.” Neither side will budge, nor do they care to hear what the opposition has to say. Or hey, why don’t you try voicing the opinion that Israel is increasingly on the wrong side of their stand off with Palestine. People will call you a terrorist and call Homeland Security.
Then there’s gun control. Take a look at the below image and ask yourself if you can seriously have a grown up discussion about gun control in this country.
Now let me say this, before I continue: I am not in favor of banning guns. I don’t own one and never would, but I also wouldn’t begrudge someone the right to a weapon for home security. If we ban guns outright, we’ll create a black market, much as the idiotic war on drugs has done. If you think our prisons are exploding now with people whose “crime” is no worse than having a little weed, wait till you see the inmate population explode when they ban guns.
No, I’m not here to defend gun control, I’m here to defend the gun control debate. Here is a subject that we, as Americans, are absolutely forbidden from talking about. Look at poor President Obama. The man has literally never even insinuated that we should ban guns and yet Right Wingers have been screaming “he’s coming for your guns” for the last seven years.
However, it’s time we all grew up a little. There has been an epidemic of mass shootings in this county, leading up to todays massacre at a church in Charleston. Why, mass shootings have become so common that the media doesn’t even discuss it any more. There is the equivalent of a Sandy Hook every day in this country, yet people are bored of the subject and don’t want to hear about it any more. It’s become common place, like hearing that Lindsay Lohan got busted drunk driving.
Hell, even politicians don’t want to talk about it, except to emphasize how gosh darn in love they are with the Second Amendment. The few journalists who dared to ask if the Colorado shooting should open up a dialogue about restrictions on guns were told by the likes of Chris Christie that “now is not the time to talk about it.” …Then when is the time, Governor?
Oh, but Obama’s answer was even more jaw dropping. When he was asked the same question, he said he believed our gun laws were “sufficient.” Really? I have a feeling there’s some folks in Colorado who might disagree with that, as well as some people in New York where a lunatic shot up the Empire State Building. How about the worshipers at a certain Sikh temple in Wisconsin? There was the shooting at the Texas A&M, a shooting in Chicago that left nineteen people dead, and the shooting in Minneapolis. These shootings are just a few that happened in the weeks following the Colorado massacre. I’d hardly say our gun laws are “sufficient,” Mr. President.
So, if we’re not going to ban guns, what can we do? I don’t think it’s unreasonable to enforce strict background checks on people. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask that a gun owner be 21 or older. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ban guns from certain places, like bars, schools, and political events. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ban uzis, or to make sure an ammo clip can’t hold a billion rounds in it. And hey, while we’re at it, how about we don’t allow batshit crazy psychos like James Holmes to purchase military grade body armor, assault weapons, and tear gas on-line?
Look, it’s a dangerous world out there. Some argue that guns make us safer. They say, “If I had a gun during one of these mass shootings, I would have taken out the gunman and saved everyone.” Let me tell you something, Rambo…no you wouldn’t have. Cops are trained to use their weapons, and yet during the Empire State Building shooting the cops shot up bystanders while trying to take down their target. During the chaos of a shooting spree, no one is going to be calm, cool, and collected. For every one hero who’d pull his weapon and save the day, you’d have a hundred Dirty Harry wanna-bes blasting away blindly in the hopes that one of the people they shot might be the gunman.
And maybe a gun isn’t the smartest thing to introduce into an environment like a bar, where people might not be thinking so straight. Maybe it’s not the best item to carry into a workplace, where your boss is an asshole and is constantly riding you. Maybe it’s not really all that necessary to bring your gun to a political rally, or a school, or church. My guess is, nine times out of ten, the gun will be the cause of drama and not the solution to it.
So, like I said, I’m not saying we should ban guns. I’m just saying we need to discuss the subject of gun regulation, before more of these shootings take place. After all, we’re all supposed to be grown-ups, right? Well, grown-ups can calmly discuss a topic without resorting to comparing everyone to Hitler, right?
…Well, at least we should be able to.