Showing posts with label Gun Laws. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gun Laws. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Change, Regardless

The last few days have seen quite a bit of hand wringing, mouth foaming, frustration and outright anger at the fact that Congress left for spring recess without passing a gun bill. This impotence is compounded by the fact that the bill will not include an assault weapons ban and now likely not an ammunition clip limit. Gun control advocates are fit to be tied and Michael Bloomberg has taken to the airwaves with all of his cash in an attempt to stunt the NRA. I find it amusing that Wayne LaPierre, the head of the NRA, is so nervous about this that he had lowered himself to go on Meet The Press last Sunday.

Even Roger Simon over at Politico has blown at least three bowels in his recent piece.

I should point out that, unlike Dracula, LaPierre neither kills people nor drinks their blood. It is just my personal belief that the NRA’s gun mania has led to the slaughter of thousands of innocent men, women and children in this country.

Strong words, indeed and clearly accurate. But what good will they do? None whatsoever.

Yet, I find myself strangely optimistic these days. The way I see it is these things take time. Politico has another piece up about how Washington waited too long. Yes, that would have been really smart. Cobble together a new law and rush it through in the hopes that there will be no problems with it down the line in order to capitalize on sentiment. No thanks. I'm glad they didn't. I'd rather they spent some time on passing a law that can have a more profound effect. An assault weapons ban would not do that.

Speaking of which, has anyone considered that Newtown may have changed our culture, in terms of gun violence, so much so that this type of event may never happen again regardless of what new laws come out of Congress? Perhaps I'm being naive but I think we may have turned a corner, as we did with 9/11, and, in the final analysis, it's going to come down to local communities watching out for each other.

For example, I have a friend named Jane whose oldest son, Mike, shares many of the same traits with Adam Lanza. He has some serious mental health issues, plays violent video games for hours on end, and has access to multiple guns. He came after his dad once with a knife. His parents are divorced and he has been violently angry about it since it happened. After Newtown, I was speaking with Jane about Mike. The shooting at Sandy Hook shook them to the core and and they have gotten rid of all their guns save for two hunting rifles which are now under new lock and key up north at their cabin. Mike is no longer allowed access to any guns at any time. They have also become more energized about his mental health issues and everyone seems to be doing better.

They aren't the only ones who have changed a result of Newtown. The gal that cuts my hair (what little of it there is:)) has a brother named Bill who has a large collection of guns. He takes dozens of pills and drinks constantly. He's made threats against her and their parents. After Newtown, they went to the local police and got restraining orders against him. He used to be a firefighter in town and still has friends in law enforcement. They now visit him on a regular basis to see how he is doing and are trying their best to get him into a mental health/drug rehab program. Newtown made everyone in Bill's life more engaged.

These two stories are small, I know, but I think they are indicative of a sea change. I disagree that people have already forgotten and moved on. They cynics can go fuck themselves. Substantial, cultural shifts occur locally at first and so they seem to take too long and then suddenly it just happens. Look where we were four years ago with gay marriage. Look where we are now. Look where we were 20 years ago with cigarettes. Look where we are now. Look where we were 30 years ago with drunk driving. Look where we are now. The same thing will happen with guns, with or without new laws.

Even before Newtown, violence was dropping. It's going to continue to drop. Less people own guns and, in the future, even less will. People like Wayne LaPierre and other gun rights supporters aren't really as relevant anymore as their opponents make them out to be. They are built up into these gigantic ogres but they are only human after all. And, since they only have a single thought in their head, they will be quite unable to adapt to any cultural shifts that come down the pike regarding guns. It's happening right now and they can't even see it which is why they are reacting the way they are.

So, even with the inaction on the refinement of gun laws, today finds me hoping for the best. I realize that I may sound flip in my optimism with people dying every day from gun violence, some of which could certainly be prevented with new laws, but the responsibility for that isn't on me. Nor is it on all the people out there who want universal background checks on all gun purchases or other changes to our nation's gun laws. We all know full well who is responsible and so will history.

It's time to start thinking fourth dimensionally and take comfort in the fact that this is just a mere moment in time. Change is coming, regardless of what is happening right now. The horrible events of Newtown have changed our culture. We just don't fully realize it yet.