As you can see, the “Wanna Bet?” Blog is back in operation, and the truth is that I really don’t want to write this one. We finished our ice cream season last week and spent much of this week cleaning up. While I was cleaning, I was considering what the first blog post would be about.
So much has transpired since I last wrote…I could write about Sheldon Adelson, of course, my #1 topic. He’s been kinda quiet on the RAWA front, but the rumor mill has him (and his seven bands of lobbyists) working behind the scenes to deploy a “new and improved” RAWA that purports to stop online gambling and preserve
billions family safety, and of course, it does neither. I could write about other poker topics like
the return of PokerStars to America, or the upcoming “November Nine.” I could veer off a bit and discuss Kim Davis,
the Pope, Donald Trump or the GOP race.
I could even get personal and talk about this year’s crazy ice cream
season or how I spent part of yesterday in the hospital because I forgot that I
left my hammer on the top of the ladder at work (4 stitches and a big bruise
plus a bigger bruised ego is all).
Nope. Gotta talk a bit about gun violence. Actually, to be more precise, our reaction(s) to it.
I’ve never written about gun violence before. Not because I’m not opinionated about the subject – I most certainly am. But I’ve never written about it before. Why now? We’ve had other mass shootings, of course, and even though this occurred in my home state, we’ve had them here before, too. And folks have been riled up before, calling for change in the wake of Sandy Hook and Columbine and Columbia and all the others.
This feels different. It’s like the one-too-many dessert that makes you want to go on a diet, or the one-too-many traffic accident that prompts a new road design.
Yeah, we take action when folks die at a not-safe intersection or a dimly lit highway or a corner turnout with poor visibility. When innocent students are shot and killed in schools…well, I’ll get to that in a moment.
Let me first fully disclose that I have never owned a gun and have no plans to ever do so. I can’t sight a rifle (birth defect in right eye) and I have no desire to pursue any sports involving guns, archery, etc. I don’t even fish, and I have been a vegetarian for more than a dozen years.
But let me also disclose I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment (and the 10th, and the 14th, and all the others). I have friends who own guns. Friends who hunt. Friends who are members of the NRA even. No, really, I do…not just Facebook “friends” but real flesh-and-blood buddies. They own guns. Plural, usually. And I find nothing wrong with owning a gun. I just don’t want to.
And all of that has nothing to do with gun violence.
Gun violence is the act of using a gun to its ultimate purpose. Weapons are like that. Weapons. A knife can also kill as can a screwdriver (or a hammer), but these tools are often used for a different purpose than as weaponry. Guns are weapons.
Definition: “a thing designed or used for inflicting bodily harm or physical damage.”
Yup. That’s what they do.
So when they’re used as intended, and folks get killed, some people get all indignant and call for stricter regulations and more help for the mentally ill and better support for ATF and a bunch of other ideas. See here, here, here, here.
And when these folks (and I’m one of them) get all indignant, other folks get even more so and tell us why NONE of that will do ANY good WHATSOEVER. PERIOD. Some even say more guns are the answer. Some say that it’s not a good time to discuss gun violence (though they usually say it’s not a good time to discuss gun control, as if the two are synonymous).
And did you know that we have little way in knowing if we’re right or if they’re right, because there is little in the way of unbiased research on the subject? Each side can point to studies or anecdotal events to bolster their claims. Hell, the government can’t even do research on the subject.
When the CDC began studying gun violence in the early 1990s, the Washington gun lobby launched a serious campaign to persuade Congress to block its funding. In 1996, the effort culminated in an amendment backed by the National Rifle Association (NRA) that explicitly forbade the agency from research that could be used to “advocate or promote gun control.” In the years since, CDC funding for firearm injury prevention has fallen 96 percent. (from http://everytownresearch.org/reports/access-denied/)
That’s where we are now. More than 87,000 gun-related deaths since Sandy Hook, and we can’t research it. It’s a topic that’s off limits, and we’re not supposed to discuss it. When we do discuss it, we can’t agree. And that’s why we react like we do and gun supporters react like they do AND NOTHING CHANGES AND MORE PEOPLE ARE SHOT AND HURT AND KILLED.
We’ve wasted enough ink and digital space talking about it. I spent two wasted hours liking some posts and arguing against some others, and in that short time there’s been a shooting in Baltimore and a lockdown because of a reported gunman at an El Paso community college.
Seriously. DO. SOMETHING. NOW.