Annie (and Bob and Sarah and Tom) Get Your Gun
Another day, another mass shooting. And unlike many of these events that typically occur in schools, the slaying of 10 innocent people in a Tops Supermarket in Buffalo on Sunday had a clear cause that puts it in the category of those inspired by racial animus derived from “Replacement Theory,” the notion that there is a conspiracy to replace real (i.e. white) Americans with non-white immigrants who will vote Democratic and change the very nature of our country. The shameless advocacy of this so-called theory has become the very essence of the career of FoxNews’ most prominent racist, Tucker Carlson, and has been zealously advocated by the extreme right, but no less shamelessly tolerated by many of what remains of a mainstream Republican Party.
But, while the motives of the 18 year old killer and the role of the extreme right in fostering the hatred he evidenced for Blacks in a rambling screed is a legitimate topic of discussion, so is the easy access he had to a weapon of war to perpetrate the murders. Like almost all mass killers, he obtained his gun legally, which is hardly surprising since the manufacture and distribution of guns in this country has now reached the staggering number of 400 million. Let me say that again: 400 million. Does that make you feel safer? The gun lobby wants to convince you that it does. It doesn’t.
The current foofaraw over the likely Supreme Court overturning of Roe v. Wade, an event that, unlike other precedent-overturning cases, will actually take away a recognized right, has overshadowed another pending case under which this Second Amendment-loving court will likely expand the right to concealed carry by overturning a New York City restriction requiring a showing of “proper cause” before being issued a license to carry a handgun. So you think Covid is the greatest threat when you ride the NYC subway system? Wait until a cadre of self-appointed vigilantes start riding the F train while packing their Glocks in the interest of “self-defense.”
I recall a discussion I had a few years ago with the then-head of the Brady Campaign about why the organization is not more forceful about trying to reinstate a ban against assault weapons since even strict constructionists can’t point to anything in the Federalist Papers about AR-15s. Aside from the utter futility of trying to enact such a ban in the current political environment, she told me that it was simply a matter of numbers. Since the majority of gun killings arise out of suicide, domestic violence and accidents involving children, they have focused their efforts on red-flag laws and background checks, hoping to mitigate the numbers by appealing to seemingly common sense remedies to the most prevalent instances of gun violence.
Unlike every other right in America, which are subject to sensible conditions, gun ownership should not be subject to virtually any restraint, according to the gun lobby and their right wing enablers. Asked why he needs an AR-15, Senator Lindsay Graham replied that he may need protection against a “roving gang.” Clearly he does not mean a group of concerned citizens trying to invade the U.S. Capitol while engaging in “legitimate political discourse.”
I really doubt that Lindsay will ever have to use his weapon to defend his home, but millions of Americans in the inner city face every day violence that kill innocent bystanders including children. While there are many complex sociological causes of such violence, there is one incontrovertible fact: there are just too many damn guns, both legal and illegal. While there is likely a large overlap between so-called pro-life advocates and Second Amendment zealots, it would be nice if as much effort were made to protect the living by trying to control the gun flow as the unborn. But since when is that the American Way?