Op-Ed: America Has Gone Nuts for Guns

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There seems to be no end to random shootings in this country. To watch the news is like listening to a bulletin reminiscing of a war zone. Iraq comes to mind. We have become desensitized to the bloodshed. When it happens we just shrug and think, “Oh this cannot happen to me.”

The media and the “experts" focus on finding the “motive" as if, when it is found, and explained, everything makes sense and it is OK. The need for gun control is rarely mentioned anymore.

In the meantime four dead in Benghazi call for endless Congressional hearings and apoplectic reports from Fox News. The twenty school shootings that have occurred since that September 11, 2012, were shrugged off and ignored by our worthless Congress.

The NRA holds us all hostage and it is vindictive. Case in point: Dick Metcalf, one of the country's most prominent gun journalists was removed from Guns & Ammo magazine, he no longer appears on popular TV shows, and gun manufacturers do not send him the latest weapons to review. Why? In one of his articles titled "Let's Talk Limits " he questioned the Gospel of Guns even though he made it very clear that his commitment to the Second Amendment was unwavering.

The second amendment zealots have no middle ground. For this gun toting lunatic fringe it is all or nothing. They bank on the fact that public memory grows shorter each day and yesterday's massacre is yesterday's news.

Gun nuts, and they are nuts about their guns, always find stuff in the Second Amendment that really isn't there. One of the most absurd claims is "It is a God given right.” The ridiculous idea of God-given rights isn't about God and it's only nominally about rights. It's an attempt to make one's political positions rubber-stamped from above and thus not open for discussion. When they bring God into the equation the only thing I can think of, and I am an atheist, is: "Father forgive them, for they know not what they say.”

Being able to carry a gun has nothing to do with freedom. In fact we are on the path of losing whatever little freedom we have left. Terrorism has already curtailed our movements, the escalation in gun violence will bring airport style security checks to any mall near you, department stores, supermarkets, movie theaters, college campuses, and any place where a large number of people can be easily massacred. Yes gun enthusiasts will be free to carry their arsenals but as individuals we will not be able to set foot outside our homes without going through metal detectors and security searches.

Is the Second Amendment really worth all that? There are enough guns in the U.S. that if you gave one to every adult, you would run out of adults before you run out of guns. Two-thirds of U.S. homicides involve a gun.

The GOP, or Guns Over People, stands idle while the fanatics pledge allegiance to the Gun. We might as well spend our energy counting the dead and giving up on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Apparently we cannot change something that will not change. Until this country comes up with an enraged grass-roots movement like MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) we will continue to go our merry ways to the "sporting goods" store next door and stock up on baseball caps and AK47s.

The same gun fanatics are also the most virulent opponents of abortion.

Again, go figure it. They want to prevent the "killing" of the unborn but 20 dead children at Sandy Hook Elementary are just collateral damage. I guess that for our right wing politicians school shootings are a form of class size reductions.

In the meantime, nationwide, more than 73 abortion clinics have shut down or stopped providing the procedure amid a Republican-led push to legislate new restrictions on Roe v. Wade. On the other hand nothing has been done to bring guns, and gun's owners, under control. It’s a dichotomy that shows how schizoid our country has become.

The effect of legalized abortion on crime (sometimes referred to as the Donohue-Levitt hypothesis) is the theory that legal abortion reduces crime. Proponents of the theory generally argue that since children who are unwanted or whose parents cannot care for them well are more likely to become criminals and that an inverse correlation is observed between the availability of abortion and subsequent crime. Moreover, children born under these conditions are usually less fortunate and have a higher chance of growing up with mental problems. In particular, it is argued that the legalization of abortion in the United States, largely due to the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade, has reduced crime in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

It’s an interesting theory. I have my own: perhaps the legalization of marijuana will lead to less shootings and fewer massacres, after all if you are high on pot you are less likely to go searching for people to gun down, you might hunt Fritos, or other munchies, alas you do not need an assault rifle to do that.

In fact the short term effects of marijuana include impaired coordination; skewed sensory and time perception; difficulty with thinking, concentrating and problem solving; shortened attention span and distractibility; decreased alertness; impaired learning and memory; and euphoria. Picking up a gun would most likely trigger uncontrollable laughs and giggles rather than an outing with the intent to mow down an entire high school.

Colorado has been the theater of many mass shootings from Columbine to Aurora to New Life Church, now that pot is legal there it will be interesting to monitor, over time, if the number of deadly shootings in the State decrease. If that is the case it would be the equivalent of catching two birds with one stone, the only chance we have to end the Wild West mentality of our nation.


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