Guns, or Why News Webpages Disabled or Removed the Comment Box Entirely
I recently had the displeasure of commenting on a CNN article on Facebook: “Canada’s Trudeau announces bill to cap sales, transfers and imports of all handguns in the country” and I could not believe the feedback. It was one thing to correct me about the difference between an assault rifle and an AR-15 style rifle (one is banned and the other is a loophole in high-capacity/rapid-fire weaponry; thank you for that correction!), and another to split hairs on what type of firearm is used in more mass shootings, while ignoring the fact that we have a lot of mass shootings to use as a data pool.
Based on what I learned in that comment thread, I wrote this response.
“OK so what I’m getting from all this is that while there’s a positive opinion on assault rifle bans, the AR-15 (one of may choice weapons for mass shooters in the US) is NOT an assault rifle and is not affected by such bans. Many people say these mass shootings boils down to a mental health issue — that it’s crazy people grabbing guns and shooting up targets of their choice. I have also noted some people splitting hairs on whether handguns are used more in mass shootings than AR-15s.
I suggest a few ideas that should be solutions, based on the gathered ideas from above:
(1) NATIONAL BACKGROUND CHECKS — Criminal and extremist backgrounds automatically bar you from possessing firearms, no matter the crime. Period. If your job requires you to possess a firearm and you have a criminal record or history with extremist groups, try something else that could use your special set of skills, like a fireman.
(2) NATIONAL MENTAL HEALTH CHECKS— If you can’t pass a psychological evaluation, you can’t own a gun. Period. All the shooters had guns, but could ALL the shooters couldn’t be mentally ill? We should test anyone that wants a handgun or a high-capacity/rapid fire firearm or longarm, just to make sure.
(3) NATIONAL BLANKET BAN —Per the 2nd Amendment, firearms are there to protect against tyranny via a “well-regulated militia”. Very few shooters in the US are militia-linked but they all have guns in common. Remove all firearms from consumer markets and perhaps mass shootings will stop. NOTE: This is an extreme measure, and a last resort.
Given the nature of humanity, I know why common-sense gun control laws won’t work in America.
There’s a lot of work-arounds to get past a background check, namely a black market flush with illegal guns. I can imagine there’s a market for falsified gun licenses, like there was for COVID passes. The same goes for mental health checks, like when people were “doctor shopping” or “doctor hopping” for prescriptions/diagnoses during the Oxycontin epidemic — just keep going to different doctors until you can find a doctor that WILL sign off on your mental health, regardless of its actual state. And I know that outlawing guns won’t work, because “if we outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns” like the situation in the UK.
Please understand my point here tonight should not be to convince you to my side of thinking, but I have to point out some things:
- in the May 24 Uvalde shooting, the cops had body armor and police training and firearms, but would not go in because they were “given instructions to wait outside”. Parents tried to go in and save their children, but were stopped by the police who were summoned to save their children. One woman (with no police training, firearms or body armor) jumped the barricade and went into save her kids. Once she got back over the barricade with her children (who were now safe), she was arrested by the police who still did not go in to save the children they were summoned to rescue. As a result, 2 teachers and 19 students died in the time the police spent operating the cordon.
- In the May 14 Buffalo shooting, the security guard had police training and a firearm, but he died responding to the gunman’s attack. RIP Aaron Salter Jr., and thank you for your service with the Buffalo PD. 10 people died, with 3 people injured.
- In the 2018 Parkland shooting, the school resource officer had police training and a firearm, but chose to hide from the shooter outside and wait for backup. His argument was that he “didn’t want to get shot.” The shooter was free to kill for several minutes and almost got away because he blended in with his former classmates (he was previously expelled). It was the students that caught the killer, not the cops. 15 students and 2 teachers died, with 17 others wounded.
- In the 2018 Tennessee Waffle House shooting, James Shaw, Jr. had no police training or weapons or body armor, but he was able to save nearly everyone in the building from dying at the hands of a potential mass shooter. 4 people died, and 2 were injured.
- In several Japanese examples of violent crime, the perpetrators did not have a gun but they killed people all the same. Fire, stabbing, running them over with trucks — you name it. When violent crime happens, police in Japan rely on their martial arts training (kendo, judo, etc.) AND their police training. Japan hasn’t suffered significant firearms violence in their country for several decades, because the NATIONAL gun control regulations are strong enough to prevent lax or criminal gun ownership yet permissive enough to those who truly want a firearm. Nobody needs body armor in Japan because gun ownership (more likely gun possession) is very low.
In all these examples, it is force of will that determines how many people die in gun incidents — someone decided to STAND UP AGAINST THE THREAT OF DANGER (physical or political) and defend others.
So here’s what not working in the current American discourse about gun violence and gun control:
- Blaming mental illness doesn’t work, because if you say “we need to address mental illness in this country” you’re backing psych evaluations for gun ownership, regardless of the phrase’s power as a dog whistle to discourage discussions on gun control. If you don’t think you are, you need to be mentally evaluated. On that note, “addressing mental illness in this country” means you’re also advocating for greater mental health access in America FOR EVERYBODY. Again: if you don’t think you are, you need to be mentally evaluated.
- Police officers literally don’t have to do what we’ve been told is their primary function: to protect people. If you’ve seen what cops look like now, they’re either hair-trigger adrenaline junkies, 4-F rejects, people with chips on their shoulders, people using the badge to commit crimes, or some combination — and the cops that know and don’t stop them are just as guilty. If you know what police officers actually do, I’m sorry you had to hear that.
- Believing in the fantasy of “good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns” doesn’t work b/c shooters get body armor too, and at low prices. They also get discounts on ammo purchases. Plus, the good guys never seem to move or think as fast as the bad guys committing crimes (see above). And sometimes the bad guys aren’t seen as a threat because there’s always a common tool lying around to kill someone — knives, hammers, screwdrivers and cleavers (like mass killers use in Asian countries). If they want to, killers will find a way to kill someone without guns.
- Legal penalties and punishments for breaking gun ownership laws or committing gun violence doesn’t work, since penalties and punishments apply after the crime is committed. We are trying to prevent crimes, not pay for them after the fact.
- Going into violent situations with a gun and a “hero mindset” does not work; it usually gets people killed. Instead of working to be a hero, it should be people trying to save lives. You’ll never be a hero with a gun, but you can save lives without a gun.
We should be trying to save lives — protect lives, and we do not need guns to do it. Think on this the next time a mass shooting happens in America…and nowhere else, since it RARELY HAPPENS ANYWHERE ELSE.”