Another week, another mass shooting. As President Obama said, this has all become routine. We hear about these tragedies, get upset for a little bit, and we get back to living… Until the next time it happens. Politicians send their “thoughts and prayers” to the victims and their families, and injury epidemiologists just scratch their heads in amazement. The National Rifle Association sends out their instructions to members and disciples that the Second Amendment is the only thing keeping us from living in a tyrannical dictatorship. And sociopaths and psychopaths swear up and down that the shooting is a “false flag” operation, that it never happened, or that all that was missing was a good person with a gun to keep it from happening.
Then I write a blog post about gun violence and the “ammosexuals” almost immediately show up and start throwing around words like “libtard” to somehow prove that they know more about gun control — and how it doesn’t work — than anyone else in the known universe. They tell me that gun control doesn’t achieve anything, pointing to violence in cities where gun control laws are in place as clear evidence to support their thesis. Even if I tell them that there are plenty of civilized countries around the world without free-flowing guns, they revert to name-calling because, well, that’s how they do.
In the analysis of what happened in Oregon yesterday (October 1, 2015), ammosexuals are quick to point out that there must have been “something wrong” with the shooter. After all, who in their right mind would kill people without any motive? This makes the ammosexual feel better by convincing them that the shooter is not like them and that they would never do anything like that. What they fail to recognize, however, is that we are all at risk of mental health problems big and small. None of us is immune to depression, psychoses (induced or otherwise), or anything else that would make us lash out against people with the permanent consequences that come from using firearms.
But all of that doesn’t matter to the ammosexuals and the politicians who serve them. I would even wager that they don’t really care about the Second Amendment. They only seem to care about the rights of the firearm as if the firearm was a living, breathing human being. If something dare compromise the safety of that firearm, they will use whatever means necessary to protect it. Luckily, it has been political pressure and money so far and not guns to defend other guns.
So we go around in circles again and again because no one with any sort of authority wants to do anything about guns. The people on the right of the political spectrum see the Second Amendment as an open invitation to arm ourselves to the teeth. The people on the left of the political spectrum don’t want anyone to be punished for gun crimes so severely that they will think it over several times before trying to own a gun (illegally or otherwise) ever again. Both sides don’t want to do anything about mental health.
Yes, I’m a little upset about what happened yesterday, and I’m sure that I’ll be fine tomorrow. And I’ll probably forget that there are more gun deaths than traffic deaths in Michigan, something you only see in war zones. We will collectively go back to worrying about our fantasy leagues, about the next piece of trash that comes out of the mouth of that “billionaire” presidential candidate, or what we need to do to get away with paying less taxes. Our priorities are not collectively to save lives because, to be honest, people die. That’s what people do.
Once in a while, however, I’ll look at the latest science on gun violence and wonder if we’ll have some sort of awakening where we rally together and go with the science and not with politics or personal feelings. I’d love that. I’m ready for that. Sadly, from ammosexuals to people sold to political idealisms, we don’t want to hear the evidence or follow the science on what can be done. We just want to continue to think that this country is exceptional, and that a few dead children here and there and everywhere is a good price to pay for that.
Postscript: Yes, that’s me with a shotgun in the picture above.
René F. Najera, DrPH
I'm a Doctor of Public Health, having studied at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.
All opinions are my own and in no way represent anyone else or any of the organizations for which I work.
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