As an American, you’re born with this sort of superhuman confidence. You’ve got no qualms about storming into any situation acting like you’re wisdom incarnate – and to be honest, sometimes that sort of ignorant, cowboy leadership actually pays off. Other times, you just end up talking out your ass with undeserved superiority in a selfish bid to halt perfectly sensible societal changes you’re not comfortable with.
Whenever a Republican gets up to talk about gun control, it usually turns out to be the latter.
Just over a week ago, 17 people were mercilessly gunned down by some lunatic at a high school in Parkland, Florida. Their crime? Getting up to go to school. They were innocent kids – bright-eyed teenagers on the cusp of the greatest years of their lives. They were coaches and teachers devoted to enriching their communities to try and make this poxy world a better place.
They didn’t do a damn thing to hurt anybody. They had so much to give. And now they’re gone – just like that. Poof. For absolutely no reason whatsoever.
You’d think a repulsive tragedy of this scale might force us as a nation to take stock and think about how we collectively enabled the deaths of those poor kids. You’d think our leaders would ditch the phoney confidence, stop talking out their asses and initiate an urgent, national conversation about America’s archaic and sadomasochistic obsession with guns.
Well, you would be wrong.
To the all-powerful National Rifle Association and the orange sock puppet they’ve tossed into the White House, the deaths of those 17 people couldn’t have been prevented by getting rid of guns – in fact, NRA boss Wayne LaPierre reckons America’s problem is actually a severe lack of guns.
In a chilling, quasi-dystopian address on Thursday, LaPierre arrogantly assured us the 34 mass shootings and 2,135 gun deaths America has endured over the last 54 days could have been prevented if more of us were packing heat at all times. He also veered off course for a bit, blaming Karl Marx, Hollywood and jewellery stores for everything that’s wrong with the United States.
But in closing, LaPierre brought it on home by repeating the ham-fisted proclamation he delivered after the nauseating Sandy Hook massacre of 2012: “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.”
Donald Trump, who benefited from around $30m worth of NRA cash during 2016’s presidential election, is of the same mind. Earlier this week, our fearless commander claimed if we had armed teachers in schools – or at the very least, trained staff adept in the use of firearms – school shootings simply wouldn’t be a problem anymore.
There’s just one teeny, tiny problem with Donald Trump and his awesome, NRA-backed plan to protect American kids: there was an armed officer stationed at the school where last week’s shooting took place.
The local sheriff’s department had already assigned an armed deputy to work in the school as a resource officer. He was on campus – with his gun – the day 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz marched into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School with a semi-automatic, military-grade rifle. And you know what the school’s armed staff member did?
He was caught on camera standing outside the building, listening to schoolchildren being shot to death. He just stood there. His good gun didn’t stop the bad gun, and his training didn’t save a single life. He might as well have not been there at all, to be honest. The heroic acts of unarmed staff members did far more to protect kids than what the trained firearm specialist could muster.
And so a question begs the answer: if a good guy with a gun can’t stop a bad guy with a gun, what the hell can?
Gun control. Everywhere. In every way. Right now.
The only way to keep this from happening again is to take a bottle of Tipp-Ex to those 27 words in the US Constitution that give pig-headed cowboys like Wayne LaPierre a shield with which to continuously defend preventable mass murder.
No more trying to appease grieving parents with bump stock bans or magazine limits. No more rants about mental health or arming teachers. All of the NRA’s arguments fall flat. All the President’s feigned attempts at compromise are wasting precious time and getting more people killed.
We’re talking about controversial, sweeping legislation that will piss off half the country and take at least a generation to implement. It won’t be easy. But you know what? It’s the only way to save lives – because giving good guys guns doesn’t seem to do a damn thing.
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