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Friday, January 14, 2011

Load up on guns, bring your friends.















She is overboard and self-assured, isn’t she. In one regard, it’s wrong to assume rhetoric alone sent our boy over the edge in Arizona. Especially considering his friend said he never watched TV, radio or any of the other forms of media people want to cite as the reason for why he lost it. That argument is a bit of a stretch from my perspective because obviously the dude had to have heard about the event from somewhere, but, I’ll concede the point since I’m fair and balanced like that.

Given his girlfriend broke up with him though, does that mean we now watch anyone who just broke up on Facebook for warning signs? Obama’s use of the memorial service as a state of the agenda was a little too political for my liking, but there was a valid point made regarding the level of discourse in this country: It sucks, and has for some time. Even the poster above, which is itself a commentary on where things stand in that regard, is being called incendiary.

This past decade’s talk show raison d'être of shouting the other guy down that has spilled over into political campaigns is just an unwillingness to consider differing opinions. That said, just ask Jerry Springer’s producer how far in the ratings being polite gets you.

Both parties are guilty of it, but focus people. Rudeness and violence-flavored language are being lumped in together, clouding things a bit. Calling for restraint on violent rhetoric we’re worried about ignores how it’s still prevalent in many other area of our lives. It’s been ingrained in our culture since, well, forever. This is almost the same post I wrote the last time there was a mass shooting, but one point still holds true: This country was founded on guns, which in turn is the basis for the rule of law we follow.

Until that dynamic changes, it’s unrealistic to expect the rhetoric surrounding it to change.

It’s in the video games kids play, the music we listen to or the sports we watch: “throwing a bomb,” “offensive weapons,” “he’s a dangerous player,” and so on. I don’t see how can you temper language in one area like political discourse without doing it across the board for everyone. (Which is the same problem facing gun control advocacy, in that, there is no middle ground on these issues. You either ban all guns or none, because halfway measures will not work.)

The flip side of the argument creates another potential trap: Will urging restraint over gun language usher in more political correctness, to the point where kids won’t be allowed to play video games that have war themes anymore? Will music once again come under threat of censorship?

Where do you draw the line?

If anything, isn’t this as much about mental health awareness as it is gun control? The shooting in Illinois showed how a system failed to detect and correct someone who had serious mental problems. A desperate person will find a way to kill or harm, no matter how many gunshow loopholes you close.

That’s not giving permission to keep all the guns you want either. How many kids die each year because they played around with loaded weapons found inside their home? (Over 5,000.) It’s a trend that has nothing to do with mental illness and everything to with a child’s curiosity coupled with the negligence of careless gun owners.

But who knows what sets people off? Not everyone exposed to Fox goes on a rampage, and not everyone who owns a gun is dangerous, yet, that’s the first place people go after events like this. Let’s lock up guns but by all means, let disturbed people roam free.

Imagine a world without guns for a second, it’s easy if you try, then ask how their absence solves the very real problems of mental illness people face every day.

Are there too many guns in the country? Yes. Do too many people have easy access to them? Yes. But gun control efforts after the fact haven’t solved the problem of someone going over the deep end. I’m not really sure how you address one issue and ignore the other, yet still hope to solve this problem.

See you in two years when it happens again.

(Image.)

1 comment:

Dave said...

Not much a rational person can argue here, Bill. But let me play the insane man and try:

Nope - I got nothin'.