The debate following the horrific slaughter last week in Parkland, FL has tracked along predictable, sickening lines. Those supporting reasonable gun control rely upon numerous solid facts, while those defending their “right” to own weapons of war try to prop up the Second Amendment and the NRA while leading us down a rabbit hole of warped logic and militia voodoo. Like many issues involving conservatives in this country, they are countering strong arguments with flimsy propaganda and emulating the moronic president they idolize by doubling-down on their stupidity when challenged. As for members of Congress bought and paid-for by the NRA, they meekly recite their lines and somehow continue to look at themselves in the mirror.
However, there have been some interesting developments over the last few days. Let’s see if they lead anywhere:
1) A teenage speaker in Parkland has declared to great acclaim that this will be the last mass school shooting in America.
2) A former army solider described in convincing detail in a widely distributed blog post how an AR-15 is the perfect killing machine, and how it’s patently ridiculous that it is available for sale.
3) A key GOP donor has said he won’t write another check until Republicans get behind an assault weapons ban.
4) A protest vigil turned up at NRA headquarters in Fairfax, VA.
5) Students and teachers are threatening a massive nationwide school walkout on April 20. As that date is also the infamous 4-20, we can only hope the students’ motivations remain pure.
For any of these ideas to actually achieve something, Americans must do one thing differently, a big thing – stay engaged. We are good at public mourning and we excel at insulting each other on the internet, but we haven’t figured out how to be tenacious in finally, finally stopping the mentally ill from acquiring weapons and using them to butcher children, concertgoers and movie patrons. Common sense would tell us that at some point every citizen regardless of political persuasion would say “enough” and work together to enact change. But common sense was banished from one side of the table a long time ago, and it has not been invited back.
If there was ever a time to lay the voodoo priest to rest, it is now, but we have been saying that for years and Wayne LaPierre, the NRA and their congressional puppets still don’t get it. It will require uncharacteristic tenacity and possibly conflict with armed-to-the-hilt assholes to get there. I fervently hope we find a solution in my lifetime, but I have doubts.