Old conventional wisdom: we want “common-sense” gun laws. New CW: confiscation now!
Hey there, NRA:
Listen, I know the moments after a gunman opens fire in a school are hectic for you. You have to get your talking points together, you have to mentally prepare to debate a traumatized yet sensible child, you have to look at yourself in the mirror and practice saying that more guns would have made the situation less deadly. It’s a busy time! And since we are always either in the moments after or the moments before a mass shooting, you’re pretty much always busy, I have noticed!
Anyway, I just wanted to drop you a line and let you know that I now actually do want to take your guns. All of your guns. Right now.
Of course, the NRA had nothing whatsoever to do with the latest school shooting, in which a typical loser teenage boy in a trench coat apparently managed to get a hold of his father’s firearms and revenge himself on a girl who turned him down for a date, killing nine others in the process. But that doesn’t matter to the gun-grabbers who, following Rahm Emanuel’s dictum, never wish to let a crisis go to waste.
All along, as American life has gotten deadlier, as our kids have gotten less safe in their schools, you have had the opportunity to work with the vast majority of Americans who support the sensible reform of our gun laws. You have had the chance to preserve your own rights as we work together to keep our gun regulations in step with gun technology. You haven’t.
All along, there have been opportunities for sensible, incremental changes. This year alone, we could have banned the manufacture of bump stocks, which turn semi-automatic weapons into automatic ones. We could have raised the minimum age for gun ownership from 18 to 21, or instate a national minimum age for long-gun ownership. We haven’t, largely because you have bought our government. What you have done is double down. What you’ve done is convince your members that the occasional school shooting, the odd literal slaughter of innocents, is an unfortunate but inevitable quirk of American life, a thing that is necessary to preserve freedom.
Let’s stop there for a moment. Let’s even stipulate that we can do all of the above — raise the legal age for gun purchases, ban bump stocks, improve background checks. None of these things would have prevented the most recent atrocity, which was committed with a shotgun and a handgun. But just as the Israelis prevent airplane hijackings by looking at the passenger, and not his belongings, so perhaps should we start treating the school-shooting problem the same way.
For the truth is, the post-Columbine shooters all seem largely to be cut from the same cloth: unsupervised or uncontrolled, frustrated adolescent fantasists who affect similar modes of dress and imagine themselves to be avenging angels of death in the movie that’s unspooling in their primitive minds. It doesn’t matter which weapons they use — the fact is that it is these boys we should be profiling, watching out for, helping, intervening with before they flip. In fact, via proper fathering (not mothering) we should be preventing their irruptions in the first place. After all, we never used to have this problem.
And yet we currently live in a society that demeans and diminishes maleness, treats it as aberrational or “toxic” and does its best to suppress it.
So now I’m angry. Now I’m finished trying to reason with you. So now I, a guy who was ambivalent about guns just a few years ago, want to take your guns away. All of them. I want to take them all and melt them down and shape them into a giant sphere and then push it at you so you have to run away from it like Indiana Jones for the rest of your lives. I want Ted Nugent to roam the halls of his gunless house, sighing wearily until he dies. I want to end this thing once and for all, so that all of you who have prioritized the sale of guns over the lives of children have to sit quietly and think about what you’ve done. God help me, I want to take all of your guns out of your hands, by myself, right now.
It won’t happen, of course. So let’s meet in the middle. Let’s meet at…literally anything.
Yes, let’s. But after a decades-long assault on the family, on fatherhood, on masculinity, on sexual norms, and on personal responsibility, starting with guns is no place to start. Because, by then, it’s too late — and we need them to defend ourselves against just people as these.