A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Guns: Bigger Than Jesus

Well, America, it’s happened again. A massacre by a gun in a public school followed by the usual period of mourning, with calls for action on America’s gun control laws. I’m not getting my hopes up that the calls will be answered, although there are a few signs of hope that this time things will be different.

This latest atrocity is different for a few reasons. For one, it happened so close — too close — to Christmas, probably the most child-centered holiday of the year. It was also different because the ages of the victims seemed younger – 6 and 7 — than previous American school massacres. The ages this time don’t make them any more tragic than the ages of previous victims, but the pain seems to be felt deeper than ever before.

It is also different for the inevitable gun control debate that has already risen up before the period of mourning ended. Naturally, the liberals are crying out that there are too many guns in this country, and despite laws put in place to delay a purchase, it is still too easy to buy a gun. Conservatives and gun owner advocates have been uncharacteristically silent so far. The nation's gun rights lobby, The National Rifle Association, has not issued a statement and has even taken down their Facebook page. Gun advocates in Congress were invited to America’s premier Sunday morning talk show, Meet the Press, to air their points of view. Of the 31 invitations extended, none was accepted. It is almost as if the pro-gun lobby suddenly finds its position indefensible. 

Chick Fil-A champion Mike Huckabee has already weighed in that these incidents have happened since God has been kicked out of the schools. Actually, that’s not quite correct. While a series of court decisions has curtailed the moment of silence (code for pray) at the start of the school day, I don’t recall anyone telling children that they could not stop in the hall between classes and spend a silent moment communicating with whatever spiritual being in which they believe. Seriously, what’s stopping them?

Huckabee also ignores the historical fact that school killings did occur long before any atheists took any school district to court. The Bath School disaster (5/18/1927) still holds the record for the number of children killed, although in this case the killer used bombs, not guns. Also, in more recent times, there was a string of mass murders involving guns in the nation’s post offices. These incidents added “disgruntled postal worker” to the nation’s lexicon, and to punch lines among late night talk show monologists. This last fact begs the question: Mr. Huckabee, when exactly did God get kicked out of the post office?

Huckabee may be correct in that it is not so much that God is not present in the schools, but rather that another idol — the Second Amendment — has taken God’s place in the hearts of many Americans. Yes, I will take this plunge and put it this way. Paraphrasing one of America’s most famous gun murder victims, John Lennon, I will dare say that too many people think the Second Amendment is bigger than Jesus Christ.

There, I said it! Don’t hold your breath waiting for a retraction or an apology. This isn’t the sole reason for America’s gun happy demeanor, but it shouldn’t be discounted from the varied reasons for our epidemic of violence. A rise in mental illness among people, a lack of resources public and private to deal with the same illnesses, a general desensitivization towards violence among the population, more exposure to violence in the media both factual and fictional, mixed in with the traditional ethnocentrism/bigotry can all be contributing factors explaining our love of using guns to resolve conflicts. And oh yes, let’s not forget the too easy availability of semi-automatic weapons that are manufactured for one purpose and only one purpose: to kill as many people in the shortest amount of time as possible.

Too many people have placed a modification of our Constitution (notice the Founding Fathers gave more importance to freedom of expression than possession of guns) where their belief in an almighty spirit should be. No wonder we’re effed up when it comes to guns in this country. Many people will need to reevaluate their priorities and temper their worship of the cold, metal shooting iron with common sense.

It is a tricky, multi-pronged problem which calls for a multi-pronged solution. We’ve tackled bigger issues than this in our country’s history. We can solve this problem, because we are better than this.

So, America it’s happened again, but it doesn’t have to happen anymore.

(Thank you for reading. Dad, we said good bye seven years ago today. I miss you.)


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