Babies and Guns

Violence in this country is not a bug in the system, it’s a feature. It is at the core of who we are. 

We own more guns, and kill more people with them, than any other country in the world. We have mass shootings in schools, places of worship, places of work, concerts, and places to shop. Americans make up less than 5 percent of the world’s population, yet they own roughly 45 percent of all the world’s privately held firearms.

The original settlers, who sought freedom from oppression, slaughtered and nearly wiped out the entire indigenous population. We enslaved millions of Black Africans, dehumanized them, and perpetrated acts of egregious violence to control them.

These egregious acts of violence are part of our historical psyche. 

We have a soulless hypocritical political party screaming at the rooftops about the sanctity of life when it comes to abortion that doesn’t give two shits about children being slaughtered; a soulless party beholden to the NRA, an organization devoted to the proliferation of guns and a warped view of the 2nd Amendment.

Republican candidates campaign proudly brandishing their weapons.

Blake Masters, a leading candidate in Arizona’s Republican Senate primary, cradles a semiautomatic weapon. “This is a short-barreled rifle,” he said, ominous music playing in the background. “It wasn’t designed for hunting. This is designed to kill people.”

Yes, Blake, it does kill people. Nineteen children to be exact in a school in Texas. Would you be moved to do something about this horror if one of them was your child?

In Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey unpacked lipstick, an iPhone and something else from her purse in an ad declaring “a little Smith & Wesson .38,” she said. A Republican candidate for governor in Georgia declared in a different spot, “I believe in Jesus, guns, and babies.”

Yes, Kay, how does it feel that those guns killed those “babies.” Your lipstick is their blood! Would you be moved to do something about this horror if it were your grandchildren?

In Nevada, an ad for former Senator Dean Heller, now a Republican candidate for governor, bragged about his wife’s shooting skills. And in North Carolina, a spot for Representative Ted Budd, a Republican Senate candidate, boasted that he owned a gun range.

Yes, Dean, but I wonder how effectively those skills would work against someone with an AK-15 wearing body armor. Would you be moved to do something about this horror if it were your children?

Yes, Ted, how cool you own a shooting range. Maybe that’s we should train all of America’s teachers to be gun-slingers. Would you be moved to do something about this horror if it were your children?

In a House primary in Ohio, the Air Force veteran J.R. Majewski ran a television ad in which he carried a rifle, said, “I’m willing to do whatever it takes to return this country back to its former glory” — and then pulled the trigger.

But J. R., what glory can you claim when our children are being killed in their classrooms? Would you be moved to do something about this horror if it were your children?

In Arkansas, an ad run by a group supporting Jake Bequette, an Army veteran and former pro football player whose G.O.P. primary challenge to Senator John Boozman failed on Tuesday, repeated the phrase “Babies, borders, bullets” — calling those the “values we cherish” — and showed clips of the candidate taking aim with an assault rifle. 

Yes, Jake, bullets do kill “babies.” Would you be moved to do something about this horror if it were your children?

I believe the answer to the refrain above is astonishingly no! The answer is to give teachers guns! Certainly our shortage of teachers would be solved by asking teachers to carry firearms. Maybe Republicans will pass legislation requiring all teachers getting education degrees to do an internship at a shooting range before they can get their license to teach.

We have an ex-president who encouraged violence and according to Mark Meadows, his chief of staff, after hundreds of rioters at the Capitol started chanting “Hang Mike Pence!” told colleagues that he was complaining that the vice president was being whisked to safety. According to a report by the N.Y. Times The Don suggested that if the January 6th insurrectionists (for him patriots!) would have hung Mike Pence none of this would have happened (suggesting he would still be the president!) 

We have created a society where kids are scared to go to school. Kids have “shooter” training.  Some have bulletproof backpacks! Perhaps the Republicans want children to carry handguns in their lunch box.

But there are countries that have met the challenge of gun violence.

On Monday, the government in Canada banned handgun sales and proposed legislation requiring that most owners of “military-style assault weapons” turn over their rifles to a government buyback program.

After a British gunman killed 16 people in 1987, the country banned semiautomatic weapons like those he had used. It did the same with most handguns after a 1996 school shooting. It now has one of the lowest gun-related death rates in the developed world.

In Australia, a 1996 massacre prompted mandatory gun buybacks that saw, according to some estimates, as many as one million firearms melted into slag. The rate of mass shootings plummeted from once every 18 months to, so far, only one in the 26 years since.

This will never happen in America until we come to terms with the violent society we are. In fact, it could get worse. Republicans continue to gin up fears and grievances against those who are not White Christians urging people to take back America from these so called invaders. Honestly, this continued horror will not end anytime soon. It will not end until Republicans find a soul and conscience and decide that politic expediency and need for power take a back seat to the sanctity of life.

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