|This is a first grade class and teacher. Now think of them all shot dead brutally.|
Then, think just like Damon Linker and say, "There's nothing we can do about it."
If Damon Linker is right, and there's nothing we in America can do to significantly reduce gun violence, then I suggest we all just buy one and shoot ourselves in the head. There, an American solution!
Or, as I wanted when I was twenty-two, we could move to the Netherlands. They don't want us there now, so it's too late. Anyway, I'm sixty-six, not twenty-two, and my wife doesn't want to move. Oh, well.
Here's brilliant cynic Damon Linker:
[...] I would personally love to wake up tomorrow and find myself in such an America [one that would ban guns].
But there is no chance of it happening. Zero.
Why? Because the Supreme Court has declared that the Constitution forbids it. Because a sizable chunk of the country strongly opposes it. Because America's democratic culture would never allow the mass confiscation of property by the government. When that property is a weapon that could be trained on the person attempting the confiscation, things get trickier still.
There is simply no realistic path that gets us from the country we have to the country gun-control advocates want.
Should we try to pass more laws regulating guns? Absolutely. If your city is motivated to ban high-capacity gun magazines, by all means do so. The same with local, state, or federal laws encouraging the development of childproof guns and public-health efforts to persuade people to buy them. The same with increasing waiting periods, deepening background checks for gun purchases, and closing the gun-show loophole. Go ahead and do every well-intentioned thing in Nicholas Kristof's indignant column on the Roanoke shooting.
But understand that in the end the improvements will only be marginal. Yes, some indeterminate number of lives will be saved, which is why we should keep trying. Something is always better than nothing. But there will still be hundreds of millions of guns out there in circulation, and countless ways to purchase new ones, which means there will be ample opportunities for a would-be mass murderer to secure the means of attaining his goal. That's why Kristof's analogy to lives saved by automobile regulations is bogus. The vast majority of people killed while driving die by accident. The vast majority of people killed by guns die by intent. Firearms are deadly weapons, we have an awful lot of them lying around, and unfortunately we have a disturbingly large number of people who want to use them to kill human beings.
This doesn't make me happy. It makes me ill. It means that, in this respect at least, America is broken.No, Damon Linker, your cynicism isn't helpful. We, those of us smart -- yes, smart -- enough to know that statistics say guns make us less safe, should work as hard as we can to alter gun laws to make us more safe. First, start locally: your town, your county, your state. And vote only for those who are brave enough to state openly that they're for tougher gun laws.
Then boycott any business that supports guns in any way, shape or form. For example, if Walmart sells guns, don't shop there (I stopped shopping there fifteen years ago for other reasons).
Move to a state -- mostly blue -- that have stricter gun laws and are therefore safer. Let everyone know that you moved from Alaska and Louisiana to Hawaii or New Jersey because you feel safer.
Then keep talking. Guns kill people. American guns kill more people than all the terrorism in history. Don't tell me we can't ever be as safe as Australia and the U.K. and the rest of the civilized world. And think of that first grade class in the picture.