what we can do

During a conversation I had with my Mom in which we lamented the epidemic of shootings in schools, theaters, and other public places, she eventually sighed and said what everyone usually says, something to the effect of “there’s nothing we can do.”

“But there is something we can do,” I said.

“What?” she asked.

“Ban guns,” I said.

She blinked. Apparently she hadn’t realized I was a radical leftie.

“What? All guns?”

“Not at first, no,” I said. “At a minimum, I would start with banning all semiautomatic guns with removable magazines. But eventually, yes, all guns.”

“Well, that’ll never happen,” she said.

“Why not?” I asked.

“Because there would be riots in the streets.”

“I don’t believe that,” I replied. “Every day there’s a new law being passed in one state or another banning abortion, banning books, banning sexual identity. The overwhelming majority of people hate these laws, and yet there aren’t any riots. Meanwhile, kids are being murdered every day and law makers aren’t doing anything about it, something which absolutely should result in massive protests, and yet still nothing.”

“Well the people who have guns will riot.”

“No, I don’t believe they will. People didn’t riot in other countries where guns were banned. Assault rifles were banned in the United States for years but nobody rioted. I think the argument that banning guns will start riots, or an uprising, or a revolution, is propaganda spread by politicians to make you believe banning guns is impossible.”

“What would you do about the second amendment?” she asked.

“Repeal it!” I answered. “Laws can be changed. They’re changed all the time. We’ve repealed amendments before. It’s just an amendment, it’s not holy writ.”

“What about hunters?”

“What about them? If the trade-off for allowing people have guns is letting kids get killed, I say that’s too high a cost. If your hobby is hunting, then find another hobby. If you hunt to feed your family, then learn to set snares or get a bow and arrows. Native Americans survived without guns for generations. Nobody needs guns to hunt.”

“You’d have to be a king to do any of this. You’d never get elected.”

“I don’t believe that’s true, either. Politics is propaganda. Ever time there’s a shooting, politicians flood the airwaves with propaganda: ‘There’s nothing we can do. No law will keep guns out of the hands of criminals.’ If that’s true then why do they pass laws banning anything? The only thing preventing the election of anyone with a platform that includes banning guns is having the ability to spread anti-gun propaganda. If the people who want to ban guns had the ability to flood the media with their propaganda that politicians have, guns would be banned.”

This is a condensed version of our conversation so I could edit out all the cuss words and sputtering I did as I made my case. In the process I made it sound like a lecture, which I hope it wasn’t because I hope I didn’t lecture my Mom, but it mystifies me that honest, sincere, smart people — my Mom, for instance — believe that gun control laws are impossible to enact in this country because Americans will riot in the streets. First of all, no they won’t. Second of all, if they did then how would that look? Hundreds of thousands of armed civilians roaming the streets, shooting their AR-15s at unarmed people? (I’m assuming they wouldn’t shoot at armed people because they’re, y’know, on the same side.) Do they suppose that every governor wouldn’t call out the National Guard to put down that kind of riot? And finally, how’s it better to let them hold the rest of us hostage under threat of getting shot at the mall, movie theater, bank, or school? Spoiler alert: It’s not. It sucks.

Gun control now.

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