Home of the Brave, Land of the Sitting Ducks

sitting ducks

Let’s just concede the obvious: the National Rifle Association and those in the political realm who loyally or timorously work on its behalf have won. The country is a roiling of sea of easy armaments and probably always will be.

No regulatory sponge conceivable could soak them up, short of the most committed political determination to shrink the glut, about as likely as carving Gandhi into Mt. Rushmore.

America doesn’t simply fetishize guns and violence it mythologizes them, to the point of willful distortion of the role of guns in American history, and over the last decade or so they have been elevated into the realm of the sacred.  For all Americans’ stated abhorrence of violence, they tolerate a great deal of it in exchange for the legal proliferation of weapons and for what are now virtually unlimited gun rights. Guns can be carried nearly anywhere, concealed or unconcealed, can be bought online or at the local gun show without the inconvenience of a basic check on the buyer’s criminal history or mental health. In perhaps the most insanely juvenile act of obeisance to the mythology of the Wild West, states have passed the “stand your ground laws” which all but indemnify murderers who shoot first, check later and eventually pay for an efficacious legal defense.

Under the circumstances, American life absent regularly scheduled outbursts of tragic violence such as that which occurred today in Connecticut would qualify as truly miraculous. Surely shock has become more of a public ritual than anything truly experienced at the news of the latest spasm of mayhem.

No matter how much sanctimony and reverence can be lathered up about the Second Amendment, neither a sensible reading of the amendment nor the history pertinent to its inclusion in the founding document justify the “interpretation” that individual gun ownership is a constitutionally protected right. While I’m content with the ability of and the choice by citizens to enable or encourage their political representatives to enact or retain the legalization of individual gun ownership, I’m likewise, given the sheer number of guns drenching the American landscape, the ease of acquisition, the lack of restriction on weapons of greater lethality, and the evident promiscuity of gun violence in the United States compared to the rest of the world, also content to state my view of this current laissez-faire relationship of Americans to guns as an expression of national stupidity.

 

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