I was raised in a home with guns. My father had hunting rifles, the kind you might use to shoot a deer or a squirrel. He used his to shoot both, though he hunted less and less as I grew older. In later years he used one of those rifles to shoot a snake that was threatening a neighborhood dog. Daddy never owned the sort of gun meant for killing people—no handguns or military style assault weapons. He didn’t shoot for fun. The sort of weapon used to kill more than 50 concertgoers in Las Vegas would be useless in killing a snake. It would render a deer inedible. The only reason anyone owns a gun that can shoot multiple rounds in seconds is to kill a large number of people in a short amount of time. The people who use these weapons to commit mass murder are not “lone wolves.” They are working hand-in-hand with members of Congress, the NRA, and gun manufacturers.
America is saturated with deadly weapons. Why? Because the dead-evil bastards at the NRA tell Americans that owning a gun makes them more patriotic. The Second Amendment was not meant to provide cover for the massacre of innocent people, but that’s how it’s being interpreted today. There are people in this country stockpiling deadly weapons just because they can. They treat guns like toys rather than tools. And plenty of them don’t know how to use or properly store the damned things. They are far more likely to see their weapons turned against them than to ever use a gun in self defense. Their children get hold of the guns and shoot one another and all we do is shake our heads and say, “what a shame.” And yet Americans keep amassing weapons.
Now Congress is debating a bill that will make it easier and cheaper to buy silencers for guns. They call it the “Hearing Protection Bill,” but they ought to call it the “Killer Protection Bill,” because that’s who it will protect. Not only can anyone legally purchase deadly weapons that have no function except to quickly kill massive numbers of their fellow human beings, but now they can carry out their massacres in near silence. You won’t hear the gunmen coming anymore. You won’t know to run. Maybe the NRA and members of Congress are trying to save us from the terror that precedes being shot to death, but I’d rather hear what’s coming. I’d like some chance to take cover.
News reports this morning are calling the Vegas killer a “lone wolf.” That’s crap. He didn’t work alone. He was aided and abetted by members of Congress, by Wayne LaPierre, and by every other American who argues that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” We have to stop selling the fiction that there is nothing to be done about these mass shootings. There is plenty to be done. We could institute common sense gun control measures. We could stop pretending that the Second Amendment gives us the right to own any terrible thing the gun manufacturers can dream up. We could start looking a little more carefully at people who buy guns in bulk. We could insist on more stringent background checks. We could insist that all guns be equipped with fingerprint-access technology that would make the weapon inoperable except by authorized users. We could restrict the sale of assault weapons to the general public. We could hold gun purchasers criminally responsible for any crimes committed with their weapon, no matter who pulls the trigger. And we could do a hundred other things, but we won’t. Why? Because the people running this country believe money is more important than human lives. They’ve convinced us to believe it too.
Let’s dispense with the myth of the lone wolf and place the responsibility for these shootings where it belongs: squarely on the shoulders of gutless lawmakers, greedy gun manufacturers, and the shady lobbyists at the NRA. The blood is on their hands. If only we could lock them all up.