The Second Amendment has gone from being an 18th century constitutional concern for well-regulated militias to basically a license in the 20th-21st centuries for individuals to go on goddamned shooting sprees.
We had a shooting spree earlier this week in Oregon at a shopping mall, during the busiest time of the year Christmas season (here's your War on Christmas, Mr. O'Reilly), with a gunman using a military-level semiautomatic rifle that was once banned during the Clinton years but allowed back on the market during the Bush the Lesser years.
And just right now, as I'm writing this, we're getting reports of a shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut, with 20-27 deaths reported, most of them KIDS. There's a whole school a whole COMMUNITY of survivors now, traumatized, friends they just spoke to minutes before now dead... It's said that childhood ends when you learn what death is... and these kids just learned death in the most horrifying way...
This is after a mass shooting in Aurora Colorado at a movie theater. This is after year upon year of yet even more shootings in public places and gatherings, where most law-abiding non-gun-owning Americans would like to gather without fear of GETTING SHOT AT.
Every year, we've got a body count of gun-related deaths in this country equivalent to a goddamn civil war in some Third World nation. As of 2009 (for statistics, it takes awhile to tally up numbers), the United States had 15,000+ homicides with 9,000+ caused by guns/firearms. That's roughly 60 percent of violent deaths due to guns.
People kill people, you say? True. But it's also true that GUNS MAKE IT TOO GODDAMNED EASY.
Dear National Rifle Association:
We need gun control in this country. We need laws restricting gun ownership, not making it easier. We need to restrict ownership the same way we restrict car ownership, to make sure people are insured, licensed to use 'em, tested with exams to make sure there's no goddamn loose screws in their heads. We need to restrict gun sales to ensure that gun sellers are NOT selling or passing on firearms to unqualified would-be buyers (Dear God, they're selling 'em online exactly BECAUSE online sales are unregulated. NONE OF THEM CARE FOR SAFETY OF OTHERS, JUST THE GODDAMN SALE).
We need to establish ACCOUNTABILITY with guns much in the way we have accountability for car drivers, employees in high-risk industries, what have you.
We don't need civilian militias anymore. The frontiers are closed. The borders have guards now (even with the illegal immigrant issues, so shut up). We have an organized permanent military (the Founders may have feared the threat of tyranny from such a thing, but for the most part the military traditions of answering to civilian rule have reduced that risk to nothing). It doesn't take days to answer to a threat anymore, it takes minutes for law enforcement to respond. The NEED to own guns has gone down as crime rates have gone down (violent crime in particular has dropped). Just what the hell are you afraid of, gun nuts? (answer: other gun nuts, usually)
It is time, it is WELL PAST TIME that we as a nation rewrite that Second Amendment, and make it damned clear that while gun ownership is possible it MUST BE REGULATED to ensure the safety and protection of ALL Americans, including the ones who DON'T OWN GUNS.
What's more important, National Rifle Association: an 8-year-old's life that could have become a doctor or a teacher or a parent or a President, or a goddamn lump of metal that has only one purpose - to kill? Which do you worship more, you sons of bitches
Update: David Frum is angrier about it than I am:
Fuck you, NRA. Fuck you.A permissive gun regime is not the only reason that the United States suffers so many atrocities like the one in Connecticut. An inadequate mental health system is surely at least as important a part of the answer, as are half a dozen other factors arising from some of the deepest wellsprings of American culture.
Nor can anybody promise that more rational gun laws would prevent each and every mass murder in this country. Gun killings do occur even in countries that restrict guns with maximum severity.
But we can say that if the United States worked harder to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, there would be many, many fewer atrocities like the one in Connecticut.
And I'll say: I'll accept no lectures about "sensitivity" on days of tragedy like today from people who work the other 364 days of the year against any attempt to prevent such tragedies.
It's bad enough to have a gun lobby. It's the last straw when that lobby also sets up itself as the civility police. It may not be politically possible to do anything about the prevalence of weapons of mass murder. But it damn well ought to be possible to complain about them - and about the people who condone them.