Tired of the AR-15 yet?

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Memo to gun rights enthusiasts: We’re not living in the land of the Walking Dead. We’re not trying to survive the Zombie Apocalypse.

If there’s a house being broken into, it’s probably not a gang of crazies looking to kill and eat an entire family. It’s more likely a desperate schmuck looking for cash, or something to hock. In most cases, a decent home security system can provide the deterrence and protection you need. But if a criminal persists, I suspect a 12-gauge shot gun or a hand gun is sufficient protection.

Do people really “need” their AR-15? Of course they don’t. Any citizen who argues they “need” an AR-15 is full of shit.  But here’s the thing – they LOVE their AR-15. They enjoy firing it, and more to the point, they enjoy the feeling they get when they fire it. They get pumped like John Rambo on crack when they fire their AR-15. The sensation of a round exploding through the barrel, the synaptic crackle and pop, the release of endorphins, the sense of control, the validation of masculinity, and the empowering dissipation of weakness and insecurity, all in one-fell-swoop. Why would any law-abiding citizen give up all that pleasure?

Listen, I get the tired argument that guns and ammunition are “inanimate objects”, in-and-of-themselves, not dangerous. But if we know that one inanimate object is being used consistently in mass shootings, and that banning the sale of that object would not cause harm to society, why the hesitation?

The NRA continues to use fear (nothing loosens purse strings like fear), patriotism, and (appallingly) God, to peddle guns and pad the bottom line of gun manufacturers.

The gun lobby fills the coffers of senators and congressmen to push the false message that the AR-15 makes citizens safer, and that it’s a useful insurance policy against tyranny. And let’s face it, ideologically-ensconced, fact-challenged Americans don’t need a lot of convincing from the NRA.

Combine NRA efforts with an American mentality of wanting what we want, when we want it, (also known as the big “FUCK YOU, I LOVE MY GUNS!”) – and we have what we have today.

Will banning the AR-15 and similar weapons end mass shootings? No. The mass shooting issue is complicated and multifaceted, we need to do more than regulate weapons to prevent these tragedies from occurring. But banning these types of weapons will mean less carnage and fewer casualties per shooting. I know that’s not much, but in my opinion, it’s a baby step in the right direction.

The boulevard of the unsuspecting

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A mentally disturbed and delusional kid – spurned by others – sitting behind the wheel of a BMW – firing a legally purchased 9 mm semi-automatic pistol into a crowded café and deli – killing and maiming – just as he promised.

On any given day in America, any one of us can get cast for the role of the unintended victim in the twisted wreckage of someone else’s tragic life– like we are all just a trigger finger away from a becoming a profile on CNN’s website.

The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun – is a good guy with a gun, except that almost never ever happens – even though Americans are armed to the teeth – we still wake up (on average) to a mass murder every two weeks – and in most of these cases, the only thing that stops the bad guy with a gun, is that very same bad guy, when after killing a slew of people, he decides to eat a bullet.

Unfortunately, many American’s are as delusional as some of these shooters – as they continue to tell themselves that more guns make for a safer society, when the data tells us the exact opposite is true.

We are immersed a culture that glorifies violence, where too many believe that violence and aggression are the solution to problems – we have inadequate and often ineffective mental healthcare and way too many people who should not have access to guns – –  have access to guns.

I am sick and fucking tired of the NRA denying the role guns play in mass murder – there is clearly a gun component to this problem – but any time anyone even mentions, considers, whispers that maybe we should look at gun regulation along with other components of the problem, the NRA ratchets up a campaign of lies and fear.

We need to wake up.

Newtown CT, December 14, 2012

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When I heard the news out of Newtown CT yesterday, I was of course saddened. I stopped working for a while and watched the news reports, worked a little bit more before heading to Providence to watch my son play basketball.

When not directly affected by such tragedies, we absorb the news of them, we process that news (fairly quickly it seems to me), and we move forward.

Next week, for the vast majority of us, life will go on. We’ll put our little ones on the school bus or shout a goodbye to our teenagers as the fly out the door in the morning, and we will do so with only the slightest bit of hesitancy.

I suppose our capacity to push through these types of events is a survival mechanism. Natural selection has weeded out the trait of extended emotional grief. Our ancestors saddled with that trait did not survive long enough to pass it along, and I suppose that is a good thing. I only wish we could find a place somewhere between “crawling into bed and pulling the covers over our head” and “life goes on”.

This week will have a familiar sickening feel to it. We’ll watch the news coverage and walk around a bit dazed. We’ll struggle with the feelings that come with resigning ourselves to the negative in life. We’llfeel it behind our eyes, on the back of our necks and shoulders, and in the pit of our stomachs.