Don’t Shoot!

June 14, 2022 § Leave a comment

Sometimes I see the arguments of Second Amendment over-enthusiasts and I can do nothing but smack my head against the nearest wall. Yes, the Second Amendment sort of says we can have guns in the US, but the Second Amendment also underwent a profound re-reading in the 1980s and 90s, thanks mostly to the NRA. And so we are in the predicament we are right now, where there is a mass shooting pretty much daily in the United States. This is a screen shot from the Gun Violence Archive. It is the mass shootings in the US from 5-12 June 2022, and even at that, it shows only one of five mass shootings on the 5th.

If you’re not feeling the desire to count the lines on that page, it shows 20 mass shootings in the space of a week. Twenty. If you add the other four shootings on 5 June, that’s 24. This next image, from Wikipedia, shows the mass shootings in the 20th and 21st centuries in Canada, from 1969-2021. In case you’re wondering, the line previous to the 1969 one was the Frog Lake Massacre as part of Louis Riel’s second rebellion in 1885. In other words, from 1885-1969, Canada had no mass shootings. And since 1969, Canada has had nine mass shootings. Two of the events in this list, in Toronto in 2018 and in London, Ontario, were vehicle attacks.

Meanwhile, the UK has had 6 mass shootings, excluding the Troubles in Northern Ireland, since the 1990s. I don’t count the Troubles as it was, in essence, a civil war.

So what can we conclude? Mass shootings only happen in the United States. What is the recommendation of Second Amendment over-enthusiasts? More guns. Seriously. They believe in the myth that a good guy with a gun will stop a bad guy with a gun. Even the ultra-RWNJ Washington Times could find all of 11 times that has happened in the past 30 years. As a reminder, there were 24 mass shootings in the US from 5-12 June. Eleven armed citizens in 30 years stopped shooters. But none were that week in early June.

Then there’s my favourite of the wingnut explanations. I came across this one on LinkedIn last week:

“Just a Friendly Reminder: Adolf Hitler confiscated guns before killing between 11-20 Million of his people. Joseph Stalin confiscated guns before killing 20-70 Million of his people. Mao Zedong confiscated guns before killing 70-100 million of his people. The list goes on and on, Pol Pot confiscated guns before killing 2 Million of his people, etc, etc. It is as old as time and our founders knew that. For instance, look at the oppression of Scotland under England where weapons of war were banned for the Scottish people, leading to oppression by the English. Read your history. Government OF the people, BY the people, and FOR the people requires citizens NOT subjects. When you disarm a citizen, you make them into a subject. So, don’t allow the balance of power between the government and the people guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment to be removed. And, realize that it is also a matter of national security. No country in the world would risk invading the United States because the largest standing army in the world are the private gun owners of America. The answer to bad guys with guns, is good guys with guns. We should train, educate, qualify, register, and equip every teacher in America for concealed carry.  #HardenOurSchools

I am not going to out the guy who posted this, I am not going to publicly humiliate anyone. Instead, the logic here. First, he points (and this is a common argument amongst this ilk) to Adolph Hitler, Josef Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Pol Pot. What do those four men have in common? They were dictators. All committed genocide, on both their own people, and in Hitler and Stalin’s case, foreigners. What does the United States not have? That’s right, we don’t have a dictator in the White House. But, interestingly enough, the United States has come very close to a dictatorship, or at least a president willing to claim he won an election he lost and enact a coup to maintain power. Who is that, you wonder? Why, it was Donald J. Trump, the 45th president of these United States.

So, in other words, the darling of the conservative world is the only person who has ever attempted to overthrow the democracy of the United States.

Arguments such as these are ahistorical, they are cherry-picking, and they compare apples to hockey sticks. Not even oranges, as oranges are a fruit like apples. Comparing the government of the United States to Mao’s China is ridiculous. Patently stupid. Outrageously so.

This was not the first time I’ve seen this argument, I’ve seen it almost word-for-word on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and now LinkedIn. This is a common talking point of 2A over-enthusiasts. And yet, it is just so easy to break down the illogic and expose this as a word salad that, ultimately, means nothing.

The fact of the matter remains that the United States has a pandemic of mass shootings because it is the only nation in the western world that has unchecked gun ownership. And what are guns for? Killing things. Period.

That, of course, brings up another wonderful argument of the 2A over-enthusiasts. My neighbour had a car with this bumper sticker, actually. Unfortunately for my purposes here, he’s since sold it, so I don’t have a picture. But. The bumper sticker said: “Is it my spoon’s fault I’m fat?” No, obviously it’s not. But, yet, spoons are not designed to kill. They’re designed to get food from your bowl into your mouth. Similarly, a car is not designed to kill, but to get you from point A to point B. Even knives are not necessarily designed to kill, there’s a lot you can do with a knife. A gun? Not so much.

Until the politicians in this country have the guts to confront this issue in an aggressive and progressive manner, nothing is going to change. That archive of gun violence I took that first image from covers mass shootings in the United States in the calendar year of 2022. That archive is 11 pages long. But the archive goes back to 2014. So far this year, there have been 267 mass shootings. In 2014, there were 272 mass shootings. In 2021, there were 692. They have gone up in number each and every year since 2014, with the exception of 2017-18 when the number declined from 382 in 2016 to 348, and then to 336 in 2018. But 2019 saw 417. 2020 brought us 610. Last year there were 692.

This is insanity. Each year since 2014, anywhere between 40,000 and 55,000 people die due to gun violence. This is utter insanity.

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