What It Do: Dog Won’t Hunt

I’m sick of debating guns. I’m sick of hearing about guns. I’m sick of writing about guns.

I’m sick of hysteric Facebook posts with Obama Photoshopped to look like Stalin or Hitler, often accompanied by some kind of falsified historical quote to give the whole thing more gravitas.

I’m sick of feeling like the girl at the end of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers—wandering, surrounded by inhuman freaks, thinking I’ve found a fellow human until they point a craggy finger and start screeching at me.

For the first time in my life, I’m actually sick of the very idea of guns. In this moment, for all I care, they could ban and/or confiscate every last one of the bastards, and good riddance to bad rubbish.

Obviously, from a public policy standpoint, I don’t genuinely support a full scale weapons ban, but then again, neither does the President, the Democratic caucus, or really anybody—aside from Bloomberg, of course—who has actual influence.

But to hear the NRA faction tell it, the jackbooted thugs are coming around any day to confiscate your firearms and redistribute your wealth to the New Black Panther Party, before burning your Glenn Beck special-edition prints of the Declaration Of Independence. This delusion stands in marked contrast with any real world policy contained within or implied by the 23 executive actions the Obama administration has recently proposed to address gun violence.

The actions are a collection of somewhat useful—but far from transformative—new initiatives and changes to existing rules. Nothing on the list really modifies anything substantial, and the vast majority of gun-toting Americans will never even notice the difference.

Well, they wouldn’t notice, except for the fact that the gun stores, the NRA, right wing media, conservative politicians—pretty much anybody who gets a slice of the gun industry’s substantial pie—will continue to do what they’ve been doing: aggressive fear mongering for power and profit, trying to convince the rubes to buy now, before the feds bust up the party.

It’s gone well beyond the point of debate. It’s become one of those issues, like global warming, where people decide what they believe largely based on the preferences of their overall cultural tribe, regardless of whether reality lines up with those beliefs. In fact, any contradictory evidence is automatically discarded as invalid.

It’s like religion, in that way. Actually, it’s like religion in pretty much every way.

Adherents feel like they are constantly under assault from society and culture, when the reality is nobody is out to get them. Anybody who doesn’t fully subscribe to orthodoxy is viewed as existing somewhere on the spectrum between evil and pure evil.

Subsequently, they view themselves as noble warriors of light in an epic struggle against the Dark One. And the gun is their totem—their icon—which would be kind of poetic in a way, if it weren’t so damned paranoid delusional. And if the issue didn’t have such real world consequences.

Because unlike religion, the icon these folks worship can be used to perform acts of great malice and destruction in very short periods of time. But we can’t even have a conversation about how to reasonably protect ourselves as a society without their histrionics—ironically claiming they are being prevented from protecting themselves.

Their answer is that everybody should be armed. Men. Women. Children. Grandmothers.

I’m reminded of that terrible movie from a few years ago where all the townspeople were secretly werewolves who were packin’ heat. The image of an old lady pulling a big revolver out of her purse and shooting it out with the bad guys was ridiculous in the movie—and would be even more so, in real life.

Even in a forward operating base in a war zone, nobody is allowed to carry a loaded weapon unless they are, at that moment, performing a task where its use may be required—i.e. guard duty or patrols. Yet our civilian gun worshipers seem to think that the average citizen would have better weapons safety habits than highly trained military personnel.

And that’s not even considering what happens when the bullets start flying.

A relative who was in Vietnam once told me about that first moment he realized he could actually hear the bullets cutting through the jungle humidity. He said he instantly went from feeling like a badass in green to a little kid playing army dress-up—and that at first it was all he could do not to run for his life.

Perhaps that’s the American gun cult’s greatest delusion, this perception of themselves as potential gunfighters, if not full-on special forces operatives. Too many movies. Too much fear. Too many guns.

I’m just so damn sick of guns.