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Thursday, December 3, 2015

WTF America? Why?!

I haven’t written anything here for a while. I think about it most every day, but things get in my mental way: I’m doing other work; second-guessing myself; worried about the relevance of this blog to my life and to you all. And so I just haven’t.

It’s been more than three years since I left FPC Duluth. I was only there for 13 months out of my 47 years. Not a day passes that I don’t think about my short time there, but names and specific memories are fading a bit (I’ve got a lot of it written down somewhere…). This must be greatly magnified for my friends who were there a lot longer than I was.

So, as a blog discussing my experiences there, this site is becoming harder and harder to write.

On the other hand, from the perspective of what I learned, promised myself and the effects of the experience on my daily life, I think I may still have a few things to say. This week, especially.

The mass shooting in San Bernardino was some sort of last straw for me; just one tragedy too many (although, isn’t every tragedy one too many)? I’m on supervised release for a few months still, so every 30 days or so, I have to attest that I did not possess or “control” any firearms. Then, for the rest of my life, it will be illegal for me to own a gun.

I have never owned a gun; never wanted to. When I was a kid, I fired a .22 caliber rifle at cans or boards a few times but never at a living target. I don’t think I’ve ever even held a handgun.

My frustration is that, when it comes to guns, I am not the problem. Yet, the federal government has a vested interest in monitoring my non-ownership of a firearm. Meanwhile, legally-purchased and carried guns are used everyday to kill people in the United States.

Like climate change deniers, gun fanatics and their lobbyists are imperiling my children, and I am outraged.

The statistics speak for themselves, no matter how you spin them. We have more, routine, daily gun deaths than any other developed nation on the planet. Way more. Period.

Sadly, the most horrific ones are not the dramatic rampages like San Bernardino or Sandy Hook. To me the most awful incidents are those demonstrating ordinary gun-owners’ utter disregard for human life. How many more kids need to be accidentally shot or killed in their own homes by their parents’ guns? How many more Waffle House servers need to be slain for asking a customer not to smoke?

Guns are so commonplace that they’re left around the house, between sofa cushions, in purses for children to find and kill themselves. Why wouldn’t it be second nature to kill somebody who interrupts your Winston and waffle? It’s your Constitutional right… right?

No. It’s not. And don’t even start. I have a law degree and practiced as a lawyer for 15 years. I know what the Second Amendment says;  it doesn’t fucking say that! Oh, and to all you supposed ‘Muricans who are stockpiling weapons in case the government comes for you? That’s treason, you seditious idiots.

Could San Bernardino or Sandy Hook have been prevented? Who knows, maybe not. But it sure could have been made much more difficult. The weapons and ammunition used in the San Bernardino massacre were legally purchased! How can anyone logically argue that preventing private citizens from owning assault rifles would not have impeded this or any other tragedy involving automatic or semi-automatic weapons?

Last week, on the day after Thanksgiving, Americans legally bought more than 150,000 firearms. In one day! Most countries have standing armies with fewer weapons.

And still the gun lobby continues to insist that a proliferation of firearms does not contribute to gun deaths in the United States. Still with that “people kill people” bullshit. Well, you know what? If someone walked into the Inland Service Center with a knife – or even a machete or chainsaw – I guarantee there would be far fewer casualties than there were yesterday.

Gun laws need to be changed, and they need to be changed now. Assault weapons and most handguns should be banned outright. Laws for misuse of or negligence with regard to firearms should be strengthened. Shooters may not be deterrable but everyday idiots can be.

Until then, we can have this argument again when the next shooting happens tomorrow. And the next day. And the next day…

I know that I have just waded into an intractable issue; that I’m not changing anybody’s mind or even probably doing anything beyond angering the “cold, dead hand” set. But this is my blog, so fuck you.