The Column, No. 84:
The Serious Conversation About Gun Control
Emotional pundits and politicians, lacking anything of substance or value to say, have recently used the hoary tactic of pleading for a serious conversation. Rather than rely on criminologists or those intimately familiar with firearms, the shrill banter comes from showboat British citizen Piers Morgan or a sports announcer. I'm gratified they don't give out medical or legal advice from such a towering platform of ignorance. Everyone should be.
The issue of course is not a matter of hardware, nor is it an expansion of our bloated government to ineptly control the behavior of a few deeply troubled individuals. There is time for serious conversations, of course, but hardly limited to a singular event that media seeks to profit from. Traffic deaths soared 13.5 percent in the first quarter of 2012 (CNN, July 23, 2012) yet that warranted no particular conversation, serious or otherwise.
The United States is the world's leading jailer. Our prison system is the costliest in the word; we imprison more of our citizens than anyone. The U.S. prison system in not working. Where is the serious conversation?
The United States continually sacrifices the lives of its own citizens. The 50,209 dead American kids in Vietnam did generate conversation, yet perhaps not enough. Not enough to stop 4,486 dead Americans in Iraq from 2003-2011, not enough to prevent 2,145 dead Americans in Afghanistan since 2001 as of 11/20/2012. Should anyone still need reminding that the deadliest encounter in American history was our own internal war, about 625,000 dead Americans from 1861-1865, yet serious conversation hardly prevented it. One might think that after the inconclusive Battle of Antietam that left 23,000 dead, wounded and missing in a single day, there would be some serious conversation. However, we were incapable of it.
Of course, there should be serious discussion about a criminally insane individual that takes out ten, twenty, or thirty people before committing suicide. Yet, there should also be a very serious conversation about the allegedly sane leaders of this country that ignore 2.5 imprisoned Americans, not seeing that as an immediate problem, ignore the roughly 33,000 – 43,000 dead Americans left on the highway every single year and routinely send brave Americans to their deaths on foreign soil serving various, esoteric versions of American interests.
What is lacking in the call for a serious conversation is fundamentally the serious part. Is there legislation that can be passed to prevent a deranged, unhinged twenty year old from killing his mother, stealing her guns and trying to up the body count where she worked before committing suicide? You can't be serious.
"Gun Control" was in full force in Connecticut. The question should be why it failed, again, not a call for more meaningless laws. The response is invariably trying to take away guns from those that didn't do it. 30,000 people commit suicide every year in the U.S., about 82 times per day. A few times a year, the deranged and unhinged attack innocent people. For those with broken minds, no legislation is meaningful or effective. There are no consequences to those who commit suicide; there is no downside, there can be no punishment. Values cannot be applied to those who have none. Broken minds cannot be legislated into an unbroken state. The completely illegal cannot be made more illegal. The sudden mother-killer cannot be legislated into a non mother-murder. It isn't that difficult to understand.
Copyright 2012 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.