I won’t lie: I’ve gotten pretty numb to the endless headlines about gun violence, mass shootings, gun deaths, and gun EVERYTHING. The shooting on campus at my alma mater Michigan State University tore the scab off this week and after the depression and sadness subsided, I’m left with outrage and white hot anger at those who would gaslight us that this is simply something we have to accept.
I spent countless hours in Berkey Hall. Nearly failing calculus my freshman year. Getting into intense conversations about society and our place in it in other classes. Watching films for other classes with a small group of classmates in the evenings. All of us who went to MSU spent time in the Union for any number of activities. Thinking about those times and visiting my daughter when she went to State and lived just a few hundred yards from the Union and then trying to envision a shooter in those same settings is hard to reconcile.
On cue, the gun fetishists and other conservatives instantly cranked up their Gaslighting Machine to explain why we just have to accept all this as the price of “freedom”.
››› Not the freedom to get an education without fear of being murdered.
››› Not the freedom to go shopping without fear of being slaughtered.
››› Not the freedom to be in public without fear of being mowed down by gunfire.
For these gaslighting cretins, we have to accept steadily increasing gun violence in society as the price of the freedom to carry around weapons designed for one thing and one thing only: To kill people.
››› They tell us that no law would stop all gun deaths while they support myriad other laws that don’t completely eradicate the crimes they are aimed to prevent.
››› They tell us that it’s a mental health issue, not a gun issue, while they advocate for fewer resources for our mental health professionals in all areas of our lives.
››› They trot out the absurd trope that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” as if the presence of 120 guns for every 100 people in America isn’t somehow related to the incredible death toll from gun violence.
››› They tell us we’re not qualified to talk about gun violence and how to end it unless we can accurately describe all of the pieces parts of a gun.
››› They fight every single effort to mitigate the worst impacts of this “uniquely American problem”, no matter how sensible, moderate, or commonsense.
It’s all gaslighting from start to finish.
Much of the blame, of course, lies with the National Rifle Association (NRA), a gun manufacturer lobby that spends vast sums preventing any sort of progress on gun control. But conservatives have hitched their death wagon to the NRA and have successfully created a gun culture among the least educated people in our country. And once it’s become a culture, no amount of data, information, facts, or figures will dissuade them from their belief that all of this is okay.
It’s not okay and there are things we CAN do, things the gun fetishists who are in the minority have stopped us from doing for far too long. We’ve tried their approach (do nothing) for way too long. Now it’s time we actually do something.
So, do something. If you’re in Michigan, sign up to help & support End Gun Violence Michigan HERE. No matter where you are, sign up to help & support Everytown (HERE), Sandy Hook Promise (HERE), and Moms Demand Action (HERE). Give them money. Lend your voice and talents. Join the increasing groundswell of Americans who have absolutely had it with the gun gaslighting and want action NOW.
Finally, know this: Gun violence can be prevented but it takes political will and those we elect into positions of power to exercise that will won’t do anything until they know that their time in power ends unless they DO SOMETHING. So make sure your state House Representative, your state Senator, your member of Congress, and your U.S. Senator along with all of your local elected officials know this. An easy way to reach your two state legislators is to go HERE (NOTE: This will add you to the email list for Michigan Parent Alliance for Safe Schools, the sponsors of the campaign.)
Every one of them needs to know they will be held accountable unless they DO SOMETHING.
[Worst Choice graphic by Fernando Horta]