I rarely break the once-per-week protocol, but earlier this week, like you, I was horrified to read yet another headline about yet another mass murderer armed with yet another AR-15 semi-automatic rifle destroying the lives and families of yet another round of needless victims. A 6-year old boy lost his mother, father, and 3-year old brother. A young mother is currently lying unconscious in a hospital bed. When she wakes up, she will learn that her 8-year old and 11 -year old daughters were killed.
I’m sick of these stupid headlines. I’m sick of the helplessness I feel every time this happens. I’m sick of how quickly politicians move to gaslight what, by now, can only be described as a national epidemic of chronic grief.
Because that is exactly what this is–we are in a state of constant grief. Unlike normal grief, we are never allowed respite from our mourning. Rather,
- We are forced to endure 208 mass shootings in less than half a year.
- We have been terrorized by the slaughter of 15,038 human beings in less than half a year.
- We are being conditioned to normalize the senseless murder of 96 children in less than half a year.
So, WHY is the United States so embarrassingly and FATALLY obsessed with guns?
I didn’t have to look very far to find the answer to that:
On May 8, 2023, Laura Ingraham told her 3.3 million watchers the following:
“Their anti-Second Amendment crusade is now and always has been about raw power. Disarming the public is critical to preserving power no matter how tyrannical any country’s leadership gets.”
Given everything that we’ve learned about Tucker Carlson, et al. thanks to the fine folks at Dominion (who, in my opinion, should be awarded the Nobel Prize), it’s entirely possible that Ingraham doesn’t believe her own BS, but still gets paid a lot of money to keep dishing it out. For her and so many others, this is just a game, and, according to her, the “Democrats” are not playing by the rules. Rather, the “Democrats” are using the mass shootings as a way to distract people from what they’re truly thinking about: the economy.
“But you see why Democrats want to talk about guns? Anything, anything to avoid this subject on everybody’s mind.”
It is unnerving how effectively Fox News deploys the Strawman Playbook to trick its watchers into believing their fight is the noble one; that a right premised upon the idea that the death of 8 people, including 3 children, is a mere distraction, is worthy of protecting; that “the Democrats” are trying to disarm America as part of a super secret, long-game conspiracy that will result in…what? The crowning of Obama as King? A military coup? I actually haven’t spoken to a single Democrat who supports a full ban on all guns. This so-called “anti-Second Amendment crusade” doesn’t exist.
What I find so hilarious, of course, is that the most ardent gun-supporters often can’t tell you what it even says:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
- The SA doesn’t even mention the word “gun.” The SA guarantees a right to bear “Arms,” a capitalized term, but then provides no definition. In plain English, “arms” refers to weaponry and does not necessarily limit itself to guns. Why not read the SA to guarantee the right to bear missile launchers? Grenades? Biological weapons? Because, but for our country’s obsessive fixation with “guns,” we all agree that the SA was never intended to guarantee the right to harbor any and all weapons and should thus be subject to limitation.
- The SA expressly refers to “the right of the people,” which comes on the heels of “free State.” At best, the SA is ambiguous with respect to whether it’s meant as a collective right, as opposed to an individual one. Contrast this amendment to the Fourth Amendment, which explicitly clarifies that the right is meant to protect the individual: “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…” (U.S. Const. at 4th Am.) (emphasis added.)
- The SA expressly prefaces the right to bear Arms upon the need for a “well regulated Militia.” It follows, then, that should that need change or disappear altogether, the right, too, should change or disappear altogether. Repealing a Constitutional Amendment, while difficult, isn’t impossible. In fact, we’ve done it before (the 21st Amendment was ratified to repeal the 18th Amendment-Prohibition). The fact that there’s a mechanism in place to repeal a prior amendment proves what any rational person would agree to (again, outside the context of our obsession with guns): some amendments will not stand the test of time and should either be amended or simply discarded.
- Even the Republican led Supreme Court no longer pretends that the need for a “well regulated Militia” can justify over 200 mass shootings. In Heller (2022), SCOTUS essentially deletes the first half of the text of the SA and grafts on a new constitutional right–“self defense”–as a way to preserve a right that could otherwise be rendered obsolete.
The Ingrahams of the world lambaste those that are hitting the pause button this week to discuss how to mitigate the brutal cost of our current interpretation of the Second Amendment. But, here’s the truth: only a soulless human being would suggest that our politicians should be thinking about anything other than the 208th mass shooting this year.
While stretching at the gym yesterday, on a morning where millions of people are discovering that another shooting in Texas has resulted in the death of 8 people, including a 3 year old toddler, my husband, Anthony, overheard two men chit-chatting about their “Remingtons”–pump action shotguns. The two complained about all the silly hoops they were required to jump through in order to keep their guns, since, they reasoned, “the police aren’t going to protect us, anyway.” There was zero mention of the fact that another psycho armed with two guns went on a rampage at an outlet mall–something that almost certainly would not have happened had the killer found it a lot harder to acquire his weapons of mass destruction.
This sort of obscenity represents, for better or worse, the state of our country. A devastating deficit of empathy and an unwillingness to confront our nation’s complicity in the death of its own people. There are millions of us who are being held at gunpoint by those who think there’s nothing inhumane about griping over the regulation of weapons that have been used to kill nearly 80 people a day. I watched a post by the ever optimistic and impossibly eloquent Cory Booker, who cautioned us against giving into our despair, the inevitable ennui that fills the crater left by compulsive reminders of our lack of agency. He said, “We can’t stop speaking about this,” touching upon a truth so uncomfortable, I literally started fidgeting:
I’m SICK of talking about this.
Slowly, but surely, grief will erode our hope. We are ceding to the notion that our safety, our children, and our sanity should be sacrificed upon the altar of an amendment conceived by a handful of men who died hundreds of years ago–men who, by composition, could not possibly represent the interests of “WE THE PEOPLE” then, much less today.
So, yes, in one respect, Ms. Ingraham is right. The gun control issue is, at bottom, a problem of power. “We the People” has transformed into “What’s in it for me?” A radicalized individuality that occurs when empathy dissipates against a perceived threat to power–in some cases a power they never had, and in other cases, a power they never deserved. We operate in a digital world that profits off our fear, that wrings every penny from alarm. Laura Ingraham and her ilk have made a fortune for themselves and their employer by constructing a political bogeyman, convincing millions of Americans that any encroachment on the right to bear guns threatens their autonomy. Is it any wonder that so many of them have readily traded their empathy for bullets? Their humanity for guns?
But NOTHING serves as a greater threat to power than deception. And if we’ve learned anything over the past several weeks with the Tucker Carlson fallout, it’s that those who wield enormous influence over our nation’s conscience appear to possess zero compunctions about straight up lying to Americans.
And We The People cannot survive beyond the bulwark of Truth.
And thus, however much you might be sick of talking about this…
I implore all of you to continue doing just that.