I’m on a flight and a little scrunched, so pardon the brevity of this. A few disjointed thoughts on what transpired in Las Vegas last night. I hope it makes sense….
- Perhaps, as the most economically prosperous nation in the world and yet the one that repeatedly deals with more mass shootings than the entire rest of the planet combined, perhaps we should ask citizens of other nations to answer the WHY of it for us. What, in their opinions, is it that is intrinsic to the United States of America that leads to these repeated massacres (Columbine, Virginia Tech, Newtown, Las Vegas)?
You know how sometimes you are unable to see that a shirt looks bad on you or that you’re with the wrong person for you but all your friends can? Would it really be such a bad idea to solicit opinions from people outside our borders?
2. Prayers ARE thoughts. There’s literally nothing you can do that is less trite or hackneyed than to tweet out “Thoughts and prayers.” You may as well say nothing. Also, neither thoughts nor prayers heal bullet wounds.
3. Of course, the gun is only the instrument. The sickness inside someone’s mind is the cause. But we cannot outlaw free will (nor should we) or sick thoughts (nor should we). We can minimize carnage by recognizing that no one outside of the military or law enforcement should have access to semi-automatic weapons (or automatic weapons, or however the 2nd Amendment activists or NRA dudes who know what I mean refer to them as). There is no need, in a civilized society, for citizens to own them when you assess the cost-benefit analysis.
4. It is fair to point out that the founding fathers did not envision guns that fired multiple rounds per second when they drafted the 2nd Amendment. They had no idea how lethal guns could become. On the other hand, the founding fathers were unable to envision words that could be spread across the world in a matter of seconds via Facebook, Twitter and the internet when they drafted the 1st Amendment. All they really knew is that they could not foresee the future; the words were deliberately general in nature with the idea that they would trust future generations to apply common sense to the indomitable path of progress.
Guns and free speech are both far more potent than they were in 1783. However, I’d wager that modernized guns are far more lethal than modernized free speech. You can turn off your computer or phone; you can’t turn off a live round headed your way. It’s way past time for some common sense in gun ownership.
5. I don’t believe in the term “terror,” other than in a general sense. The usage of the term since 9/11 has been one of the more dangerous and toxic things to insinuate itself into our national conversation the past 16 years.
There are laws and there are crimes. There are countries and there are wars. Let’s not mix them. I guarantee you the people lying flat on the ground in front of the Mandalay Bay felt waves of terror last night and at that moment they didn’t give a flying flip as to whether the shooter was mentally unbalanced or a jihadist; if he was a nut job or had a political agenda. It doesn’t matter.
Crimes are crimes. If a person kills people for a political agenda, that doesn’t make it any worse or better for the victims. The more we as a nation talk about terror as a thing, the more we feed oxygen into the fire. There is no “war on terror;” the very admission of such is the greatest weapon “terrorists” will ever have.