There have been three mass murders in the U. S. using legally obtained guns, virtually one massacre per week since I first protested the new Texas ‘campus carry’ gun law by declaring in June that I don’t want guns in my classroom.
The unraveling TV coverage following each tragic event becomes horribly commonplace as if demanding a certain formula that at first builds a virtual three-dimensional sculpture of the killer, unwittingly glorifying him and his motive, followed by necessarily sketchy details about the victims, unwittingly relegating them to the grave, and then followed by an oddly similar string of police officials, politicians, and bureaucrats congratulating each other on the containment of the event and usually the death of the perpetrator.
After all that, their statements of condolence for the victims and their loved ones ring strangely hollow. It always seems that no amount of subsequent grieving can ever be enough to make up for the injustice and pain caused b the murders, especially as the mass gun shootings blend into each other as naturally as one week following another.
Related Columns: No Guns in My Classroom
In the midst of the tragedies, there is always a parenthetical discussion in the media deploring the prevalence of guns in our society — 300 million more or less in the hands of individuals — and the usual red herring morphed into a red whale that the prevalence of mental defectives in the nation and the lack of mental health care is to blame for the violence because guns are only inanimate objects subject to the will of the individual.
Well even if you attribute all the massacres to mental instability, research shows that those same legislators who shoot down sensible gun legislation on sight or who use NRA jackhammers to puncture gun laws into useless sieves are quick to seal every possible way for some 45 million Americans in mental distress to get any kind of affordable mental health care.
I don’t buy that argument. The fault lies with the prevalence of guns.
Hunters can kill all they want and sportsmen can bang away at targets, I don’t care. I don’t care about guns inside the homes of second-amendment true believers afraid of intruders in the dark that sometimes turn out to be their loved ones with a neat hole in their foreheads and their brains on the wall. Go ahead keep your guns. I don’t care if you can now wear yours like a codpiece in the streets of Texas (even in old Tombstone you had to check your gun with the marshal inside the city limits).
I do care about the millions of guns in the streets and the thousands of dead youngsters- usually black or Latino – who can buy guns on every corner and shoot each other in every alley. I care about the racists and the bloodthirsty jihadists who acquire guns legally practically anywhere in the country – an AK-47 for $600 and 30-rond magazines for $9.95 – and now will be able to saunter legally armed onto public universities in Texas.
I hope that with their ‘campus carry’ insanity the gun zealots in the Texas state legislature, who like sharks in a right-wing feeding frenzy have lost all sense of proportion, pushed their gun-greed one gun too far – into my classroom — cracking a fissure in the NRA rampart that finally allows a common sense crowbar to gain leverage.