Guns, Terrorism, and Politics   Leave a comment


Trigger Warnings: Homicide, Suicide, Terrorism, Aurora, CO

I want to start by saying that my thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of the victims of last night’s shooting.

I want to make a few points about this shooting. This leaves me open to the charge of being political in the face of personal tragedy, but there’s no helping that. As personal as this tragedy is to the people of Aurora, it is also a political event with political causes. All these shootings, in high schools and malls, in post offices and movie theaters, on college campuses and in homes, they are all unnecessary. The United States has a homicide rate eight times higher than other countries of similar economic and political circumstances. That’s because of our absurd gun laws. James Holmes used a military grade weapon that allowed him to kill more people than he otherwise could have. Why?

And if you think I’m being too political, I’ll make a deal with you. I’ll stop raising a stink over gun deaths when innocent people stop getting shot. There’s an easy political solution to all these shooting sprees, and I’m going to advocate it as long as the shooting sprees continue.

Some people will argue that firearms are necessary for self defense, that firearms make the public safer. This is, however, simply untrue. Most deaths related to firearms are suicides. And some of those suicides wouldn’t take place without firearms. People don’t go to great lengths to kill themselves. When Britain switched away from gas ovens in the 1950’s, its suicide rate dropped noticeably because people didn’t have easy access to another way to kill themselves.

There’s an argument that if guns are banned, then the only people who will be armed are the bad guys. But once again, the experience of other countries shows this simply isn’t the case (according to relative homicide rates).

Then there’s the argument that guns make us free. In fact, the opposite is true. Guns make us much less free. Fox Searchlight Pictures, in response to these shootings, is banning costumes at its movie theaters. They’re banning costumes because the country as a whole won’t ban firearms. Think about it, would this ban be necessary if guns weren’t easily available? Would metal detectors be required at big high schools? Would our SWAT teams need tanks just to stay ahead of criminals. Our police have access to drones and tanks. Most British cops only get billy clubs and pepper spray, and they do fine. Guns don’t make us more able to defend ourselves against the government, but they do give police an excuse to arm themselves to the teeth when dealing with citizens.

So yeah, we should repeal the Second Amendment. We don’t have militias anymore, anyway.

 

The other issue I wanted to talk about is terrorism. We have this from Time.com

Federal authorities maintain that he was not on any watch list that would indicate that he was dangerous, and the incident is not believed to be associated with any act of terrorism.
What on earth is that supposed to mean? If terrorism means anything, how does it not mean going into a movie theater and shooting up a bunch of civilians?
I guess it’s not terrorism because the suspect isn’t Muslim. That’s the only difference between these twelve people and the thirteen killed in the “terrorist attack” on Fort Hood. Seriously, does it not bother anyone that we’ve defined terrorism as something that can only be done by Muslims? Oh, and if the US doesn’t like the target, I guess that isn’t terrorism either.
Maybe I’m just being oversensitive. But seriously, what does it mean that shooting up a movie theater isn’t an act of terrorism?
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