Everyone is welcome to think one way or the other about America’s guns. But with every shooting, I’m on the side of jaded apathy and cynicism. There may be a solution, a compromise between sides that can be found on guns. It’s not going to happen. Those who marched are pushing with all they’ve got for gun control. That’s also not going to happen.
1) Those who marched seem to be under the impression that politicians work for them. That’s supposed to be how it works. But it doesn’t. Congress works for the following people:
a) Major campaign donors
b) The extreme fringe 5% of their party that rules their lives during the primary of their heavily gerrymandered district
d) Ordinary average voter
In that order. I’m sure there might be a handful of folks in Congress who are decent people who are there primarily to do good. But I’ve come to believe they’re in the minority.
Ask yourself, what normal person would subject themselves to the vicious cage fight that is modern politics? The answer is, a normal person wouldn’t. Congress is not populated with problem solvers looking to compromise or make progress.
It’s why they can’t even conduct basic tasks like pass a budget on time. They’re on an unhinged two year cycle where their goal is not to do work, but to satisfy the cravings of (a) and (b). Rinse and repeat.
Anybody expecting that these people are going to be the ones to solve problems is asking too much a system that is (sadly) essentially broken at this point.
2) Think what you will about the NRA’s beliefs, but one cannot deny it is the most successful lobby in American history. There are two people on the planet who I believe possess the powers of the ancient Aztec demon god Itzpapalotltotec. They are Bill Belichick and Wayne LaPierre. These guys are absolute masters of their craft. Nobody can compete with them.
At this point, if you hired LaPierre and told him to get Congress to pass a law saying all ketchup bottles must be colored pink, he could probably get it done. The NRA has five million card carrying members. This is by far one of the largest and most dedicated interest groups in the country.
Unless the people who marched this weekend establish their own singular lobby group, get millions of people to join it, and fund it with a dump truck full of money they’re not going to compete effectively with the NRA.
As an example, after the Vegas shooting I think most people could get onboard with the most basic of gun control arguments, that bump stocks that converted a weapon to fully automatic under the table was not a good thing. They couldn’t even get that passed into law, they had to do it on the side later.
3) I’m just going to go ahead and say this. Most Americans simply do not care. I read an article yesterday that said since 2000 over 600K Americans have died in car crashes. Go ahead and try and wrap your brain around that number. In the last 15 years we’ve had more Americans die behind the wheel than in all our 20th Century wars combined.
Throughout my life I’ve known several people who’ve died in car crashes. I also know a handful of people who’ve died in gun violence. But, selfishly, or cynically, there just isn’t much I can do about it.
We Americans have a shocking tolerance for mayhem, death, and destruction. I think it’s in our primal colonial blood. It’s built into our national psyche.
I’m not going stop driving, or go out and demand that every car come equipped with that goo that saves Stallone from dying in a horrible crash in Demolition Man. I have personally accepted the risk to myself and to society associated with cars.
I think (whether they admit it or not) the vast majority of Americans have accepted the risk to themselves and to society associated with guns. Folks might not like it, but it’s the way it is.
Those who marched today think that this mindset is beginning to change, and the march shows it. I don’t agree. I’m sure more people have died to gunfire in Chicago since this last shooting than those who died in the Florida school. People intellectually know this, but essentially don’t care. They move on with their lives.
Like all this, or hate this, either way, I just don’t believe it’s going to change.
Democracy is a mess, and mostly doesn’t work, but it’s still a beautiful thing. Agree or disagree with those who marched, it’s still part of our freedom that they believe in a cause and are out there fighting for what they believe in. But, I do believe, all of these people have wasted their time.
gun control march in Washington DC, Circa 2029