The rain stopped for a short time this morning, but I can’t shake the blues. Last week’s horrible news from Virginia Tech was bad enough, but the conservative backlash to the shootings – some of which spilled over into comments here – has exacerbated those feelings.
Some have blamed the victims for not fighting back. Pro gun advocates are flooding the media with their well-orchestrated propaganda on how the Second Amendment elevates the rights of individual gun owners over the health and safety of society. Others moan about the decline of morals, as if the answer to how such a tragedy could have occurred can be blamed on parents, teachers and popular culture.
Handguns and semi-automatic weapons are used for killing people. They serve no other purpose. Allowing more of these weapons into our public spaces with concealed carry laws cannot possibly result in fewer firearms-related deaths. To believe otherwise is to admit to a level of lazy-minded, anti-intellectualism that should be embarrassing for what it reveals about one’s failure to solve or even correctly identify a problem.
If you want to talk about moral failing, I suggest you start with the failure of will on the part of our elected representatives to solve the problem of inadequate,unequal access to health services in this country. I suggest you examine the inadequacies of our mental health care system.
If you want to talk about moral failing, how about a close examination of the attitude that it’s perfectly OK for legal immigrants to wield weapons as U.S. soldiers in Iraq, but not here on U.S. soil?
I agree, there’s plenty of moral failure and hypocrisy to bemoan. But, when I’m looking for examples, I can never seem to get past the rotting heap at the top – the entire Bush Administration, the Tom Delays, the Newt Gingriches, the Ted Haggards, the Alberto Gonzaleses.
As much as I despise George W. Bush for his lack of curiosity, his self-proclaimed disdain for intellectualism, his glaring lack of rigorous thinking or creative problem-solving, I despise him more for the way he and his administration have emboldened others like him to speak out with a sense of righteousness and credibility that they do not possess.
We desperately need voices to advance a debate and begin to solve these problems with compassion, creativity and reason.