We have reached what must be the apex of the mass-shooting scale – a gunman firing from a prepared, elevated position into a crowd of people. Utilizing weapons modified to, more or less, fire as though they were fully automatic. Really, to one up that the next guy is going to have to use a belt-fed machine gun. I guess he could cheat and use a second shooter. That would be effective. Firing at right angles would probably be the best.
Do I sound jaded? caustic? Do I not mourn the dead and pray for the injured? Of course I do. I hope they all recover but, friends, this is the country we've chosen. There can't be a fundraiser, moral outrage and national mourning every time this happens. I mean, didn't we cross that line when a crazy man shot up an elementary school? If there was a time when our leaders were going to take clear action, it seems like it would have been then.
It just isn't intellectually honest for us to mope around when this happens. We, as a nation, long ago shrugged our collective shoulders and chose to do nothing. This is the reality we have selected.
Seriously, if everyone in that crowd would have had a pistol….well….the entire side of the Mandalay Bay would have riddled with bullets and the body count would have been four times higher. The notion that a guy with a pistol is the answer has been put to bed several times. Yes, every now and then an armed civilian stops some nuttiness and I've no fight with that but, time and again, a guy with a semi-automatic rifle wins that argument. In the Florida night club shooting the first responders had to initially retreat as they were outgunned.
Did you know that only 22% of Americans own guns? That number stuns me.
I'm conflicted about the thing. On the one hand, I own a bunch of guns. Most of them lay around gathering dust but a couple I do shoot regularly. I enjoy shooting and having a gun to defend your house and family with is no bad thing. If I'm being honest, my go-to gun is my 9mm. I train with it. I can operate it in complete darkness – and nearly silently. The "big dog" is the M4 but that thing is a handful to shoot and, in a house, a bit unwieldy. That's the same gun that has been used in many of the mass-casualty shootings. It's ridiculously powerful. An average handgun is cute and cuddly compared to most rifles – a rifle round will carry about 3 times as much energy as your average handgun – and the bullet used by the M4 is designed to cause wounds that belie its small size. In fact, adjustments have been made to that bullet over the years to make the wounds worse. That's alot of power for just anyone on the street to carry around.
And yet we have this Second Amendment thing. My more left-leaning friends will decry that what republicans secretly want is for "everyone to have a nuclear weapon". The republicans will point out that gun control doesn't work in Chicago and we'll be back to crazy people murdering dozens of our fellow citizens. The "gun control doesn't work in <insert city here>" argument is ridiculous. Of course it doesn't work – you can buy all the guns you want pretty much everywhere else in the United States. In New York they found that so many of the guns used in crimes were purchased in Virginia that they shamed VA into passing the one gun a month law…..that was later repealed.
I don't know what the answer is but I do know it includes a reasoned discussion and debate amongst the country's leadership. Why can't that happen? Why do none of our leaders have the stones to pick up the phone and call the leaders from the other party and make something happen? On gun control. or the budget. or health care. or deficit reduction. or education……funny, now that I put it like that it seems pretty clear what our problems are: we have lousy, weak leaders who care about one thing – getting reelected so they can stay on the gravy train in Congress. It's at least a little ironic the only person to have actually done this is Mr. Trump. Yeah, didn't see that coming. Maybe he'll do it again. I could get past his idiotic tweeting if he obtained some results.
I mean, outlawing bump stocks seems like the lowest-hanging fruit in history….