a talk on my writing and my use of the internet & social media in Annapolis, today was supposed to be the day I could relax a little, do some overdue chores & apply the finishing touches to Killing Lilith to prepare it for the editors about to read it. Instead, I am distracted by yet another gun-fueled massacre, this one mere miles from arguably the most infamous one of all, Columbine.
I wish I could say this is unusual for me. It's not. On the morning of April 16, 2007, as I was finishing a speech for my Communications in Business and Society course at University of Baltimore that afternoon, news broke about the shootings at Virginia Tech. I immediately scrapped what I'd done, to that point; and instead presented a speech on gun violence in this country, and the ease with which even the mentally ill can obtain firearms.
33 states basically have a no holds barred policy. Anything goes.
Gun rights advocates claim that private sellers can sell their guns when and how they wish, as long as their following state and federal laws. There should be no difference between selling your gun out of your home versus selling it at a show. They're right! A system for the private sale of guns should be universal. Making it easy for any nutjob to get guns is not only dangerous, it's stupid.
Something else that's stupid: this idea that if we allowed everyone to carry guns to public places, killing sprees like this can be stopped before too many die. Shortly after the slaughter at VT, Ted Nugent, a spokesperson for the NRA, called for the end of gun-free zones. I have a hard time swallowing the concept of "too many." Isn't the first person hit by a bullet already too many? Can you imagine the chaos that would have ensued had someone else opened fire in the darkened theater? The casualty count would have been even higher!
Granted, none of this matters. You won't hear Obama or Romney mention anything about closing the Gun Show Loophole. The National Rifle Association (NRA) has created an environment wherein any proposal to make us safer, any legislation that would help make a trip to the movies less anxiety inducing, would sink a national political campaign. Worse yet, I'm beginning to believe that the NRA wants madmen & criminals to have tons of guns. It helps justify their paranoia, cement the need for so many weapons in their own heads.
Sure, a few Congressmen will resurrect legislation to solve the loophole issues, yet again. The media will focus on it, yet again. People will understand what needs to be done, yet again. But nothing will happen, not in this political climate. So yeah, next time you take your family to the movies, you will be a little afraid. You should be.