This week, the most deadly mass shooting perpetrated by a civilian in United States history was carried out. Keep in mind, the US government is capable of atrocities as well so this latest bit of carnage still doesn’t hold a candle to events such as the massacre at wounded knee, but that knowledge doesn’t change the fact that something needs to be done. Mass murder cannot be our new normal – and yet that is the way it feels at the moment. It’s like a repetitive dance that ends in fucking over the common people of this country; a shooting happens in Arizona (that happens to almost kill a member of the House of Representatives) and both sides of the political aisle have open, public rhetorical battles and then go home after doing nothing of substance to attempt to prevent the next mass murder attempt of this type; then a shooting happens in Colorado and both sides of the political aisle have open, public rhetorical battles then go home after doing nothing of substance to attempt to prevent the next mass murder of this type; then a shooting happens in California and both sides of the political aisle have the same damn open, public rhetorical battle then go home after doing nothing of substance to attempt to prevent the next mass murder of this type; then a shooting happens in Florida and BOTH SIDES OF THE POLITICAL AISLE HAVE THE SAME FUCKING OPEN, PUBLIC RHETORICAL BATTLE THEN GO HOME AFTER DOING NOTHING OF SUBSTANCE TO ATTEMPT TO PREVENT THE NEXT MASS MURDER OF THIS TYPE; and now, with the most recent example of mass murder of the same type if you think our elected leaders are going to do anything more than talk a big game while actually doing nothing to attempt to prevent the next mass murder of this type then you are gullible as hell and I would like to try to sell you things you don’t actually need. It’s a dance of distraction that the public keeps falling for again and again and again. To be completely honest, it would be hilarious if it weren’t for the 153 people that have been needlessly murdered so that Congress can save face while doing absolutely nothing worthwhile to help the people who elect them to office.
I want to state here that I do not view prohibition of firearms as a substantive action that would “solve” this problem for two reasons; first, it was the prohibition of alcohol that caused the rise of gangsters like Al Capone so we know that banning things does not make them go away but instead provides an avenue for the lawless to gain large sums of money and power; and second, while guns are dangerous in the wrong hands, they are not the only weapons a person could use to hurt or kill another person and countries that have prohibited guns have not seen any kind of large scale reduction of their overall murder and crime rates. In other words, we would not be safer in our day to day lives if we banned firearms, and people who really wanted to murder large numbers of people could still get their hands on the weapons to do so if they were motivated enough to do so.
Keep in mind, I am a single voice anonymously venting on a blog – I do not have the solution to the problem, nor do I have the economic resources to accurately seek a solution. But our Congress does have the money to commission studies and consult experts in order to seek the best possible solution to this problem. Have you seen them doing so? In the wake of all of these events where American people are dying, has anything remotely looking like a bipartisan attempt to identify causes and work to prevent these events in the future actually happened? No, because that is not part of the dance!
It is important to note that Congress isn’t even swayed to actual action of any type outside of arguing rhetorically in front of the media when it is their own getting shot. When Gabby Giffords was shot in the head and survived, no new legislation regarding weapons or mental health screening was ever passed, nor was there any bipartisan attempt to conduct an inquiry into the causes of such an event. It was the same when representative Steve Scalise was shot this year. Maybe it’s because they were members of the House of Representatives (affectionately known as the “lower house” of Congress). Maybe we’ll see some kind of attempt to prevent this when the upper nobles of the Senate have this happen to one of their own. Either way, I am constantly confused as to how members of both parties can trumpet the fact that our country is supposed to be “by the people, for the people” while often doing things that seem to go against the common interest of the people. Like in other cases regarding legislative issues, they more often utilize the bully pulpit provided by the press to divide us into camps that refuse to compromise – all while we deify politicians who were able to compromise in similar circumstances. When Ronald Reagan and others were shot by a man trying to impress Jodie Foster (who wouldn’t have been interested anyway, seeing as she dates women), he went on to endorse a gun control bill signed in 1993 and named for his press secretary (who had also been shot in that event). He may have publicly denounced gun control in the immediate aftermath of the shooting – most likely a consequence of the corrupt nature of our national politics – but in this case his actions speak louder than his words.
With that in mind, the question of why they work so hard to divide us comes up but the answer to that question is easy to figure out; if we are distracted and arguing with each other then we won’t look as closely at their words and actions, or who is paying them to say and do those things. That’s the real reason we, as in the people, are constantly divided by our “leaders” and media outlets; if we are busy arguing with each other about policy and philosophy then we won’t have time to look into the effect that money has on our national political system.
Within the last decade, the decision of the Supreme Court case Citizens United v. FEC established the idea that corporations are people and their money is equal to their speech. At the time, people feared an open corporate takeover of the federal government that never came, because what actually happened is more insidious. Instead of corporations donating large sums of money to politicians to take control out in the open, the billionaires and multimillionaires in charge of those corporations began filing paperwork to establish organizations whose sole existence is based in funneling money to politicians. The effect of that has been to wrench control of our government away from the people at large and refocus that control in the hands of our unscrupulous economic elites.
If you need proof that this is not a good system, gather a group of 12 to 17 year olds and describe the system as it stands to them. Ask them, “If I am a politician, and someone comes to me and tells me that they will give me large sums of money to do my job the way that they want me to, what would you call that?”
I asked my students that question today, their immediate response was “bribery”. I had to tell them that while they were correct, when it happens in government we have another word for it; lobbying.
So when a mentally unstable, violent asshole with a gun decides to make a plan to kill multiple people they have never met and our politicians rhetorically divide us rather than taking common sense steps to work for real prevention of such an event, regardless of whether they claim to be liberal or conservative we need to be calling them on their shit. Look at who is legally bribing them (because they are ALL benefiting from this legal bribery system) and call them on their shit if necessary. According to their rhetoric, this is our country (even if we know this to be factually untrue at this point) so lets take the fucking country back.
These murders are not a democratic or republican issue, and they are not a liberal or a conservative issue; they are an American issue. Regardless of your personal beliefs regarding political philosophy, the fact that we are becoming this desensitized to these events so that corporate political sponsors can continue to profit from our suffering should piss you off! As I said before, my goal in this post is not to propose a solution because I don’t know what the best solution is – but the people who can put in effort to figure out a working solution are not coming together to do so because that’s what they’re told to do by their sponsors. So call them out, because it is their indifference toward the well being of the people that has put us in this situation to begin with.
So fuck them, let’s make them choose; they can side with the voters who give them their jobs, or they can side with the billionaires who are legally bribing them to be indifferent to the well being of those voters. But they should no longer be allowed to claim to do both.
Have a nice day.