Underneath my yellow skin

Lay Down Your Guns, Boys

I woke up to the news of the Las Vegas shooting, and I had a complex set of reactions. First, horror. Second, anger. Third, disbelief. Fourth, resignation. They happened rapidly and in that particular order. Sadly, the disbelief was just for how many people were injured/killed. It wasn’t that it happened, oh no. That’s a daily occurrence in America, and it barely gets a yawn from the press. The only reason this made the national news is because over 500 people were hurt and at least 58 people killed (according to ABC News). The scope is unfathomable, and it’s certainly newsworthy. I think the horror and anger are self-explanatory. The resignation, however, is because nothing will change. We’ll all be shocked and horrified–for a day or three. The politicians will say it’s terrible, and they’ll pray loudly for the families and friends of the victims. Then, they will continue to do exactly jack and shit about gun laws and other problems besetting America (more on that in a bit), and keep trying to take healthcare away from as many Americans as possible.

Let me be clear. Normally, when I’m railing about politicians, it’s implicitly understood that I mean Republicans. In this case, however, Democrats haven’t done much more to change our gun culture. I don’t think Democrats are as wedded to their guns as are Republicans, but it’s not a priority to them at all. Even PBO recognized the futility of trying to tackle this issue and mostly took a pass on it.

I’m not a fan of trotting out ‘the children’, but when Sandy Hook happened without barely a ripple in the national discussion of our peculiar brand of violence, I knew we had lost that fight. Most Americans at least give lip service to the sanctity of children’s lives, but we allowed Sandy Hook to happen with only the meekest of protests. That’s when I knew that we had accepted guns and some people’s inordinate love for them as an acceptable trade-off for losing lives at the blunt end of them.

I went on a Twitter rant right after I heard about it because I can’t believe we’re still putting up with this shit. Here it is:

I mentioned white guys deliberately because the vast majority of spree/mass shootings are done by white guys. Guns are a huge problem, obviously, but they’re only the result of a toxic mentality. What I mean is, we tell men, especially white men, that they need to be successful in a very specific way. If they don’t have that life (or, in this case, even if they do as this killer seemed to be loaded), then they see themselves as worthless/losers/failures. At the same time, they can’t bear the thought that maybe it’s something wrong with them, so they turn the anger outwards. Someone else is to blame for their failures, and that person has to pay for it.

When people who study this shit try to find a common denominator of what sets these guys off, there is one that stands out–domestic violence. Everytown for Gun Safety analyzed the data and found out that 54% of mass shootings involve domestic violence. It’s not surprising, really, that someone who is violent towards their domestic partner (usually a woman) would expand that to violence towards other. This case is different so far in that the shooter was reportedly a multimillionaire. Then again, he was also known to love to gamble, so maybe he had debts his brother (the one who reported he had money) didn’t know about.

Another infuriating factor is that he had nineteen weapons in his hotel room and hundreds of rounds. On NPR, I heard an interview with a man who does safety for hotels in Las Vegas, and he was saying this wouldn’t have happened in one of his hotels. That begs the question, of course, of how the hell did it happen? Supposedly, the hotels have metal detectors, so I guess he just brought them in at different times. I didn’t realize he shot from his window, which somehow makes it even sadder to me. It also negates the idiots who say the answer is more guns. If you’re in the crowd and someone is shooting at you from above, how the hell are you going to do anything about it?

It’s so frustrating to hear that the answer is more guns. If you’re in a situation where someone is shooting and chaos is reigning, and there are a hundred people with guns around you, how the hell are you going to know who you should shoot? I don’t get it, but I don’t get guns in general. I don’t understand the appeal, and I don’t understand why the love of them is more important than the feeling of safety for other people.

When I was young and naive (Sandy Hook), I thought we had it in our collective will to do something about this issue. We don’t. As someone on Twitter noted, the Republicans didn’t even do anything when they were shot, so why would they do anything now? I’m depressed because I know it’s going to follow the same path. Thoughts and prayers for two or three days followed by a whole lotta nothing. Then, the next time it happens, we’ll follow the same route. Shock, horror, outrage, grief, then nothing. Let’s not even talk about the day-to-day wreckage of guns that doesn’t include mass shootings. We also haven’t talked about suicides yet.

I know I’m venting about guns, and I know it’s not the whole issue.  However, right now, it’s what’s pissing me off. Even though guns are not the root of the problem, they are the reason that each time something like this happens, it’s so catastrophic.

I don’t really want to write any more about this right now, so I’ll leave you with this (which is how I’m feeling right about now):

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