I am as disappointed as everyone else when it comes to congress’s recent failure to pass a universally favored, painstakingly bipartisan bill on background checks. This is a sign of the times. A moment of shame for a system growing more corrupt by the day. Americans didn’t have a say in this fight. Lobbyists did.
But that’s not the only thing bothering me about this issue.
The rhetoric in support of gun control is exploitative and false. Popularized by the liberal media is the idea that gun tragedies like Newtown can be fixed by gun control. How? By stopping the mentally ill from buying guns? The mother of the Newtown shooter bought the gun he used. Not him. Stop criminals from buying guns? Legislation won’t stop straw purchases or black market sales. If someone wants a gun in this country they can get it. Anyone who wants to hurt other people can do so. It’s not hard. Like it or not, the internet has a limitless supply of recipes for homemade explosives. Even if guns are harder to get, the killers won’t be stopped.
So who are the killers? How do we stop them?
Setting criminal violence aside, the issue of the day, concerning the tragedies in Tucson and Newtown and others, is the violence of extreme outliers, the designated mentally disturbed.
The individuals behind these tragedies do not represent the average person. Their logic is not the logic of the popular consciousness. They are extreme cases, the inevitable byproduct of a large population. There will always be outliers. There are geniuses and there are madmen in this world, and everything in between. Every dream has been, is being, and will be dreamed, and to each other sometimes our dreams look more like nightmares.
In other words, there will be killers. There will always be killers.
But right now there are more killers, worse killers, than is natural, not because it’s easier to get guns—that hasn’t changed in a while—but because the popular media is obsessed with killing.
Because politicians and pundits find it necessary to mention the unfortunate deed of one sick individual over and over again. Because the media publishes the name and picture of tragic shooters and their families, tells the story of their lives and attempts tirelessly to speculate on the state of their minds. The only other citizens who get such treatment are celebrities, but we shy from the term because we’re afraid what that implies.
The truth of publication and popularization is that, in this world, it is a good thing. To a sad and lonely mind, it is a reward to be on TV, to be recognized for perhaps the first time in a life, to be mentioned by the president of the United States. It is a smaller deviation from the popular logic than you may think to decide national fame is worth killing for.
People, why are we experiencing more acts of violence in this country? It’s not because of guns, I can tell you that.
It’s because we reward them.