In the wake of the most recent mass shooting of children at school, (which will apply to something recent, whatever month or year you may be reading this), I propose we stop talking about what we can do.
“What’s next? How do we stop the next one? Who is responsible? When will we do something?”
Instead, we, as in the United States, need to talk about what we are.
And what we are is a nation willing to allow or even embrace the mass murder of children, so long as it serves a particular end.
I don’t feel this way. You reading this may not either. Your coworker, lover, barista may not accept this. But as an entity, this country has demonstrated it beyond a shadow of a doubt; children mean very little when they are alive, and even less when they are murdered.
Make no mistake. Do not, and I repeat do NOT comfort yourselves with the platitude of “this isn’t what we are as a country.”
It absolutely is what we are as a country. In many ways, it is what we have always been. Certainly since the rise of the gun lobby and its connected institutions and disciples.
The logic could not be any simpler:
X - 0 = X
X + 0 = X
When you neither add to a known, nor take from it, it remains unchanged. The status quo. And as a nation, the evidence of us neither taking away from the means, nor adding to the prevention of mass gun violence is dead children.
Dead children that make no difference. Non-tax paying, non-working, non-voting expendable children — the added protection of whom is inconvenient.
The American people as a demographic have no desire to sacrifice anything in an attempt to stop the murder of already born children. That same demographic willfully, and some cases proudly sacrifices children for the sake of warped ideas, however.
We deify slaveholders that have been dead for more than 200 years. We almost never consider the changes in the world, in society, in the power of destructions, the changes in medicine, the advances in weaponry when faced with the supposed will of dead white men that were not more special than intelligent people are today.
And even with all of their flaws, we still pervert their obvious intention about guns as written into the Constitution. We make it fit a sickening narrative of “every and all guns and ammo of every kind to every citizen all the time forever.” For even the wigged gods of our founding did not unambiguously articulate gun fetishism in our government document to the satisfaction of the power-hungry, blood-lustful coward that is today’s typical gun nut.
Ergo, as a nation, we turn a blind eye to the true historical meaning of an Amendment, and remake it into the graven image of an AR-15, worshipped at the Cult of Open Carry.
And we have continued to elect people who will keep it that way. People who will appoint and confirm judges that will propagate the corruption of the Second Amendment to satisfy a quasi-sexual need for violence and instilling fear in others.
If that homicidal idolatry for arms makes it effortless to turn hundreds, thousands of children who cannot yet tie their own shoes into bloody paste? The collective answer of the United States is in fact “oh well.”
No president, no Congress, no courts, and no blanket collection of consistent voters has made even a dent in this nationwide refusal to conjoin obvious rights with sane policies. That is because to do so would risk the loss of elected offices, or the crossing of a party platform, or the admission that protecting our children from violent death is worth reworking outmoded approaches — that protecting our children was worth even so much as an inconvenience.
But this doesn’t happen, because we do not view the survival of children particularly important to the overall functioning of our capitalism or the remnants of our democracy.
This is who we are.
Like the thumping braggadocio of a poorly endowed frat boy who, shall we say, insists that three inches is in fact seven despite any and all evidence to the contrary when it’s show time, the “Oh Wells” of this hellscape insist that they will be able to take over the national government by force should it become a tyranny, but shall we say, could not take down five Marines riding a golf cart when it’s show time.
Living in that fantasy demands more guns as the answer to ending gun violence, despite studies from around the civilized world consistently disproving the concept. The same patent idiocy that insists a “good guy” with a gun is the only way to prevent mass shootings, when quite obviously very few mass shooting have been prevented.
The neck of this society is broken in about 10 different places. Any one of them is as horrifying as it is preventable. But if the only thing we as a people were ever guilty of was a willingness to watch children be more easily tortured and murdered in their classrooms for the sake of one form of outsized “freedom,” it would be a more than sufficient descriptor of our moral bankruptcy.
Is this what we want? Is it inevitable to be this? Time may tell. All that can be said today is that this is who we are. And it is what we have always been. Until we become not only willing, but comfortable, nay eager to say this, announce it, yell it in the streets and tattoo it onto our collective consciousness as a nation even in the frothing faces of the foul thugs of opposition, opining on “what we can do” is just a damn waste of time.