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Happiness is ...

So, I had to pull away from Facebook for the weekend. Too many posts about the Connecticut thing making me angry.

Maggie Koerth-Baker over at Wired has written the only post on the recent unpleasantness that didn't make me grind my teeth with rage. Most discussions online about gun control/gun violence/the 2nd amendment seem to inevitably polarize into "Yeah-hunh!"/"Nuh-unh!" shouting matches within seconds. An infinitude of heat combined with the antithesis of light. These discussions get infinitely worse after one of these periodic freakouts.

The general tone on EllJay has been a bit more reasonable (a BIT). Maybe it's just quieter here, I dunno. There's a discussion over at sleigh's place that seems like it might not spiral into the usual shitshow.

Part of the problem I have with a lot of the pro-gun-control arguments I hear is that I live in a state where all of the stuff the moderates claim to want is already the law. Licensing, pre-license training program, severe restrictions on what kinds of guns you can buy and how large a magazine your gun can have, pretty much everything except individual registration for each gun is already in place here in the People's Republic of Massachusetts. As a result, I don't own a gun. The severe limitations prices them out of my reach, and the arbitratiness of the licensing process (essentially, you get your license at the whim of the police chief of your town, and there's no appeal or argument if he decides he doesn't like you) means that I haven't been able to justify dropping 100 bucks on a license fee for something I have no guarantee of getting.

So, when I hear folks talking about making the laws stronger, pretty much the only place I can see them going is doing the whole-hog English thing and trying to round up ALL the guns and throw them in the nearest recycling furnace. And an awful lot of the folks who're talking about gun control are very explicit about wanting that to happen.

And that's the point at which we have an actual open war on our hands.

Most of the civilian guns owned in the US belong to about 20% of the population. Most of that 20% correspond strongly with the most culturally conservative/reactionary elements in the US. One of the only things that's kept them from freaking out and starting the war is that so far, the national government hasn't tried to take their guns away. That's pretty much the trigger point. Thing is, the people we'd be relying on to enact this whole "take their guns away" program have much much more in common with the folks they'll be fighting with than they do with the folks who'll be telling them to do the fighting, and that's a recipe for social badness on a level that I don't think anybody sane wants to see.

Over the last 100 years or so, the progressive left has pretty systematically disarmed itself, both externally and internally. That's why nobody in power listens to us. There's no consequence to ignoring us, so they're not scared of us. They don't even need to throw us the occasional bone. Rural conservative whackjobs get catered to, because they've got guns. Urban black folks get superficial acknowledgement, because when shit gets too heinous they still get together and set shit on fire. But Latinos get the shaft, because they still think they need to be polite, and they haven't got the political muscle together yet. The only reason that the LGBT folks have been getting the play they have is because they've been pretty clear that they can and will out all of those closeted politicians that keep having sex with them.

But we've got nothing to threaten them with. We've got no guns. Our protests are all rattle and no bite. We let the rich folks take all the money. And voting doesn't mean shit if there's nobody to vote for who isn't already bought by the folks at the top.

Yeah, so that was a bit bleak. Just kinda hadda get it out there.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 15th, 2012 07:45 pm (UTC)
There's a lot to think about considering how the mass killings have escalated.

I don't pretend to know much about guns and owning them. Seems like the high-powered ones do most of the killing, don't they? And, I do wonder why people need those.

I think recognizing people in need of mental health treatment and making certain they receive it would be a good place to start. But, so many people don't see the need for everyone to be entitled to the medical treatment they need.

I don't know.

Edited at 2012-12-15 07:46 pm (UTC)
Dec. 16th, 2012 03:48 am (UTC)
I'm starting to think that an important factor in the growth in mass killings in the US is the media treatment of them. The whole "if it bleeds, it leads" attitude creates a semi-valorization of the murderer, and establishes a template for behavior that says "if you're done with life, hate everybody, and want to be remembered: kill a bunch of folks, and you become a legend!" We make movies about them, the media spends months pseudo-analyzing them, everybody talks about them; if everybody you know already hates you or ignores you, and you're missing the part of your head that tells you other folks are actual people, it's not a bad choice to make. Might as well give them a good reason to hate you, and make it impossible to ignore you.
Dec. 16th, 2012 02:00 pm (UTC)
I also agree with this, and you have stated it very well. I haven't been watching much media coverage, but I did see some of Anderson Cooper, and he specifically said that he would not use the shooter's name at all on the program--and didn't, as far as I heard. If that was adopted as the general journalistic practice--say, OK to directly quote an official who gives the name, but never use it again--would it make a difference?
Dec. 15th, 2012 10:25 pm (UTC)
I thought from your comment over in another LJ that we might be somewhat on the same page with this, but wow. "And that's the point at which we have an actual open war on our hands" is almost exactly what I said yesterday in conversation with my 25-year-old son. It seems to be a factor that is completely ignored, overlooked...the elephant in the room.
Dec. 16th, 2012 03:57 am (UTC)
Well, nobody in power wants to admit that the reason they're real careful about the nutjobs with guns is that they might actually use them. The illusion of control is more important than the actuality of control.

As for the rest of us, it's kinda hard to deal with the reality that if the rural gunbunny conservatives flip out and start shooting as a group, the cityfolk are kinda screwed. Yeah, there's a lot more of us, but almost none of us are armed or inclined to personal defense. And the cops that we rely on for protection from other citizens don't really like any of us that much, and culturally have a lot more in common with the folks that'll be on the other side. That's depressing shit that nobody really wants to deal with.
Dec. 16th, 2012 01:56 pm (UTC)
I agree with all that.

The illusion of control is more important than the actuality of control.

And particularly that.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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