So, to summarize the past week or so of posts from the Machine on this topic:
- No, we shouldn’t just accept that mass shootings have to be a part of daily life in America
- Blaming mental health issues is at best a reason for tighter control on access to guns, and at worst a diversionary tactic
- If anything should involve the frustration of red tape, it’s access to mass killing machines
- Feral hogs have done very little to counter our increasingly efficient technology for shredding them
- The people who scream most loudly about the Government wanting to oppress us were actually the first ones to strike, and the Government showed tremendous restraint in response
- The reason throwing more police at the problem doesn’t work is because mass shooters have easy access to lethal firepower
- Americans really love guns, far more than any other nation in the world
It remains to be seen how successfully Congress will be able to implement the agreement in principle that was achieved last weekend. We can all be cautiously optimistic about that, but even if they are 100% successful, the plan falls considerably short of where things need to be. Unfortunately, there is no easy solution here, and that’s because gun control is one of many issues that has become so partisan nobody can even remember why.
It’s unfortunate that common sense issues like gun control become political, because general political conversation is more polarized and vitriolic than ever. One could argue that “communication” mechanisms like Facebook and Twitter have made this far worse than it used to be. The value of direct human contact and communication cannot be overstated. We become more disconnected and more likely to be hateful to one another when we are not face to face in the same room. When somebody is just a Twitter handle, for example, it’s easy to duhumanize them. Just like when we are driving – we don’t see people, we see cars, and so we say things we would never say directly to another human being right in front of us.
Congress used to be a level above all this, which is why compromises were possible up to even a couple of decades ago. Long-standing members of Congress in particular had learned how to deal respectfully with their colleagues even when in complete disagreement. But now we have people like Boebert and Taylor-Greene who bring the worst kind of Twitter-fired hatred into the conversation, and who openly embrace their roles as divisive forces to feed their narcissistic egos. With this kind of evilly hot temperature even in the halls of our democracy, is it any surprise there is more anger and violence in our nation than ever? And guns make that so easy to act upon.
Hopefully some measures will be enacted to move us closer to where we need to go. But truly getting there will require a fundamental change to the way Americans on opposite sides of issues relate to each other. To that, the Machine does not have a solution as yet.