Your Opinion on Gun Control Doesn’t Matter

constitution gun

Can we stop looking at gun rights as an ideological issue? This is no longer ideological. I don’t care how you feel in theory: I care what is happening in practice. In practice, there have been 351 mass shootings in only 336 days. More people will die by guns than in car accidents this year. In practice, this is a public health crisis.

If you still bristle at the idea of gun control, fine. All I’m asking is that you call a spade a spade. To you, the right to own a gun— including one of those assault weapons that looks like what a robot might utilize to kill the enemy in a movie called Robot War 3—is more important than people’s lives. People’s lives matter less than your gun.

You may try to work your way around that statement, but evidence shows that I’m right. Nothing will stop you from believing that ownership of a gun is more important than dead people. Dozens of people killed in disability centers and churches this year alone? Worth it. Man shoots up kindergarten classrooms at an elementary school? Worth it. The knowledge that any time you’re in a remotely public place you could get gunned down? Worth it.

To you, the deaths of these people are less important than your right to own a gun. You must know that people die daily from random violence at their workplace, at the store, in their car. You think that’s unfortunate. Sad. Tragic, even. But not as tragic as stricter gun control would be. The deaths are an unnecessary accoutrement, scuffing your personal dogma. But they don’t change anything.

“That’s the price we pay for freedom,” you shrug, although you’ve never actually had to pay the price. Even though there is no freedom in being scared to walk out of your house, scared to eat in the cafeteria, or go to the doctor—scared of any place with people.

As it stands, I am (surprisingly) less partisan about gun control than others. In many ways, I see (and even sometimes agree with) what anti-gun regulators are saying. I am (generally) clear on why this issue is complicated.

But here’s my thing. On days like today, I do not care about your ideology. I do not care about mine. I care about my life. I care about their lives. I don’t want my stomach in knots every time my fiancé takes the subway to work. I don’t want people I love to die. I don’t want you to lose the people you love. I don’t want to watch any more live reporting from overhead helicopters on CNN, as they scour the perimeter for signs of life.

We can argue the philosophical merits of gun regulation, we can expand or shrink the sociopolitical, and yet we will end up exactly where we are. It is sadly too late for all that. Ideology gets us nowhere. We will meet here again, probably tomorrow. We will keep meeting—same time, same place.

I’m watching a livestream of the local news, where a bewildered reporter tries to swallow his tears. It’s raining outside, and clear across the country in California there are a dozen dead bodies, each end brought by bullets. Parents are calling frantic, hoping that their child is alive. At this moment right now, survivors are just embarking on a long journey of pain, guilt, trauma, regret, flashbacks. The loss is tangible. The pain is forever.

But you still have your guns! So It’s all worth it to you. You have to remind yourself. Go ahead, say it out loud—”Those deaths are worth it to me.” Days like today, you have to remind yourself that this is the cause you are (literally, chances are) willing to die for. Is it worth it?

 

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos