Here’s a little nugget of a factoid that I’m sure means absolutely nothing and is almost barely worth wasting web space on: More Americans have been shot and killed in gun violence since 1968 than have died in every single, solitary U.S. war.
According to the following article from Vox, about 1.17 million Americans have lost their lives in the wars this country has fought. Meanwhile, the same article says that about 1.49 million have been shot and killed since the year we lost Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King to assassins’ bullets.
In England, Australia, Japan, Austria, Germany, China, and pretty much every other developed country, this kind of statistic might mean the natives would start conversing about curtailing just who can buy a gun and just how easily obtained they are and should be. In America though, this kind of statistic actually doesn’t exist.
You see, in this country, guns aren’t tools, not really. Oh, sure, staunch gun rights advocates will insist it is, but I submit that in point of fact, they don’t actually think of guns as tools themselves. Clearly they see guns as something much more powerful than a simple tool. They speak of guns as if their mere existence prevents governmental tyranny. But if you ask any transgender person living in North Carolina right now they’d probably tell you government tyranny can happen pretty easily in a state where a lot of people own guns. And if you ask the LGBT community in Orlando right now, something tells me they wouldn’t tell you guns are some great protector of civil liberties, especially since a good guy with a gun initiated contact with the assailant in last weekend’s carnage and didn’t stop 50 people from losing their lives.
Guns must mean more to gun nuts than just simple tools, because none of those facts actually force them to confront the reality of gun violence in this country. The comedian in me finds it darkly humorous that we love warfare and romanticize it so much in this country but that more average, ordinary citizens have sacrificed their lives for the Second Amendment than have died fighting in wars that gun-loving patriots insist are all about defending, among other things, the Second Amendment.
In the wake of mass shootings in this country, we’re always told we can’t politicize guns, and that we can’t rush to any conclusions. It doesn’t matter how many people are killed, and it doesn’t matter how illogical it is for people on the terror watch list to be approved for firearm purchases. All that matters is that these high-holy objects never have their God-given miraculous powers questioned. Only in America could the fact that more civilians have died in gun violence than veterans of its wars be a big, fat, nothingburger.
Now, here comes the part where the real bitter irony starts taking root: The War on Terror has clearly been brought to our shores. In the past few months there have been two separate mass shootings — on in San Bernardino and now Pulse in Orlando — that were carried out by radicalized American citizens, which means now fundamentalist Islamic terror groups can exploit our own Constitution to arm their combatants.
But hey, don’t blame the NRA or the gun lobby in general for this! Just because they’ve profited for decades by stoking the fears of our government taking your guns away, and just because they’ve made it damn-near impossible to pick the lowest of the hanging gun control fruit, that doesn’t mean that in any way they bear responsibility for helping to arm both the San Bernardino and Orlando shooters. No! Not at all. Only in, like, a place that deals in reality and the real world would that ever be true…and gun nut patriots most certainly do not reside anywhere near that particular berg.
It should really anger and annoy sensible gun owners that this is happening. In their name, the NRA has waged a brutal and relentless campaign against gun safety, labeling anyone who dares to ask for even a discussion of reform un-American haters of liberty all along the way. Well, as my good pal Manny said this weekend, they can add 50 more bodies’ worth of blood to the absolute torrential flood of it that’s on their hands after Orlando. Every time a radicalized American citizen goes on a rampage from now on, you can put their body counts on the NRA’s tab too.
Manny made one more call to gun owners that I think bears special attention, because it is truly the only way that stats like the one this article is based on will have any meaning or impact whatsoever.
It’s up to you, sensible gun owners, to make this horrid statistic a thing of the past by pressing your congressman to get off their asses and do the bear minimum. Otherwise, it’s only going to get worse, and we’re only going to become even bigger embarrassing blights on the species.
One nation, under the cross hairs.