Saturday, June 23, 2012

Where are Our Manners?

Shame, shame Chicago.

I was reared to always say thank you to those who extended me a kindness, did me a favor or otherwise performed a good deed simply because it was the right thing to do.

And despite the unceasing efforts of the National Rifle Association and folk like federal judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan to keep our streets awash in the greatest number of firearms possible, I have yet to hear even a single Chicagoan voice a simple thank you!

I ask you: were we raised in the Cheney household? I think not.

So after yet-another violent weekend, I propose that our city’s usually well-mannered citizenry extend heartfelt and multiple thank yous to the NRA and Judge Der-Yeghiayan. Over each bloody and lifeless corpse, imagine a cheery ‘Thank You NRA’ banner. Or relatives of the deceased sporting ‘I (heart) Judge Der-Yeghiayan’ t-shirts?

It's only right.

Without their relentless and unselfish labors, how would it be possible to have the gun-saturated neighborhoods we now enjoy? How would it be possible for people like Shawn Gowder, with one firearms-related felony (since reduced to a misdemeanor) already under his belt, to exercise his Second Amendment right to bear arms?

The short answer is, it wouldn’t.

Imagine a weekend evening without the musical crackle of gunfire. Imagine walking along a city street without the spine-tingling threat of being shot. Sucks, doesn’t it?

Like, thank god for X-Box. Totally.

Kidding aside, I’m fairly sure the United States is the only nation on earth with an entity like the NRA, which exists solely to protect an unthreatened civil liberty. Their staggering success has made the United States a first-world leader in things like violent homicide, and who doesn’t think that’s something to be proud of?

It’s kind of like having an advocacy group for wife beating.

In the cockeyed logic of the NRA (which dovetails nicely with conservative fear-mongering), widespread gun ownership will make us crime-free. But a gun in every hand is not an equalizer. It’s not a panacea. No more than a nuclear warhead in every missle silo was during the Cold War. It’s a fatal fantasy.

Curing crime with guns is like eradicating lung cancer with cigarettes.

Gun violence is a complex, multi-faceted problem originating in the dark well of hopelessness that is grinding, entrenched poverty. There are no easy or fast answers.

What we see on Chicago’s south and west sides comes very close to realizing the NRA's fantasy; there very nearly is a gun in every hand. But it doesn't work. Crime is thriving. Entire neighborhoods are engaged in arms races—with tragic and costly consequences.

Overturning gun bans will only extend those races and those consequences across the entire metropolitan area. The winners will be handgun manufacturers and the politicians who auction-off their support in exchange for campaign financing.

The losers will be us.

4 comments:

  1. I read this some time back, before the cinema shoting had happened.

    I remember a debate I had with Paul, from Myspace, about gun control (I don't know if you knew him, he passed away). Although originally from America but living in Australia in Canberra at the time, he was a die-hard supporter of the right to carry a firearm and couldn't understand the majority view of the people here nor could I understand how having a gun made him feel safer.

    There are so many disturbing things about that shooting but one of them must surely be that many more people could have been killed if his first weapon of choice had not jammed.

    I guess the other one must be the people who believe that other cinema goers carrying a gun could have stopped him.

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  2. Within hours, Republicants were on TV defending the expiration of the assault weapons ban, and firearms in general.

    I am left well and truly speechless.

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  3. The billions if not trillions spent on the so called war on terror is amazing when you consider how little has been done to stop the amount of guns being amassed by so many people. There is a far greater chance you will be killed by a gun held by an American than a Muslim from another country. The fact that people like yourself always have that fear speaks for itself and must be depressing.

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