Ever notice how the chief culprits are never identified or even mentioned in the great blame game that breaks out after every horrendous shooting? Now don’t me wrong. The unintended injury or death of any human being is horrendous, but we don’t register the daily, humdrum gun violence affairs; we wait until a really bestial, mass murder takes place to which we then assign terms like’ horrible,’ ‘unthinkable,’ ‘tragic’ and the like. Then we play the great blame game.
For Republicans, the blame is now squarely fixed on something called “very’ very sick people.” Or at least this is how Donald Trump began his contribution to the blame game after the Oregon massacre last week. It was basically what he and other Presidential wannabes said after the August 26 gunning down of two television journalists in Virginia; funny how these guys (and a gal) all agree that we should do a better job of collecting information about the crazies among us but, at the same time, we don’t need to extend background checks. So what should we do with all this new information that we’ll get when we ‘fix’ the mental health system?
Everybody’s getting down on Jeb Bush for his cogent “stuff happens” response to the blame game, but maybe he’s decided that given his standing in the polls, he’d be better off not blaming anyone or anything at all. And when all is said and done, I give Baby Bro a high-five for at least having the honesty to come right out and say what the words of the other red-meat candidates really mean, namely, that when it comes to gun violence, they don’t want to do anything at all.
But I’m not so sure that the blame game is generating anything more credible from the other side. What was Hilary’s line? “Sensible gun control measures,” whatever that means. And from the woods of Vermont, Bernie Sanders issued a statement which began, “We need sensible gun-control legislation.” Wait a minute. I thought that Hilary owns ‘sensible.’ Joe, who hasn’t decided yet whether he can afford to be unemployed after January 20, 2016, pushed back on the ‘sensible’ argument to remind us that the 2nd Amendment didn’t protect the rights of someone who wanted to own a “bazooka or an F-15.” I like Joe and I’d vote for him if I had the chance. But what the hell was he thinking?
If you want the official blame-game entry you have to turn to Nick Kristof’s op-ed in The New York Times. And what we get here is a remarkable and novel approach to gun violence, namely, that guns aren’t safe. He comes right out and says it! After all, the British cut suicide rates by switching from coal to gas, the latter much less lethal, hence ovens in England are safer. “We need to do the same with guns.” Want to make guns safer Nickie-boy? Design them so that when you pull the trigger, out comes a squirt of H2O.
So that’s where things stand in today’s great blame game. Everybody’s got a way to fix the problem but nobody’s saying anything reality-based at all. But recall I said in the very first sentence that the real culprits of gun violence are never named. So I’m going to name them now and it goes like this: Beretta, Charter, Colt, Glock, H&K, Kahr, Sig, Smith&Wesson, Springfield, Walther – I’m probably missing one or two more. These crummy little companies make the products that kill and injure 100,000 Americans every year. Want to tell me that guns don’t kill people, people kill people? Go lay brick.
It’s not about background checks, it’s not about mental health, it’s not even about ‘stuff.’ It’s about a lethal consumer product being cynically and dishonestly promoted as the most effective protection from violence and crime. It’s not true, the gun makers know it’s not true, and it’s time we stopped looking elsewhere for something to blame.