Will yesterday's tragic and terrible mass shooting in Washington DC finally jolt elected officials to pull their heads out of their holsters and start considering some real gun control like human beings with feelings that extend beyond a desire to secure the AK-fellating firearm hoarder vote? To answer my own rhetorical question — hahahahahaha no. Call me cynical, but as others have pointed out, if a classroom full of dead kids in Newtown can't convince Washington to act, then it's unlikely that a cafeteria strewn with dead adults will. Besides, how could we possibly expect the government to control guns when they're so busy with more pressing issues, like trying to defund Obamacare, naming Post Offices, and — MOST IMPORTANTLY — regulating uteruses?
The man behind the shooting is ex-Navy Reservist Aaron Alexis, who killed 12 people before he was shot and killed by police. The perpetrator, who was working as a military contractor, entered the secure facility using real credentials using guns that appear to be legally obtained— all this despite a well-documented history of run-ins with the law and mental illness.
A normal person with a brain that works would conclude, based on the prevalence of mass shootings by people who should not have access to guns, that maybe some measure should be taken to prevent that from happening. Background checks. Waiting periods. Registries. Assault weapons bans. Something! But the backlash of the gun lobby has been so virulent that in April, less than 6 months after twenty kids were fucking shot to death in Connecticut, the Democratic-controlled Senate failed to pass a law that would require background checks. A handful of Democrats voted against it, even though it seemed like a slam-dunk no brainer from Planet Obvious (Besides, if you're not stable enough to mentally withstand the agony of waiting a few days to get your mitts on a gun, then maybe you are not mentally stable enough to own a gun). And just last week, two Colorado elected officials were successfully recalled because of a gun lobby vendetta against them; both dared vote in favor of background checks and limits on magazine size. Apparently the Second Amendment especially protects the rights of gun owners who need more than 15 rounds to hit the thing they were shooting at before reloading. A poll this summer found that 71% of Americans support basic national gun control. Congress was still too cravenly chickenshit to do anything proactive.
The right's response to the DC shootings has been predictably awful, though not as awful as that Wayne LaPierre presser last December when the NRA head suggested that the only way to stop "a bad guy with a gun" was "a good guy with a gun" (curiously, no word yet on why there were apparently no "good guys with guns" at a Naval yard). This morning on Fox & Friends, chirping moron Elisabeth Hasselbeck started off her tenure as the morning show's Official Concerned Mom by parroting the right wing talking point that gun violence shouldn't be politicized, and that what the government should really be doing is taking a long, hard, look at how video games are making people violent. As a politically liberal individual and a woman who knows how to handle and shoot a gun, I'd say that my response to mass shootings isn't so much a political response as it is an aversion to senseless, preventable human suffering. But tomayto, tomahto.
Ironically (she typed, bitterly), the same cheap suits who are so concerned with their constituents' liberty as it relates to shooty toys are willing to regulate the hell out of the female body. When you take a step back and take a look at the big picture, which includes both women and the more-deserving-of-freedom gun, things look downright... embarrassing. State legislatures have enacted 40 different abortion restrictions thus far in 2013, many under the guise that they "protect women" from dangerous abortions. But clinic-targeting laws are a solution in search of a problem; only around 400 women have died from legally performed abortions since 1973, which averages out to 10 per year. Dogs kill a few dozen people per year. Hell, abortion kills slightly more people annually than falling vending machines, and you don't see politicians waxing centrist about making Sour Cream N Onion Tater Skins "safe, legal, and rare." Meanwhile, the number of people killed annually by guns in the US? About 32,000. By 2015, some analysts predict gun fatalities will exceed traffic fatalities in the US, based on current trends.
But, you know, let's focus instead on ladies who be having some of the sex, and whether or not they're being properly punished for their sluttery. Forty-four lawsuits protesting Obamacare's requirement that insurance cover birth control and Plan B for women, including one state legislator in Alabama who is suing for a "personal family exemption" from the law. Religious organizations continue to tout the lie that emergency contraception is an "abortion causing drug." The Catholic Church still classifies birth control as an abortifacient, even though that's the opposite of a fact.
I don't mean to trivialize the lives lost to or families affected by mass shootings; just to underline how utterly fucked pro-life, pro-gun priorities are. How can someone call themselves "pro life" when they do nothing to stop the deaths of thousands of living, breathing, autonomous people? People with families, friends, hopes, dreams, pets. On what planet is this okay?
Twenty dead kids here, a dozen dead adults there. More than 300 people murdered in Chicago this year alone. When will it stop? Maybe once we get all those wayward ladyparts under control.
Image by Aleksandar Mijatovic/Shutterstock.