Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Las Vegas - Damn.

I've always meant to go to Las Vegas. I apparently don't travel much, even though as a child I used to dream of it nightly, planning trips to places around the globe, poring over resort layouts, scouring maps for points of interest. As an adult I've never even been to Las Vegas. It's not like they don't have flights, but there was always something else. And now I guess there is a Las Vegas Before...and a Las Vegas After.

What happened was...shocking. I didn't watch TV Sunday night confined myself to a fresh startup of an video strategy game I like - the Cowboys had lost, I was not in the mood for anything - and so I wasn't until Monday morning on the way to work listening to NPR that I heard. And I cursed out loud in shock. Not a quiet sentiment, but actual shock. It's surreal really. 

So when exactly is a good time to talk about gun control?

Normally, on like an average day, there is no urgency. You raise the question and your patriotism is questioned and you find out the Second Amendment is second to nothing and not just because THEY keep trying to punch holes in the first amendment. We're not talking about taking all guns away, just the really dangerous ones, and maybe checking to see whose buying them, but no. The NRA takes it's bag of money out of the trunk, the Congresspeople line up and later we all argue about the same things we've been yelling about for the past 50 years and nothing changes.

So apparently that's not the moment. 

On a day like today, which occurs far too often, where a tragic incident involving firearms designed for warfare is used for NOT warfare, we get admonished for attempting to politicize the event for our own ends. We must tend to the wounded, counsel the grief stricken, figure out what happened. After that we'll lionize the brave, donate blood or time, dramatize the events in the re-telling and then sell the movie rights - we can get Mark Wahlberg. And pray. And send our thoughts.

So apparently it's not now either.

As I understand it, one of the central arguments in favor of the Second Amendment is that limiting it deprives one of the right to defend themselves in case of being attacked. I hear this, but I always wonder do those who espouse this believe that shootouts are like the movies? Like video games? That they'll be able to unlimber their firearms, coolly assess the situation, and then spring into action John Wick style using only head shots? People who describe getting shot at use words like terror, shock and anger. And I'm talking about soldiers who are trained for it, not work day Joes. One of the people on the scene, formerly a major gun rights supporter, realized that night why that argument doesn't work. But had to happen to him. Why can't we learn from his insight. Sigh.

Las Vegas was horrific.

How many dead do we need before we act? We have as many dead from gun violence in the past six months as we've had from all the terrorist attacks ever in this country. I realize an incident like this is probably not the best way to evaluate how guns affect our lives, but when is? We've already figured out it's not when it's not happening. When do we get to defend America from itself?

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