It is that day. One year ago today, a disturbed young man, woke up, killed his mother, shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed almost thirty people. Then, he got down to what was probably his main purpose, he killed himself. These things always make me think of the film Fargo, at the end where Marge Gunderson is bringing in Gaear. She says, “So that was Mrs Lundegaard on the floor in there. And I guess that was your accomplice in the wood chipper. And those three people in Brainerd. And for what? For a little bit of money. There’s more to life than a little money, you know. Don’tcha know that? And here ya are, and it’s a beautiful day. Well, I just don’t understand it.” We never understand it.
We also never do anything about it. There was outrage. How could this happen? Everyone had a theory. I think it’s all bullshit myself. Sometimes brains just don’t work the way they ought to. Some attempts were made to tighten restrictions on gun purchases. That was a noble effort, but as the gun lobby correctly pointed out, it had nothing to do with the Sandy Hook massacre. As I noted the day after, its easier to get a gun than mental health treatment, Guns Cheap, Mental Health Expensive. But let’s be honest, America Doesn’t Care About Shooting Sprees. Sure, they make great television. But otherwise, kids get murdered. They weren’t celebrities were they?!
No new federal gun legislation was passed. In Colorado they did something. Very little, but still. They put a “ban on magazines holding more than fifteen rounds of ammunition, a universal background check, and a requirement that buyers pay a fee for the background check.” Oh my God! You’d think the black helicopters had arrived and were taking everyone’s guns. For the gun “rights” crowd the slippery slope is an ice cube you dropped on your kitchen floor. You slip on it and suddenly you’re in Nazi Germany.
So Colorado has some very minor gun control legislation that is hugely popular. Yet two state legislators were recalled. And one more faces recall. And why? Because liberals can’t bother to get off their asses and vote. And most conservatives even agree with the laws but if the NRA tells them they need to vote someone out, they follow in line just like the Brownshirts of old. What I’m saying is that Americans are a bunch of assholes but for different reasons.
Remember two days ago when I wrote, An American Political Allegory. It was the story about a father squirrel who hated his neighbor squirrel more than he hated the cat that killed and ate his son. I’m afraid I was being a bit too subtle. We Americans are big at following right along with whatever the corporations tell us to do. The NRA? That’s not a group that represents gun owners; it’s a group that represents gun manufacturers. It’s members (the people) have pretty reasonable opinions about guns. But it’s like those proposed laws that mandated the labeling of GMOs. They were all hugely popular until Monsanto and its corporate allies got done convincing the people that it would destroy farming as we know it.
I know it sounds like I’m preaching to the choir here. But I’m not. Most Americans agree with me about most political issues. The problem is that a very large fraction of those people can’t be bothered to vote. There are two brave legislators who were thrown out of office (and one that just resigned) not because they did something unpopular, but because the people couldn’t be bothered to support them.
It doesn’t matter how good your politics are, if you don’t vote, it doesn’t matter. And one year on from Sandy Hook, the murder sprees continue. Frequently.