Good Reason

It's okay to be wrong. It's not okay to stay wrong.

Dear America: The gun thing

Hi, America. Just wondering how you’re doing. I know things have been a bit crazy lately — well, just like always, eh? Or maybe a little crazier.

Look, I noticed that you haven’t really changed your mind about guns, even with all the recent unpleasantness.

Americans’ overall attitudes toward gun laws have not budged an inch in the wake of the shootings in Arizona, according to a new national poll.

“Those numbers are identical to the results of a poll taken in the summer of 2009, indicating that the tragic events in Tucson have not changed how the public feels about gun laws,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “This is a familiar pattern in polling – surveys taken after previous incidents like the Columbine shooting have shown little or no change in Americans’ attitudes toward guns.”

I guess it was inevitable that nothing would change after the shootings — if Columbine didn’t do it, or Fort Hood, or Virginia Tech, — or the 80-something Americans that get killed every day — then I don’t suppose anything will. Just the cost of doing business.

But I also noticed that you think some restrictions are good.

The poll indicates that the two sides of the gun debate are evenly balanced, with one in seven Americans opposing any restrictions on guns at all and one in seven saying that all guns should be illegal except for police and other authorized personnel. Roughly a third support minor restrictions and roughly a third support major restrictions.

Wow, two-thirds of you want restrictions on guns. And yet there’s no plans to make it happen. It’s a dead issue. That must be frustrating. Is the gun lobby thwarting it? Would a bill ever get off the ground?

I’ll level with you, America. This issue makes you look… well, let’s just say other countries are starting to talk. That you can’t seem to get a hold on this issue even though it kills a lot of you seems suicidally masochistic. And it does kill a lot of you. Right now, gun deaths account for 78 percent of all your homicides — that’s the highest in the world except for Colombia.

Yeah, I know you like your guns. At least, those of you who are still alive. Let’s ask the rest of you how they feel. Oh, wait, we can’t. (Maybe that’s part of the problem — the dead can’t vote.) But some of you who are still alive say that you can’t take guns away because then only outlaws would have guns, or something like that. I guess that’s true; I wouldn’t like to be gun-less in a country already awash in guns. You can’t put the genie back in Pandora’s box, if you will.

Maybe gun control can’t work in America anymore, and if you want less gun violence, you just have to go somewhere else. I did go somewhere else, but even so, I still find this profoundly depressing. I like you a lot, America, and I hate thinking that this drama is going to play out again and again, and everyone will act just as shocked and outraged as ever, but it’ll never get better.

1 Comment

  1. We Americans act like this is all perfectly normal, like it's just a part of life. IOW, we're crazy, and we don't know it.

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