It’s Not My Problem Anymore, It’s Yours

Dear NRA Members and Sympathizers:

If the Las Vegas massacre has a message for you, it’s that the incredible number of dead and injured are your responsibility, not mine.  Be sure to read all of the names of the dead as soon as they are published and consider memorizing them.  Then carve at least 59 notches (as of this morning) in the handle or stock of your favorite gun, reciting their names aloud as you do.  To the extent American society can have an impact on mass killings, their fate is on your conscience, not mine.

Oh, I will mourn each of the Las Vegas dead for at least as long as you will – most likely longer, if my suspicions are correct.  You and your colleagues in Congress and the White House will offer a heart-felt there-but-for-fortune-go-you-and-not-I moment of silence, and then, satisfied you’ve done all you can for the dead, you’ll promptly forget their names. But if you follow my suggestion, you’ll at least have the notches on your weapon to remember them by.

Why are they your victims and not mine?  Because I’ve spoken up repeatedly in favor of responsible gun regulation (NB, not confiscation) and contributed money to the cause.  It’s gotten my side of the discussion nowhere because the entire system is rigged in your favor. No matter what I or my fellow believers might do, nothing whatsoever will happen as a result of the Las Vegas (or any other) massacre, and you take pride in the fact that the system is rigged that way.

So it’s your hands that are bloody this morning whether you were 1 or 10,000 miles away from Las Vegas at the time of the shooting.  Why?  Because you no longer have any excuse for not doing something, whether that excuse is real or imagined. There are no more bogey men, white or black, with sufficient power to take your guns, much less to have any effective say in the debate over responsible gun regulation.  The White House is solidly yours, as is Congress and the Supreme Court. You own all of the devices of American government – the whole shebang.  I no longer have any effective say in the matter – not that I’m likely to shut up about it as I’m certain you wish I would.

You no longer want to hear from me on this subject because you don’t wish to be reminded of the blood on your hands.  You have chosen to play the lottery of life and keep your head down in hopes that you and your guilt won’t be noticed.  For the odds are that you won’t be noticed in any effective way either by the next gunman or by society.  The odds are solidly in your favor that the next set of inevitable victims will not include you, your spouse, children, grandchildren, cousins, aunts, uncles, siblings, mother, father, grandparents, friends, neighbors, or what have you.  So when the next set of victims is announced by gunfire, you’ll most likely rest easy as soon as it is culturally and religiously possible to do so because, hey, it didn’t happen to you and yours and the odds will still be heavily in your favor that it won’t happen to you and yours the next time, either.  Or the time after that.  Or the time… –  oh never mind, since you probably don’t give a damn anyway.

Just know that you now own all of the mass shootings that will take place in the US for as long as you own Congress, the White House, and the Supreme Court.  You’ve rendered the rest of us useless, and thereby freed us from further blame – at least in the short term.  But you do have a choice.  You can choose to celebrate your victory (yes, you own that too), or you can decide that now is the time for your side to enact responsible gun legislation because you own all of the mechanisms necessary to do so and can control the final result.

The rest of us will still help however we can in whatever way you allow, but we cannot initiate anything.   Only you can.  So we’ll wait to hear from you, and so far the silence has proved deafening.

For clarity as to my expectations, be aware that I don’t expect you to act other than irrationally.  Recent history assures me that you won’t.  I’m as certain as I can be that Congress will in fact pass the presently pending bill to ease the restrictions on the use of silencers and that you will happily swallow all of the nonsense uttered in favor of its passage.  I am equally certain that the president will sign the act into law, while uttering even more outrageous nonsense that you will find satisfying.

Be aware that for you and your ilk the time is similar to 1920s Germany, and you are following the will of a perceived majority down the road to your own personal Hell.  Enjoy it while you can.  You will be judged for your inaction.

Even though you haven’t asked, I ought to explain what I mean by “sympathizers.”  It’s important that you understand my usage.  By “sympathizers” I mean all of you gun owners or gun favorers who either don’t belong to the NRA or who do but are in favor of some form of gun regulation (a reputed 72% of NRA membership according to the last poll I can find reference to).  You own the means of acting now while you can write the rules to your complete satisfaction because you’re a far greater number than the NRA’s lunatic fringe led by Wayne LaPierre.  In fact, your hands are the bloodiest because you represent the majority of NRA membership and possibly of the voting public, the system is under your complete control, and you are rational, thoughtful citizens.

So it’s your time to act, not mine. I’ve said and done all I can. And I’ll even help with both my time and my money, if you do act responsibly. But you won’t will you?  I know, I know, the odds are still in your favor.

Good luck with those beliefs.  Lots of it.  You’ll need all you can get from the standpoint of how history and the afterlife judges you.


P.S.: By the way, if you’re going to argue with me, please don’t fall back on the old, tired dodge that no one can control a madman in order to exonerate yourselves from responsibility.  That wheeze may be true to a very limited extent, but certainly the majority of American  society has the right, and the obligation, to limit a madman’s opportunity to use weapons when they go off the rails.  And, since madmen don’t come with labels, we have to act on behalf of all society, regardless of political leanings.  Since most sympathizers argue that gun ownership is as much or more a matter of personal safety as it is of hunting rights, please think about the inanity of not demanding safer gun ownership and use in our society in general before arguing with me.

About Gavin Stevens

Humptulips County is the wholly fictional on-line residence of Stephen Ellis, a would-be writer, an avid fan of William Faulkner and his Yoknapatawpha County, and a retired lawyer.
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