I was recently having a conversation on Facebook with a conservative woman about gun control and school shootings. She gave me the typical nonsense: guns don’t kill people, people kill people.
Being a writer and not wanting to miss the chance to one-up a cliche with a more truthful turn-of-phrase, I responded by saying that yes, guns do kill people because gun violence is impossible without guns.
I went on to say that among developed nations, America had a fairly unique gun violence problem. We can’t continue with business as usual and keep watching students get gunned down. Something needs to change.
The conservative responded immediately by posting the Israel teacher meme, it’s a pic of an Israeli teacher standing behind a group of kids with an assault rifle slung over her shoulder.
Do we really want that for our schools and for our kids? Most Americans don’t, but if we armed teachers, that sure would be good for gun manufacturers. Profits would boom, stock prices would soar, and the money would come rolling in.
As I discuss quite a bit on this blog, what Americans think doesn’t really matter anymore. Politicians only respond to money, and in America, gun manufacturers and the NRA have a lot of money invested in making sure that gun control legislation doesn’t pass. And they’ve succeeded.
In the 2016 election cycle, Republicans received nearly $6 million from the gun lobby. Democrats, by contrast, received $106,000. This is one of the few issues where Democrats actually do present a stark contrast to Republicans, which simply means that conservative propaganda can tap into the rage and make this a liberal issue.
Liberals want to take your guns!
Liberals want to take away your freedoms!
Liberals don’t want to arm teachers because they want to kill students!
Rage against liberals works everytime it’s tried, especially these days.
America armed to the teeth
When I was chatting with the woman on Facebook, she immediately went from zero to sixty. I usually find that there is at least some small window for rational discourse before the blood pressure spikes and liberal rage gets pumped into the system. In truth, I’ve had very productive conversations with conservatives and libertarians over the years. What I’m saying is, they aren’t all simply irrational facilitaters of Fox News propaganda. There are a few exceptions, exceptions that unfortunately prove the rule. In this particular case and in this particular Facebook conversation, there was no window of opportunity, whatsoever. Arm our teachers! Save our kids!
After all, it would be a boon for business. After the recent Florida shooting, stock prices got a bump, as they always do after a mass shooting. Fearing the possibility of gun control legislation, gun owners make sure that they are well-stocked.
Gun manufacturers have already flooded the nation with firearms, but there’s always room to expand the market. And just think, if teachers were required to carry firearms, it would be a big boost to our economy!
What is more, what if every citizen were armed? What if all of America were a place where there were enough mass shootings that we all felt like we had to be armed and ready, no matter where we were?
America armed to the teeth.
Individuals taking personal responsibility for their safety. This could be good for the economy, and it would fit with the conservative worldview, a worldview where each individual focuses on themselves and no one takes responsibility for anything or anyone, other than themselves.
Maybe that will be our future, or maybe not. No one can say for certain. What we do know, with absolute certainty, is that right now it isn’t up to us. Our democratic process does not really exist, in any meaningful sense.
We can turn a buck on anything, even student shootings
A majority of Americans favor stricter gun control, and have for quite some time. It isn’t a strong majority — from what I can tell it’s usually just over 50% — but a majority all the same. After 8 years of an Obama Presidency, a President who cared very deeply about gun control, nothing changed in any substantial way. (In actual fact, our nation experienced another flood of guns, as gun owners rushed to get their guns whilst the gettin’ was good, i.e., before the liberal President took them all away.)
What you and I think about gun control will not affect legislation, at least not anytime soon. Our politicians respond primarily to lobbyists. Our government is lubricated by the the corporate money of lobbyists and by their power to network and provide favors to politicians and those who support them.
In other words, capitalism is working well here in America. We can turn a buck on anything, even student shootings.
You may protest. You may think I’m overstating the case by bringing capitalism into the picture, but time and again, corporations profit handsomely from death and destruction, whether this means destroying forests, ramping up plastic production, cramming terrorized animals into cages to be raised for meat, pumping carbon into the air, profiting from war and violence, or making money from flooding America with assault rifles and other weapons.
Capitalism is about turning a profit as fast as you can and by any means necessary. The health and well-being of society simply doesn’t factor into the equation, and neither does the safety of America’s kids. Flooding America with guns is good for business.