So as I’m sure you’ve all heard, we’ve had another mass shooting. Every news outlet is covering it. Every talk show is analyzing it. Every blogger is writing about it. And I have to say, I’m pretty much over it.
Remember a few months ago in Newtown when all those little kids got shot? Everyone threw up their hands, tore at their clothes, cried in front of their televisions, lit candles, signed petitions, wrote their congresspeople, ranted on Facebook, walked their kids into school, double-checked the front entrance locks, bought bullet-proof backpacks, enacted “code red” drills to teach kids to quietly hide in corners and scare the shit out of everyone, railed about the crappy mental health system, screamed about assault weapons and clip sizes, threw their hands up at the wing-batted argument that “criminals won’t obey the laws so why have them,” freaked out when the Senate failed to pass gun reform that every sensible person in the Union agreed with, shook their heads when Nevada legislators voted down background checks, shrugged their shoulders when two Colorado legislators were recalled for having passed gun laws, and finally. . .
Listened to a whole bunch of experts and advocates spout off the same statistics that get spouted off every time something “unthinkable” like this happens.
Something “unthinkable.” Like a guy shooting a bunch of people in a movie theater. Or at a political rally. Or on a college campus. Totally, absolutely, un-frickin-thinkable.
This latest shooting at the Washington Navy Yard is just going to bring us more bullshit. “More people” calling for better background checks and mental health services. Better “tightening” of various security systems and protocols where someone “slipped through the cracks.” Maybe even another task force or blue ribbon committee to figure out what to do.
What to do, what to do.
What the heck should we do.
It’s just a freakin’ mystery, isn’t it? There are more than 30,000 gun deaths in the U.S. ever year. If that statistic applied to anything else — anything else — people would be losing their shit and demanding radical action. Immediate relief from the scourge. For god’s sake, 2,996 people died on September 11th, and 12 years later, we’ve decimated two countries and all voluntarily go through naked scanners at the airport. Three people die at a marathon, and we close down Boston. Ninety people die from West Nile virus, and we never go outside.
Right now, in a small section of New Orleans, there’s a microbe infecting the water supply. It normally lives in warm lakes and kills people by getting up their noses and into their brains. Clearly the residents of this area deserve to have safe, clean water. But since 1962, there’ve been 132 documented cases of Naegleria fowleri in the U.S. That’s fewer than 3 cases a year. You are 10,000 times more likely to be killed with a gun than have one of these things go up your nose. And I’ll guarantee you there’ll be a certain number of people who won’t go swimming in lakes anymore after they hear this.
Why? Apparently because we’re nuts. Irrational, illogical gun nuts. Happy to just keep our firearms and get worked up every few months when some wacko makes the national news for shooting more than one or two people. Happy to watch the faces of the victims go by and feel sad when we hear how nice they were and how they’ll be missed. Happy to get really angry and then just go back to our regular lives.
Why not? In between there’s always Duck Dynasty and American Idol.