Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Rational Discourse

The gun control debate will flare up again, as it does so regularly now. Whenever three or more are gathered in its name. National Rifle Association board member Charles Cotton suggested that the slain members of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church would be alive today if not for the actions, or inaction, of one of the victims. Charles Pinckney was a state legislator who voted against carrying concealed weapons, and in Mister Cotton's reasoned argument: " ... he voted against concealed-carry. Eight of his church members who might be alive if he had expressly allowed members to carry handguns in church are dead. Innocent people died because of his position on a political issue." Country music star Toby Keith made a similar comment, suggesting that if an armed police officer had been praying at the church, "maybe seven or eight of those nine people would still be alive." It wasn't clear if Mister Kieth was also implying that our police officers needed to spend a little more time in church, but that may only be subtext. The real question seems to be how to fight fire. The solution for some, it would seem, is not less guns but more.
This is not the first time that this line of reasoning has been trotted out. Arming theater going-patrons was the solution to the Aurora killings. There are school districts across the country are considering having their teachers carry guns so that they can deter any further killing of innocent school children. Arming those school children would seem to be the next most logical step.
And this is where I close my eyes and try to imagine a happy place, where this isn't a conversation that takes place outside of a satirist's convention. Tragedy plus time equals comedy. Tragedy plus firearms equals a really bad joke. In the meantime, the discussion will skitter off to important ancillary arguments about mental health and Confederate flags. We're going to have to stir the pot until it becomes the same gray paste we had the week before last. Never mind the fact that we are currently having all kinds of difficulty keeping our trained law enforcement officers from shooting the wrong people at the wrong times, but we should probably prepare ourselves for the arguments and riots that will ensue once everyone who needs a gun has one. The debate is over. The absurdity begins now.

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