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Archive for December 9th, 2015

The common denominator

December 09th, 2015 | Category: Life,Opinions

So, now we know that the killings in San Bernardino weren’t just our sadly typical mass-shooting, the killings were an act of terrorism. Since it was an act of terrorism, we are hearing calls, particularly from the right, and the far far right, to ban Muslims from America, stop immigration, shut down Mosques, the list goes on. These racist arguments are loud, highly visible, they dominate the news cycles. The right screams, “we have to protect America, keep the foreigners out!” While it’s absolutely true that we have to fight terrorism, the war on terror is very real and very serious, the fact remains that the “act of terror” in San Bernardino, at its core, isn’t any different than America’s previous six mass-shootings. There’s a common denominator among these horrible acts of violence, this common denominator is the real problem, the thing that should receive public outrage and media coverage. This common denominator is, legal access to military-grade guns and ammunition for anyone with the inclination to buy them. It’s easier to buy an assault-rifle in America than it is to buy, say, Sudafed (a key ingredient in cooking crystal meth).

The San Bernardino terrorists didn’t have to smuggle in the rifles and handguns they used to murder fourteen people. There was no chatter with Isis about arms delivery that anybody could have intercepted, no international plot to foil. None of that was a possibility. The killing of fourteen people was illegal, but the purchase of the guns used was not. The motivation behind the San Bernardino attack is really a non-issue if you consider the fact that the attack was made fairly easy to accomplish because the guns used were obtained perfectly legally. Assault-rifles, semi-automatic pistols, extended ammo clips, they’re all legal to purchase, in multiple ways. There are the myriad of gun stores where one can buy any number of guns with minimal background checks and minimal waiting periods. If you feel iffy about a background check, or you want your gun right now, you can go to popular weekend gun shows where gun enthusiasts buy, sell, and trade firearms of any kind with no background checks or waiting periods. It’s also totally legal to buy and sell guns online through, for example, Facebook or craigslist, anything from hunting rifles to AK-47s. You can even legally buy a gun right from your next-door neighbor, if they have one or ten and are aiming to sell. It’s so easy to buy guns of any kind, ammunition in any amount, legally.

Whether it’s a terrorist, someone who’s violently mentally ill, or a bullied high-school kid out for revenge, they all have one thing in common; quick, legal access to just about any type of gun and related gear under the sun. Unfortunately, people like Donald Trump are putting political rhetoric ahead of morality, and public safety. Political candidates know that one tried and true way to win an election is to present scared, disheartened voters with an enemy, then promise to protect them from said enemy. Blaming all our security issues on Muslims and immigrants is a political red herring, it’s an irresponsible, dangerous way to literally scare-up votes. It distracts people from the truly dangerous issue; broken, antiquated gun laws that basically roll-out the red carpet for anyone interested in putting a lot of bullets in a lot of people. We’ve had seven mass-shootings in five months, one of which was terror-related. Terrorists are not American’s biggest problem, not by a mile.

Politics isn’t broken, not really. We have power, we can demand common-sense gun laws, we can demand the reinstatement of the long lapsed assault weapons ban. We can let politicians know that if they don’t DO something to limit gun violence, they won’t BE politicians anymore come election time. We, as a nation, need to tell Donald Trump to fuck off. His hateful rhetoric goes against everything our Founding Fathers believed, and all the ideals on which our great nation was built.

President Obama isn’t “coming for your guns,” nobody wants to abolish the 2nd Amendment (Well, I want to, but that’s neither here nor there), but compromises have to be made. Otherwise, the parade of mass-shootings will continue, not because of international terrorist conspiracies, but because in America, it’s way too easy for the mentally ill and those filled with rage to obtain guns that are specifically designed to kill many people in very little time. Guns that no civilian should have at hand.

Until we recognize the true common denominator in all American mass-shootings, blood will be needlessly shed. It’s time to get angry at the real issue, and not politically manufactured shadows.