I hate meetings. It’s not news. Everyone I know knows that.
A meeting is typically an opportunity to waste my time. We’ll talk about nothing. We’ll leave with nothing. There will be no action steps.
But we’ll identify problems and “dialogue” about them.
And that is where my brain went directly following the horrific shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
Here we go, again. We, as a country, are gonna have another meeting. Quite frankly, we’ve been in the same meeting since Columbine.
We’ll “dialogue” about gun control and mental health and about the glorification of the shooter. We’ll ask things like, “How can this happen?” “Where have we gone wrong?” “What can we do to stop this?”
The right will yell at the left for trying to “take away their guns.” The left will yell at the right for “being crazed gun lovers.”
The 2nd Amendment will be bandied about as though we’re all Constitutional Law professors. We’ll regurgitate the same arguments.
So, I say this with the most love I can muster: fuck your dialogue and fuck your political meeting.
There comes a moment when we have to move from problem identification to problem solution.
In 1999, after Columbine, we identified problems – video games, violence in movies, bullying, and accessibility to guns.
In 2007, after Virginia Tech, we identified problems – a history of unanswered disciplinary issues, mental illness, and accessibility to guns.
In 2009, after Fort Hood, we identified problems – mental illness, “terrorist sympathies,” and accessibility to guns.
Early this year, after Aurora, CO, we identified problems – violence in movies, mental illness, and accessibility to guns.
And now, after Newtown, CT, we are identifying problems – autism and accessibility to guns.
This is a short list. Here’s a timeline of mass shootings in the United States since Columbine.
Each time, we identified the problems. And each time, accessibility to guns is acknowledged.
***Disclaimer: I realize this is a simplistic argument. I know I’m leaving out legitimate arguments about mental health. I don’t care. I’m done “talking” – I want legitimate solutions.***
Now, let’s shift attention to Richard Reid. Remember that guy? He showed up on a plane in 2001 with a bomb in his shoe. Know what happened? You do if you’ve been to an airport since then. We take off our shoes, and they’re scanned. It’s a pain in the ass; I grumble every single time. But here’s where it’s ok for me…we identified a problem – shoes can now be made into bombs – and then we solved it – OK, everybody, take off your shoes.
Let’s call this shoe control.
Where was the outrage of the footwear lobbyists? You can’t control my shoes! You’ll have to pry my chucks out of my cold, dead hands!
Oh…there was no outrage: A) Because shoe lobbyists don’t have NRA money; and B) Because if a shoe can be made into a bomb, why not just make everybody take off their shoes?!?
So, I ask you, “Why? Why the hell are we still having this same ‘meeting’?”
Accessibility to guns is a problem – it’s been identified each and every time a mass shooting takes place. When Liviu Librescu was shot, we lamented the gun use. When Jessica Ghawi was shot, we bemoaned the gun use. When Olivia Engel was shot, we protested the gun use.
And yet, we can’t get everyone to just take off their shoes.
If accessibility to guns is the problem, then let’s make them less accessible. I’m not going to come pry it out of your cold, dead hands – that’s silly. You’re not gonna shoot me if you’re dead and it’s just in your hand. I want them while you’re still alive. I want them when you could snap. You know, after legally buying one, and spending time at the shooting range, then realizing you’ve got nothing left to live for, so why not take a few people out with you – that’s when I want your gun.
The meeting is wrapping up, and I’ll end it the way I end every meeting I run…with the following question: “What is the action step?”
Seems to me it’s to get everyone to take off their shoes, but I’m not a lawmaker. Hell, I’m not even a gun owner.
So, gun peeps – and you know who you are – stop telling me you have a 2nd Amendment right. No. Seriously. I get it. Help us fix this problem, you law abiding gun collector/enthusiast/hunter.
Stop the “meeting.” The “dialogue” is over. Take off your shoes.