Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Enough is Enough Already!

The worst mass shooting in American history has occurred just a few days ago on June 12, 2016 in Orlando, Florida.  It seems that mass shootings have become a daily occurrence in recent years--in the USA at least.  But the rest of the industrialized world doesn't really seem to have this kind of problem.  Why is that?  Well, there's always....


America is the land of 300 million guns, and combined with a culture that is crazier and more violent than most other "developed" countries, and much more extreme inequality, it is a very lethal combination indeed.  Of course, the biggest elephant in the room is the fact that at least 96% of mass shooters are MEN.  Thanks to the patriarchy and the sort of "toxic masculinity" that it creates, combined with the above factors, too many men end up resorting to violence.  Like the Iron Maiden song says, "a briefcase, a lunch, and a man on the edge".  With a gun. I mean, what could possibly go wrong, right?

There should be no doubt at this point that something needs to be done   However, we do not believe that banning all guns for everyone, or adopting British or European-style gun laws, is the solution, as the genie is already out of the bottle, and there is also that whole Constitution thingy as well.  Thus, the TSAP recommends that the following measures be taken:

  1. Bring back an improved 1994 assault-weapons ban yesterday, this time with more teeth.  Include all magazines with more than ten rounds in the ban as well.
  2. Remove the 20-year ban on gun violence research, yesterday. 
  3. End the gun-show loophole and implement universal background checks, yesterday.
  4. Put a significant excise tax on all bullets/ammo, like Chris Rock recommended. (Seriously)
  5. Treat ammo sales the same as gun sales.
  6. Pass a "one gun a month" law at the federal level.
  7. Require reporting of lost or stolen guns.
  8. Regulate firearms like other consumer products in terms of health and safety standards--currently such standards are nonexistent.
  9. Improve enforcement of existing gun laws, which tend not to be enforced very well these days, and improve state reporting of prohibited persons to NICS.  Also, prohibit anyone on the terrorism watch list from buying any guns, period. (Believe it or not, the Orlando shooter was on the terror watch list and was still able to get a gun)
  10. And last but not least, improve our woefully-inadequate mental healthcare system.
Of course, to truly solve our gun violence problem would require a fundamental overhaul and transformation of our society, which the TSAP clearly supports.  We need to go from being what Riane Eisler calls a "dominator" society to more of a "partnership" society, as the latter kind is far less violent overall.  But in the meantime, the aforementioned recommendations would go a long way towards taking the dangerous edge off of the problem.

And for those who blame the Orlando shooting on Muslims in general, while it is true that the shooter was motivated in part by radical Islam, we should remember most Muslims are not radicals and don't commit mass shootings or other acts of terrorism, and most mass shooters in the USA have been decidedly non-Muslim, typically either Christian or no known religious affiliation.  And while radical Islamic terrorism is indeed a major global problem, one should note the difference between Islam and other patriarchal religions is really more one of degree rather than kind.  It's really the patriarchal element that's the problem.

In this particular shooting, a deadly combination of toxic masculinity, homophobia, extreme religious zealotry, and readily-available assault weapons led to the deaths of over 50 innocent people.  If that's not the all-time KING of wake-up calls, I honestly don't know what is.

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