If you want proof that opponents of gun control live in an ideological bubble, take a look at Exhibit A:
Only people who limit their conversations to like-minded people would think this meme is clever, because it only takes a half-second of critical thought to trace the logic of this argument. If guns are like cars, then here’s what that would mean:
People could only use guns if (1) they were of a certain age, (2) passed a written exam to get a gun-learners permit, (3) spent several hundred hours on the range with a licensed gun owner, (4) and had to pass another written exam and (5) a gun-use demonstration with an official county representative before being granted a gun license.
Gun licenses would need to be renewed every few years.
The state would set limits on firing rates and police would hide at gun ranges and fine those who fired too quickly or who used their gun carelessly.
Judges would be able to revoke the gun licenses of those deemed unfit to use them.
Guns would be subject to federal safety regulations.
Guns would be subject to annual county excise taxes to cover the cost of licensing them.
Gun owners would be required to pay insurance on their weapons in the unlikely event of property damage, injury, or even death because of a firearm.
Guns could not be fired without being unlocked by their owners.
Dang! Not even the #marchforourlives folks are calling for such strict regulations. I applaud the US Concealed Carry Association for taking such a firm stance on common sense gun control legislation. If only every gun ownership group were as progressive!
Take a look at this cartoon! We are pretty much the only country in the world seriously talking about turning educators into a freak’n swat team. What the hell, America? What. The. Hell?
Check out the steely-eyed gaze of the teacher, presumably staring down the assailant just off frame. That is utter bullshit. It says a lot about the ignorance (or malevolence) of the cartoonist. At least the person posting this acknowledges that it is not enough to arm teachers. They must be trained. But in order for that training to be effective, they would need to train the way military and police do. It is not enough to spend a few hours at the range. When the bullets start firing, the reptilian brain takes over. One becomes all fear and adrenaline. Police and soldiers drill the same procedures over and over again because they know that that is what is essential to survive in a crisis situation. During a firefight, when life and death are on the line, pulling the trigger needs to become a reflex. You need to bypass the brain altogether. A lot of people seem to have bypassed the brain permanently.
Let me just remind everyone again of how ridiculous this is.
I am not sure what can be done about it, though. I wish I knew. After Sandy Hook, I thought we had a chance to pass the kinds of gun laws that work in every other country. I thought maybe the gruesome mental images of children bleeding out, calling for their mommies, would galvanize some people into changing their minds.
If anything, conservatives just got more radicalized. At a state, local, and national level, laws have been passed that make it easier for people to purchase and carry weapons. The reasoning is that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. When is that going to start working, exactly?
Right now I am just angry. Cynical and angry. This is not a good place to be long term. But it is where I am right now. How do you have a discussion with someone who values their ideology over evidence? I don’t know. I wish I knew the words to say, but at the moment, all I can do is scream.
Far be it from me not to point out when “my people” do or say something stupid or evil. But just as irritating are liberals who would rather make fun of conservative Christians than try to understand them.
In the wake of the Texas mass shooting, RawStory posted an article with the subtle, and not-at-all mocking title, “Conservative writer: God was ‘answering prayers’ of Texas victims by letting them get shot.” Yes, “Step right up folks! And witness another ridiculous Christian saying something ridiculous!”
I find myself remarkably un-worked-up about the latest mass shooting at a community college in Oregon. It is not that I do not care. It is not that I do not grieve. I do care, and I do grieve! I am just not sure how to turn my grief into outrage. Outrage about this sort of thing used to come naturally for me. Now I hear a news report, see the pictures of grieving students and families, sigh, and curse. I just have no idea what to do or if anything can be done, really.
A few weeks ago, I was prepping for a radio interview about gun control by reading some old blog articles I had written for the Huffington Post. As I was scrolling down the page, I noticed the following comment:
Dunn does not speak for any Orthodox church, nor any lay Orthodox group. The disclaimer at the end of the article does not dispel the impression, given by the title,that he does so.
As a Greek Orthodox, I find this discrepancy offensive. The Orthodox religion is little known and understood by majority of Americans. I’m not sure what (false) legitimacy Dunn hopes to claim.
Dunn might rather write his column, make his point and, then, mention his religion while emphasizing that he is writing as individual and that his views may conflict with Orthodox church teaching. It would be far more intellectually honest.
Preface: I wrote this post in July, but I never published it. I was worried what black readers would think about me, that liberal readers would think I did not share their disgust, that conservative readers would say things that would evoke visceral reactions from me, and that critics would have ample ammunition for future screeds. I meant to publish this post eventually, but negligence gave the victory to cowardice.
I choose not to let that victory stand. Such a bald confession as I am about to make feels like an act of self-sacrifice, but it is one I should have made months ago. When one has failed the test of martyrdom, St. Cyprian says the best remedy is to go back into the arena. It is never too late. Truth does not care about news cycles.
There is only one salvation for you: take yourself up, and make yourself responsible for all the sins of men. For indeed it is so, my friend, and the moment you make yourself sincerely responsible for everything and everyone, you will see at once that it is really so, that it is you who are guilty on behalf of all and for all. Whereas by shifting your own laziness and powerlessness onto others, you will end by sharing in Satan’s pride and murmuring against God.
– Fr. Zossima in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov
It is too easy for me to be incensed about the tragic death of Trayvon Martin. It is not that I do not have a lot to be incensed about. I am angry. I am angry at the jury that let Zimmerman go free. I am angry at the Florida law for appealing to the Schwarzeneggeresque fantasies of vigilantes, encouraging them to ignore the advice of 911 operators, provoke an attack, and then shoot the attacker. But anger demands an appropriate response. How should I respond? I am tempted to say something on Facebook. Maybe I will post a picture of me in a hoodie, thereby assuring myself that I stand against the institutional racism of our society. Continue reading “I Shot Trayvon Martin”