Another mass shooting. Another round of thoughts and prayers. Another worthless media blitz about the killer and his motives, his mental state, his arsenal and on and on. Just wait another few weeks and there will be another mass shooting, no need to dwell on Texas, we’ll have another soon enough. Mass shootings happen with such regularity that I feel no need to couch my prediction of another mass shooting with “probably” or “likely.” It will happen again.
We will have the same arguments over gun control. The responses of those that support murder will be the same. Laws will only hurt law-abiding citizens; we can’t legislate evil; a good guy with a gun and on and on. Regardless of the stupidity of these and many arguments, they will get trotted out. It amazes me that the only law that must be 100% effective is any type of gun law. Last I checked, it is illegal to steal, yet people still steal. Does this mean we shouldn’t have laws against stealing? Better yet, there are laws against drunk driving, yet people still do it. In fact in 2015, over ten thousand people died in alcohol-related car accidents. Should we do away with those laws too? Since DUI laws have become more prevalent, fatalities have gone down considerably. As my smart-ass kids like to say these days, magic!
Then there is the dog whistle (can we call it a dog whistle if EVERYBODY knows what its about?) from the supporters of murder, “What about Chicago?” As if by saying this, all argument ends. First off, Chicago’s gun laws aren’t as strict as some would like us to believe. Second and most importantly, the majority of guns used to commit crimes in Chicago, and Illinois for that matter, don’t come from Illinois, they come from Indiana. Of course these counter-arguments have become just another round of data to be ignored and dismissed. In both cases, the imaginary harsh gun laws of Chicago and the gun running republic of Indiana, the incredible human tendency to shove one’s head up one’s ass occurs. That tendency, is the backfire effect which pretty much neuters any and all logical arguments. So we can go around and around, study after study, and those people that believe murder is a fundamental right will go on believing it.
There is, however, one way to get at this, in the United States anyway. While logic and reason, human empathy and concern for the safety beyond one’s nose have no traction, there is one thing that always gets at the balls: money. It is pretty hard to sue gun manufacturers thanks to Congress, so it is time to think of other ways to get at the money. The most nefarious characters in all of this, the leash holders to the NRA pit bull, are the gun manufacturers. Every time there is a mass shooting in the United States, an executive at a gun company gets a bonus. With each tragedy, sales go up, stocks go up, the gun sellers get richer. So how to get at them? Stop buying guns seems to make sense, except those of us who oppose guns already aren’t buying guns in the first place. It turns out though, I’m buying gun stock which isn’t really much better. It takes some digging, and even then it is mysterious in a lot of ways, but many of the funds that 401Ks invest include in their portfolio stock in gun companies. Finding out where your money is going, and yes it is YOUR money, is a pain in the ass. Investment firms don’t like transparency. They’d much rather operate in the dark, like mold. Yes, you or me taking our $1,000 out of the Black Rocket Fund won’t cause much of a ripple, but if 100 of us do it, or a 1,000 things might start to change.
Even though the gun manufacturers are a protected class, there are still avenues to explore in terms of litigation. I’ll admit I’m no lawyer, but there has to be a creative one out there who can figure out a way to bring suit on behalf of the City of Chicago against the State of Indiana, just to get things started. It seems pretty obvious that the lax laws of Indiana allow for gun traffic to thrive into Chicago. In effect, the laws of Indiana are doing real harm to the city of Chicago, in lives lost and resources used to fight crimes committed with the easily obtained guns.
If I get in an accident after a night of drinking, according to Illinois law, and many other states, I’m not the only one liable for damages to any victims. Every establishment I visited that evening is liable as well, even if I had one drink at a bar at 8 PM, drank at 6 other places and then got in my car, all 7 of the taverns can be sued. Can’t the same type of law be established for the use of guns be used? Maybe it needs to be a “degrees of separation” kind of thing. The closer the seller is to the crime, the greater the penalty, but at no point is the point of origin merchant absolved. Furthermore, if the guns that are sold repeatedly seem to be coming from the same vendor, then that vendor sees ever increasing penalties, to the logical end of losing the right to sell weapons.
Of course none of this, or anything really, will happen. Our political leaders either lack the will or desire to effect any real change on this epidemic of violence. Children will continue to be slaughtered in churches, schools and right here on the streets of Chicago. The commerce of guns will go unabated, with people building up personal arsenals that have no real function other than to make killing other people easier. At some point a man will decide it’s time to put that into practice. Where? When? Who knows, but it will happen and all of our previous thoughts and prayers will be proven worthless just like the time before and the time before that and…