I’m feeling selfish today because I want to work on my own personal pet project of a novel instead of solving all the problems in the world I can’t stop thinking about even as I work my mindless job, even as I try to fall asleep, and I have become a pro-fessional at shutting down my mind to fall asleep. But I think it’s the right decision. It’s the only self-generated project I’ve got going, and it’s got no hope to solve the world’s problems, but all my solutions I keep obsessing over which seem so obvious to me at midnight, they are all responses, and responses cannot work because people don’t listen to them, because they will never matter as much as the opinion you’ve already settled on before you hear the rebuttals. I have a very intelligent friend who disagrees with me whole-heartedly about all the shootings and gun control and I know he’s smart enough to understand what I want to tell him, what I’ve already told him, but he still disagrees with me. On individual facts, we can agree, but the interpretation of them we cannot, and then I see him gravitate back to the easier to digest talking points in conservative memes that provide the familiar comfort of his previously established world views, and he’ll parrot these and say “hear hear” without vetting these sources, without demanding the facts I know him to otherwise require, and I don’t know why he can turn a blind eye to the authors of articles or the biased publications these articles show up in or even to facts, basic facts like what is more “inherently dangerous,” a gun or a book, a gun or an idea.
It’s guns, btw. I have tried to kill with my ideas before, even while in the same room with my intended victim. Have yet to succeeed. Haven’t tried to kill anyone with a book, though, so I guess the jury’s still out on that one for me.
He’s libertarian, which frees him from the constraints of the two major parties and their drawbacks and inconsistencies, much in the way that I only consider myself a democrat because the republicans are in power now and I don’t have the luxury of the allure of Bernie and democratic socialism. The libertarians are more than happy to quarrel with the left, however, even if they can conveniently set themselves aside from the politics of the right, of the people they helped vote into power. He posted a video today, my friend, that was very helpful in explaining the libertarian point of view on guns. The video’s author disinvited the radical left to coming up with solutions for the school shooting epidemic, because their solution is bigger government, more regulation. He takes on the favorite talking points of gun control advocates and dismantles them with quick rebuttals that can be boiled down to “I know the facts and the facts don’t support you.” He doesn’t claim to know the answer to school shootings, but he’s tired of getting blamed for them. In another video he says every gun owner would immediately give up their guns if they knew it would save even one child, but the violence is not the fault of the prevalence of guns and getting rid of guns would have no effect on these murders and murder rates.
According to other videos, he says this is the best answer to decreasing gun violence:
Assume the gun is loaded. Be mindful of the muzzle’s direction. Don’t put your finger on the trigger unless you intend to shoot. Be aware not only of your target but also what’s behind it. And another one not in the bullet points listed on-screen: prohibit minors from having access to your guns. That last one could’ve helped in Sante Fe, Texas, but it would’ve been no use in Parkland, and I think the shooters in both cases otherwise assumed the guns were loaded, that they were mindful of the direction they pointed the muzzle, that their finger was not accidentally pulling the trigger, that they knew their targets and the collateral damage possibly lurking behind.
I want everyone to watch these videos. I want them to be able to identify the gaps in logic. He says the Australia gun law argument makes no sense (no mass shootings since the restrictions enacted on semi-automatic rifles and shotguns in 1996, in response to the Port Arthur massacre [35 dead]) because there was a mass shooting in Australia in 2011 (Hectorville, 3 dead). He doesn’t mention the Monash University shooting in 2002 which killed two, or the two shootings in 2014 which killed five and three, respectively (or the one that occurred just a few days ago, May 11, 2018, in Osmington, six family members murdered and a suicide), but you get his point. Their gun laws did not stop these shootings. And what’s more, Australia’s population is barely a 13th of the United States, and since the US has a gun for every person, and Australians would have to gather five people to share even one gun, that would mean there should be approximately 65 times more mass shootings here, but there’s not! Which means actually we’re being much SAFER with our guns. (He doesn’t say 65 times, by the way, but he does bring up the population and gun disparity, and that’s the resulting math that’s implied by his logic.)
Except, by my figures, that’s four mass shootings in Australia in over twenty years, if we count a mass shooting as more than one death by gunshot. The US tends to categorize mass shootings as four or more deaths, however, because if we went with broader definition—say, four victims shot, not necessarily killed—there would statistically be a mass shooting somewhere in the country every single day, and that’s just too depressing to think about. So, going with the four or more killed definition, there have been 361 mass shootings in the US since 1996, which is actually more than the 65 times threshold of about 260 represented by Australia’s numbers (65 times the four occurrences of multiple victim homicides via firearm, IF we are counting all four multiple-victims occurrences and not just the single occurrence with four or more victims).
Oh, I’m sorry, did I say 1996? That’s actual 361 since 2006. And only up through December 31, 2017. So, not counting any data from 2018, or anything before December 31, 2005. (They only update these figures at the end of each calendar year, over at USA Today, because they’re a newspaper and they just don’t have the kind of budget to go real-time with it, you know?)
So, at least attempting to work with the same definitions, between 2006 and 2017, there was one mass shooting in Australia and 361 in the United States. Which is more than 65 times, because it’s 361 times, and 361 is bigger than 65. In fact it’s over five times bigger. If I want to take the comparison back to 1996, when the now famous anti-gun law was enacted in Australia, the comparison gets a little more difficult, because again there are just too many episodes of mass gun violence in the US to keep track of, but the Washington Post tries to do so by narrowing their definition of a mass shooting to exclude familial, single household executions—i.e. no private household-type mass murders, or gang-related mass murders, only the scarier public kind—and they come up with 152 of these public shootings of four or more murdered victims, as of today, May 22, 2018. Which would put the comparison at 152 to 0. Which is inifinity times more public mass shootings, because that Australian 2014 mass shooting of five victims was a single-family murder-suicide, so it wouldn’t be included in the Washington Post’s calculations.
And once again, infinity is more than 65, because it’s infinity.
The point being: according to the perspective of libertarians as represented in this video, and to my friend who said he’s been looking for a long time for this expression of his views and “couldn’t have said it better” himself, Australia’s gun restrictions did not solve mass shootings, that restricting guns is not the answer, and that people who suggest this restriction are not allowed to participate in coming up with the real solution, whatever that may turn out to be. That because we have as many guns as we do humans in this country, we are actually a lot safer from guns than Australians are, percentage-wise.
But that’s exactly the point, isn’t it. Even if the math would back up that claim (and, no, it doesn’t, see above), I don’t care about being safer percentage-wise, I want to be safer, period. The man in the video says guns don’t matter because murder rates overall are about the same. That we would know these things if we knew how to do a little research. Just an internet search away, he says. I may not have mastered the Google, but my research says in Australia the murder rate is about 1/100,000, and in the US it’s about 5/100,000, which looks remarkably similar to how five people in Australia would have to share one gun, but in the US all five get their own. Which isn’t directly correlating evidence, I know that, but you can’t say guns aren’t a factor if you’re using the factor of five times more guns per person to even out those murder rates.
More guns equals more deaths by guns. It could not be more plain to me, and yet I cannot convince even the smartest of my conservative friends otherwise.
And then you add in the second amendment debate and the whole goddamn thing goes off the rails. To have the audacity to claim we need the right to own guns to protect ourselves from government tyranny, while the current administration attacks right after right, freedom after freedom on the march towards fascism, and you who have tasked yourselves as the watchdogs of big government say nothing? Do nothing?
But these are all responses, and my responses will not sway any of those who’ve already made up their minds. Because it’s like Inception, I’ve realized. You can’t be seen as responsible for planting an idea, or the idea gets rejected. The mind has to come up with the idea on its own for it to take root and grow. So, if I want you think the way I think, to see what I see, I am far better off showing you how my mind works at its core, sans context, and letting you come to your own conclusions, instead of trying to correct the conclusions you’ve already come to.
I’ll just save my breath and get back to my novel. It’s not about guns, not even a little bit. I hope you will read it, when it’s finished. And then you can write one and I’ll read yours and maybe that will finally start to get us somewhere. In the meantime, school is out for the summer, which hopefully means I’ll get to hold off on my next gun rant until fall.