When I was a new mom nursing an infant during the wee hours of the morning, my mind would often drift into the unknown future, conjuring situations and hypothetical conversations where I had a starring role as The Wisest And Most Benevolent Mother In The World. You know how you do – imagining yourself teaching your preschooler how to write the alphabet, or imparting sage advice during the middle school years when everything is awful, or providing a thoughtful and accurate-yet-humorous-at-times sex education to your mortified teenager.
Basically, you see Future You as the coolest parent in your kid’s friend group. You’re the one they will all turn to in times of trouble, and you’re the one person on earth who will have all the answers to life’s greatest mysteries at the drop of a hat or a tug of the sleeve.
I envisioned all sorts of brilliant conversations I might one day have with my children. I never – not once – imaged having to explain the reality of mass shootings.
As often as they happen in America, you’d think that by now, I’d know what to say.
The recent tragedy in Las Vegas really hit home because I lived there for a couple of years, once upon a time. The long-ago closed Sin City Diner on Sahara Avenue is where I met the man I would one day marry. He served me pancakes and I tipped him exceptionally well.
Almost 20 years later, my chest still floods with warmth whenever I recall the memories of a city whose lights always reminded me of Christmastime, glimmering in the distance as I stood on my balcony in silence, miles away from the bustling noise of the Las Vegas Strip.
When the news broke about a mass shooting in the place I once called home, my first thought was for the people I knew a lifetime ago, wondering if they were all safe. Wondering about their families and friends. Wondering why this happened, and how.
As the story developed and the casualties only continued to grow, my sadness turned to anger and disgust. Our legislative branch is currently deciding if America’s guns should have silencers.
Because that will make things better.
If there’s anything I’ve learned from Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Newtown, Charleston, Roseburg, San Bernardino, Orlando, Dallas, Las Vegas, [insert next location here, followed by the next, and the next], it’s that people are fucking unpredictable. One day they’re eating a burrito just as happy as you please, and the next day… they snap. Nobody ever sees it coming. All the background checks in the world cannot predict the future.
You know what can?
In the interest of not taking away American rights – the right to live being the most important of all – I have a solution. Let’s toss out the suggestion of gun control completely. I’m serious. I know… it sounds absolutely ludicrous and I’m inclined to agree with you, but hear me out.
The moment anyone so much as whispers the words, “gun control,” NRA fanatics across the country lose their collective shit like a horde of synchronized swimmers who ate too much Taco Bell the night before.
(You’re welcome for that visual, by the way.)
“Gun control” incites a visceral reaction in those who can’t stand the idea of the government telling them what they can and cannot do, and what they can and cannot own. Rights is rights, y’all, and Americans have rights… I get it. I find it rather telling that access to guns is every citizen’s Second Amendment right, while access to healthcare is not an any-amendment right, but I digress.
We need to change the terminology from “gun control” to “mass murder control” because if my calculations are correct, mass murder control is something just about everyone can agree on. Mass murders are bad, right? We need fewer of them, yes?
Okay, then. We’re on the same page. Good. Can we finally start doing something about it? Like maybe… oh, I don’t know, banning shooty things that can take down more than five hundred people in a matter of minutes?
While shotguns and handguns can certainly have their place (I own a shotgun that offers protection from intruders and questionable coyotes), nobody needs an assault rifle for a goddamned thing, nor do they need a legal attachment that can turn a semi-automatic weapon into something that allows a person to fire nine rounds per second.
Here’s a fun fact: the legal bump stock that was used in Las Vegas could have been made illegal in 2013 after Sandy Hook, but the proposed bill lost in a 60-40 Senate vote. That’s something to think about the next time your kids come home and tell you about the “active shooter drill” they had at school today.
Unfortunately, the “swamp” in Washington has been replaced with The Bog Of Eternal Stench but 2018 is fast approaching and with it, every seat in the House of Representatives is up for election. Change always has to start somewhere.
If it doesn’t, will the last person still applying an 18th-century “right” to 21st-century weapons of mass murder please turn off the lights after the rest of us have died?