CW: Discussion of gun violence
Another mass shooting. I am never going to type those words again. I refuse.
In Orlando, Florida early Sunday morning a man entered a nightclub and ended forty-nine human lives, wounded fifty-three more, shattered hundreds, and brought terror and devastation to thousands. I have been told numbers only numb the impact. So let’s put this in human terms.
You probably have a loved one. There is someone in your life who you love. Think of this person. Imagine this person has had a long week at work. They are tired and maybe stressed out and they just want to relax. But, of course, their friends want them to go out, and it’s pride month, and they are proud. They love your loved one like you do and want to spend time with them. And your loved one wants to dance and maybe drink and maybe meet new people and maybe live their life and maybe dance. So they go out to a club. Maybe they are having the best time of their lives. Maybe they think it’s really lame and they want to go home. Maybe they are trying out their newest stupid dance moves.
Then a staccato of light and death. Screaming. A wave of terror. Bodies pushing, falling, bullets tearing through flesh. And your loved one dies in fear.
Tell me, please, why we have not banned assault weapons in the United States.
Here are the arguments I’ve heard:
1.) “Banning assault weapons is essentially banning all guns.”
I once wrote “Guns only kill people”. And, of course, I was called to task on this. (Laura, what about hunting and like recreation?) Let me amend my statement. The sole purpose of guns is to kill people. They may be used for other things, but their purpose is to kill. A gun spits out lead at a high velocity, and a semi-automatic rifle such as the one used in Orlando, the same kind used in Newton, the same kind used in Aurora, spits out lead in very quick repetition. This means a person, almost any person, can kill large numbers of people in a very short amount of time. This type of gun is not needed for “defense” or for hunting.
2.) “Even without guns (semi-automatic or otherwise) people would kill each other.”
Counter-argument: No shit. I’m not an idiot. I’m not saying banning civilians from having guns would stop people from being atrocious to each other. It wouldn’t stop stupidity (as witnessed by said argument). However, to my knowledge there is no wealthy predominantly white, straight, male lobbyist group that is supporting the use of boxcutters or pressure cookers or swords in Congress. There is a lobbyist group comprised primarily of white, straight, wealthy men who fight for “gun rights” and the “rights of the second amendment”. Guns have for centuries been the tools of the oppressors (see conquistadors, see white slave owners, see Battle of Wounded Knee, see history of the United States). To quote the NRA website, guns are used “to liberate and enslave”. Fun fact slavery is illegal. Another fun fact slavery is immoral. Another fun fact WHAT THE FUCK.
3.) “Banning guns would mean only criminals have guns. We need to protect ourselves.”
Counter-argument: Yes, because we don’t have a problem now with police officers using their weapons against civilians, especially not black civilians, especially not black children… Oh wait.
Second counter-argument: Guns do not protect people. Shields protect people. Walls protect people. The fallen bodies of other victims protect people. Banning assault rifles protects people. See Australia.
4.) “But, Laura, you aren’t even listening to all my well-thought out blah blah blah”
Counter-argument: Yes, you’re right. Just like I’m done with rape apologists, so too am I done with gun apologists. There are more important things at stake here. We must stop mass shootings from ever happening again.
The revolution starts now. We who are women, people of color, queer, gender-nonconforming, gay, bisexual, pansexual, trans, Muslim, immigrants, Latina/o, black, Asian American, Native American, we who otherwise don’t fit into the “American” standard of the straight, cis-, wealthy, white box, we outnumber our oppressors. Our new world will be better for everyone, the straight wealthy white men included.
Guns are the weapons of the oppressor. We do not need them. What weapons do we have? Words. Ideas. Votes. Protests. Petitions.
Drop out. Reach out. Turn on. Love. Love. Love.
Viva la revolution. Ban assault weapons. Live, LAF, Love.