Guest Post: What’s Your Number?

by Sarah

One of the great things about having kids is that they introduce you to things that didn’t exist when you were a kid.  Things like Horrible Histories – a wonderful TV and book series all about the nasty bits of history, the stuff they don’t teach you in school.  Did you know that one of the Pilgrims brought over several pairs of shoes but nobody thought to bring seeds or livestock?  Did you know that in Tudor England, they thought eating fresh fruits and vegetables could give you the plague?  Did you know that the Aztecs performed human sacrifice at a rate of 50,000 a year?  They thought their gods demanded it; and so they would sacrifice six people an hour, or one person every ten minutes!  I mean, of all the ludicrous beliefs!  What sort of god wants a human sacrifice?

Did you know that in the US, more than 30,000 people are killed by firearms each year?

Americans worship guns.  The NRA are the High Priests, demanding more and more frequent sacrifices, all to appease the All-Mighty Worship of the 2nd Amendment.  And you – you average Americans – are the fodder, the possible-human-sacrifice, whose life might be demanded to satisfy this blood-thirsty deity.

What’s your number?

In 2012, two weeks before Christmas, 20 six and seven year olds were shot dead.  I cried then.  My daughter was that age and I thanked God that I lived in a country with a common-sense approach to gun control.  I was certain, then, that something would be done.  Surely America wouldn’t be okay with 20 innocent first graders dying!

Instead, gun sales increased.  Mass shootings did too.  Last year there was a mass shooting every single day.

What’s your number?

A few days ago, 49 men and women were killed while enjoying a night out at a nightclub.  And the reaction is so predictable:  We have to do something!  What can we do?  But no, we can’t politicize this.  We can’t talk about gun control.  Then you move on, and the victims are forgotten – or, if they’re remembered, it’s with a quiet shake of the head and a forlorn, What a tragedy.

What’s your number?

When 91 Americans die each and every day because of gun violence, that’s not a tragedy.  That’s something you allow to happen through your own inaction.  You allow it to happen because you are too lazy, or too scared, or too intimidated by the NRA and groups like it.  Groups which are in the pocket of the gun manufacturers.  Groups which exist solely to promote the worship a false idol, the almighty gun.

So what’s your number?

I’m tired of the hand-wringing.  I’m tired of the pretense.  I’m tired of the same old responses, tragedy after tragedy, week after week.

There has to be a number.  There has to be a number at which Americans sit up and think, No.  This is enough.  Our god is too blood-thirsty.

Tell me what that number is.  Tell me, so that next week, when someone opens fire at a mall or at an amusement park, I can add it to the tally: We are 20 people closer to reaching that number where something is going to be done.

And don’t give me your tired old excuses.  “Oh, but you don’t understand, American culture is just different!”  American and Australian culture are very similar; their rank on the Hofstede charts is almost identical.  Australians love their guns too; I have many friends who legally own and operate guns in Australia, and I support their rights to do so.  And they think you guys are all crazy.  “But the Second Amendment!”  We accept limitations on every other form of freedom.  There are limits to freedom of speech, limits to freedom of worship, limits to freedom of assembly.  There can also be limits placed on the second amendment.  “But planes and guns and knives kill people too!”  But their primary purpose isn’t to kill.  What else can you do with assault rifle?  You can’t use it to hunt.  “But they’d just find some other way to kill!  They’d use bombs instead of guns!”  The Boston Bombers killed 3 people with a bomb.  Australia outlawed certain types of guns in 1996 and there hasn’t been a mass shooting here since.  Guns kill more efficiently and more effectively than almost anything else.  After 9/11 we banned box cutters; we refuse to do anything to address gun violence, although it is the equivalent of one 9/11 every 22 days.

Or if there is no number, be honest about that too:  If you don’t care that this blood-thirsty false idol of yours demands more and more lives, if that’s an acceptable price to pay so that you can sleep with a military-grade weapon under your pillow, say so.

But stop pretending.  Stop pretending that loving more, or being more kind, or accepting more, is the answer.  Stop pretending that there is no answer.  Stop pretending this is about mental health, or angry young men, or video games.

Stop pretending you give a sh**.

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12 Responses

  1. Jks says:

    Sure, I’ll give you a number. 20 million. The number that Stalin’s government killed.
    Personally, I can handle some Gun restrictions. However, I understand the second amendment people. If you need a number of what your own government can do to you, 20 million is a pretty scary number.

    • Quimby says:

      So you’re saying that guns would’ve stopped Stalin? That shows an appalling lack of historical knowledge. Next up: The Holocaust could’ve been stopped with guns too! But you just go ahead and worship your idol.

      Here’s a big ol’ hint for you: That evil, scary government also has tanks and planes and nuclear weapons. If they really wanted to be as bad as you pro-gun people paint them, even your big assault weapons wouldn’t stop them.

  2. Libby says:

    This. Exactly. If your government wants you dead, it was lots of ways to do it that you can’t match. Any time there’s a standoff between the Feds and some group of crazies? It’s because the Feds DON’T want to kill everyone involved.

    I am sick of the lying, twisted bastards who tell Americans that we aren’t safe without a gun in our homes, of their bought cronies in Congress who protect them, and the us vs. them mentality that tells us some group of human beings is inherently more dangerous than another group of human beings. I’m also sick of the fake Mormons who worship the Second Amendment instead of God the Father, who think absolution comes from our constitution instead of through a kind, forgiving, all-bearing Jesus.

    By the way? The Russian peasants were armed.

  3. Amy says:

    This. This. This.

    Per Jks’s comment, Russia was not a democracy where the government had suddenly gone amok. It was a country dealing with extreme political upheaval. Trying to compare sensible gun control in the US to a totalitarian government in Russia isn’t doing your argument any favours.

  4. Jks says:

    Since I am willing to have stricter gun laws, you can’t really paint me as the second amendment worshiper. I am simply trying to help you understand the other side. I think both sides should be able to understand each other.
    It is a historical fact that the Nazis used gun registers and gun laws selectively in order to intentionally disarm Jews. The fact that the Nazis came into power because of popularity does not make people in a democracy feel safer. Popular governments can very quickly become evil.
    When Second Amendment worshipers, as you think of them, discuss this, they can’t understand how gun control Advocates can be so stupid. You however can’t understand why the other side is so heartless, and mindless I guess, according to this post.
    Is it really so hard to see the other side?

    • Libby says:

      Kristallnacht was not going to be prevented by a few responsible Jewish gun owners. Russian peasants hunted for food. (Have you not read your Tolstoy–or, more pointedly, your Chekhov?)

  5. Ziff says:

    Powerful post, Quimby.

  6. CJ says:

    Quincy, the Supreme Court has ruled that the badge carrying man with a gun ha no obligation to protect you from any harm. He or she only shows up for the aftermath.

  7. Megan says:

    Someone’s right to own a gun does not outweigh someone else’s right to live. Your right to own an assault weapon does not outweigh the right of 49 people in Orlando to live. Life outweighs gun ownership every.single.time.

    Children die because a man with a legally obtained gun entered a school and shot them, and gun owners care more about their guns then they do those children. The numbers of mass shootings rise one year and then the next and then the next and gun owners care more about their guns then they do the lives of the people killed. And when I say “gun owners” I mean people who buy the crap the NRA is slinging, that guns will protect you, that guns are a God-given right and you should be able to own any kind of gun you want. With hardly any hassle and the bare minimum of restrictions.

    Did you know that you can’t take a gun onto a military base? And did you know that the only people with guns on a stateside military base are the MPs? Did you know that it is harder for an on-base soldier to get a gun from the armory then it is to leave the base and buy one at the Wal-Mart down the street? This is because the military recognizes that guns are dangerous and that the harder it is to get one, the safer people are. And this is the military. The same one that fights wars. With guns.

    So don’t tell me that this is about personal protection. Or hunting. Or skeet shooting. This is about your desire to own whatever gun you want. And a person’s right to live outweighs your right to own a gun. Stop deluding yourself and stop lying to us. Because your hypocrisy is already wearing at the seams.

    Oh, and let’s do a little mental exercise, shall we? So if the answer to mass shootings is to have law-abiding, gun-toting bystanders, then let’s take this to the logical conclusion. The only way to effectively prevent every mass-shooting is if a majority (or significant minority) of people carried guns. Everywhere. At all times. Frankly, to use a sketchy historical example like the ones used above (seriously? gun rights would have stopped Stalin? ya’ll don’t know a thing about history) that would make modern America resemble something very much like the Old West. And, wow, that’s not a society I really want to live in.

    Life isn’t cheap. So stop acting like it is. Because your right to own a gun is not more important than my right to live.

    • Megan says:

      I would say excuse my hyperbole. But I think it’s justified. I am beyond tired of people saying that the answer to gun violence is more guns. Because it’s a dangerously flawed argument and it is obviously and apparently false. The logic doesn’t hold. And the people who expound it are more concerned about their right to own a gun then they are in protecting human lives. Or, as in the case of the NRA, they are more interested in profiting from gun sales then they are in actually protecting human life. And it’s atrocious.

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