Flags are at half-mast on Capitol Hill, just a few miles away, while Secretary Chuck Hagel laid a wreath at the Navy Yard, this scene of America's latest mass murder... Meanwhile the Senate observed a moment of silence in honor of the victims of this latest tragedy in America while vigils have broken out near the scene...
So said the morning newscaster on CNN on September 17, 2013, the day after yet another disturbed American with a gun entered a workplace and slaughtered innocents. And all I could think was, spare me. Yes, spare me.
Spare me your moment of silence, Senate. You've been silent on gun control far too long. Spare me your sentiments, Congress, as so many of you sit in the back pocket of the most powerful lobby group in Washington, D.C., Wayne LaPierre and his conglomerate of billionaires, gun manufacturers, bullet makers and purveyors of death. You, the Senate, quote an "abundance of caution" and go on lockdown, in other words, cower in the Capitol under guard protecting yourself from the very weapons you refuse to legislate.
And America, spare me your questions, your outrage, your uproar. As a talk show host, I've heard it ALL when it comes to gun control, and trust me, it's all nonsense. For instance, one gun advocate on my air yesterday nearly lost his mind when I simply asked him if he wasn't for gun control, does that mean he's for guns being out of control, since that's the opposite of that statement. He called me un-American and hung up.
This story has bumped Syria from the headlines. Oh, yeah, Syria, almost another war in the Middle East and lots of chemicals weapons sitting in a war zone. Chemical weapons, WMDs, they break the code.
Spare me. No they don't. Because while Assad likely gassed 1,100 people, in America our leaders sit by and do nothing while 33,000 or so Americans are killed by the real WMDs, the Weapons of Most Destruction, legal guns. And they are WMDs make no mistake, Weapons of Most Destruction. Guns kill far more people around the world than any chemical or biological weapons and more Americans have died in one year of gun related deaths than of terrorism, ever. If any radical faction killed as many Americans as Americans with guns we'd have world war and internment camps.
Because the sad fact is that nothing, or little, will be done. The memorials will clear, the funerals will happen, the media will move on, the Senate silence will turn deafening when it comes to action on this particular issue and we will go back to waiting for the next mass murder, which will sadly, surely will come.
In 1996 a tragedy happened in Australia. That's when the Port Arthur Massacre occurred and 35 people were killed by a man with two military-style weapons. The Australians ended up making it nearly impossible to own most types of firearms with strict registration and tracking provisions as well as a government buyback program. The results? Gun suicides are down, gun violence overall.
They did something. It wasn't impossible. It happened.
In America, we have 435 voting members of Congress, 100 Senators, one president, nine Supreme Court Justices and 50 governors: that's 595 people. I've played rooms bigger. Right now, in this country, under 600 people could meet, agree on real legislation, or even a repeal of the 2nd and then a drafting of a NEW amendment that makes more sense (Jefferson felt this would be the norm, to amend the document quite a bit) and begin the journey down a new path for the country. But everyone acts like it's impossible.
I'm an American. That patriotism, that sense of nation, is NOT defined by owning a gun. Period. And all of you that hold the 2nd sacred, where were you when our rights to privacy, to unreasonable searches and seizures (the 4th) were being disregarded by the Patriot Act or the NSA?
And to gun nuts who say what we need is more people armed, need I remind you the Navy Yard had MANY armed people, in fact the gunman reportedly may have taken guns from an armed individual. The sound effect below is 30 seconds of a semi-automatic weapon as well as some single shots. Listen to how many people can be lost in 30 seconds. Imagine the chaos sitting at work and hearing these sounds. Click. "Listen. And pray you never hear it in person.
And shootings are no longer news, news that people really care about, so stop the wall-to-wall coverage. Oh, people are interested. And they may even have an emotional response. But they don't really care. Because when you really care, when it really, truly matters, you act.
Sandy Hook, Columbine, Aurora, we now have the names of massacres in our lexicon and we are becoming more and more numb to it. Just look at our 20 bloodiest pieces of history in the recent past. And what have we done since? Nothing really. Why? Because under 600 lawmakers and a few elite members of the one percent (there were 5.2 million millionaires in America in 2012 and only 442 billionaires according to Wikipedia refuse to act or won't let, and I mean allow, us to act.
So the Navy Yard will turn in to the school house, or court house, or mall, or theatre, or preschool or name your target here and the news will go crazy and people will speak out and argue and then?
America, decide. Either we start having fashion shows with Kevlar clothing (hot items on the web this year are bullet-proof backpacks for your kids, bulletproof white boards for teachers and protection... truly, just go look at BulletBlocker), start making Pope-cubicles and not just mobiles (bullet proof work environments) and just accept that you may be shot any where at any time since there are more guns in America than people... either we accept this, shut up about it and have it be nothing more than a traffic report in the news or we act. Yes, a traffic report. Thirty-two-thousand-plus Americans die because we refuse to switch to a futuristic infrastructure of cars that prevent crashes and roads that are more observant than the texting drivers annually, and each day, we hear about how it will effect our commute. They don't go wall-to-wall when 12 people die on the roads, since 70-plus a day do. So, let's make shooting reports the same way...
"Let's go to our eye in the sky Chuck Bobworth in our Shooting Report brought to you by BulletStoppers of America, Chuck, how's the gun violence today and will any roads be closed down because of it... Thanks Tanya, it appears we have 10 dead at the Mall today which will make your commute home tough around the Harrington district..."
Farfetched? Not really.
My mom used to say, and I do quote, "Shit or get off the pot" (she was a character). Well, America, take mom's advice. Either make the less than 600 people that truly run this country do something to make sure this ridiculousness ends by taking, yes, CONTROL of the things known as guns, replace them, or accept gun deaths as part of our culture and start making public safety precautions accordingly (traffic deaths would be higher without the safety improvements of roads and cars, so, start building a bullet resistant culture).
It's not impossible. In fact, if you look at Scotland, Australia, and many other countries, it can be done, and without that much to-do or fanfare. The problem won't be solved in 12 months, or five years, it will take time for attrition, but it can be solved and controlled.
Or we continue to act like sheep waiting for slaughter at any moment.
Follow Charles Karel Bouley on Twitter: www.twitter.com/therealkarel