Twice before I began this piece, I actually stopped and asked myself if it was even worth the time. Yes, I actually do try to make a difference once in awhile but in this case I just don’t know if it will make any difference. But, just like always, I am going to plunge ahead and see where this takes us.
Following the act of terrorism in San Bernardino, Calif., the issue of gun control and new gun laws has reared its ugly head once again. Two points quickly: One, it was an act of terrorism, whether it was perpetrated by someone of the Muslim faith or not. Two, using this mass murder to further an agenda is shameless.
In the wake of this most recent, horrific event, I suppose a question has to be asked at this point: Is this truly a gun control issue?
In my opinion, no.
California has some of the strictest gun laws in the country and in this instance, each weapon used was purchased through legal channels. Background checks were performed, waiting periods observed, and all stringent requirements met. As a matter of fact, some of the weapons had been owned for a period of at least two years. There was no gun control law that would have changed things in any way as its concerns shooters and weapons.
Ultimately, even this early on in the discussion, someone will invariably suggest that banning all guns would have made a difference That’s a specious argument based on circular logic.
In a vacuum that may be possible, but the genie is out of the bag and frankly, there are too many weapons in circulation in the United States for this to even be a remotely significant argument. Logistically, it would be an impossibility to remove all of the weapons currently in the United States from circulation. It’s never going to happen.
Gun control will not stop this senseless violence and to assume it will is to assume that each and every person on the face of the Earth has nothing but the best in mind for the rest of us. It sounds nice and it may give us all a warm and fuzzy feeling, but it’s a fairy tale.
Guns are just as much a part of this culture we live in as reality TV and the genuinely American obsession with celebrity. If you ask me, the obsession with celebrity and a total lack of awareness by most of us as to what’s going on in this country is more damaging.
More to the point, though, are we discussing the wrong thing? Shouldn’t we be discussing what makes individuals so desperate as to perpetrate one of these terrorist attacks? Does taking away — in theory — weapons truly make us safer or has our behavior internationally over the last 50-plus years made us a natural target?
Now, that is an interesting thought. Maybe the actions of our own government have propped up some unbelievably cruel dictators in its time, many in the Middle East, all to protect our interests. Many of those same dictators — in places such as Iran, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Yemen — have at times tortured and murdered their own people, sometimes with the weapons we provided.
Is it any wonder there may be some resentment and pent up hostility?
Maybe it is just a history lesson. Things have changed so much since World War II that a full-out ground war against the United States is lunacy and the tactics associated with guerrilla warfare are the only ones that work. To a degree it seems to be working.
Or maybe this happens to be a group of have nots who are doing what they can to destroy the haves. It wouldn’t be the first time in the history of nations that was the case. Or maybe it is indeed a holy war for some, in which case good luck, that is the type of dedication you don’t win the heart or mind of.
No, I don’t really think it’s about gun control. What I do think is, no matter what the cause or root of the problem, if the illness isn’t addressed, the body will die — with its gun in its cold, dead hand.
D. C. Moody is a staff writer for The Easley Progress, The Pickens Sentinel and Powdersville Post and can be reached at [email protected] Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.