So registered: one more man with one more weapon of mass-killing capacity — 18 more dead.
It’s a scenario now as commonplace as Friday Night Lights.
Mass murder: the American pastime.
Time after time, the specifics rarely vary. The killer uses an AR-style, high-capacity weapon. And Republican lawmakers wave their arms with a rationale supplied by gun lobby puppeteers.
They will say the issue is mental health, then studiously do nothing about mental health.
They will say, “Guns don’t kill people,” knowing that certain guns kill people in bunches.
The thing is, even these people know the rationale for the favorite weapon for mass murders isn’t self-defense. It’s fun for hobbyists.
You may see the world outside your door as a battlefield that calls for these weapons, but author Erik Larson determined differently in researching “Lethal Passage,” his book tracing a single gun that made its way, shiny and new, from mercantile birth to the means by which a messed-up boy shot up a school.
Trying to ascertain a logical explanation why civilians would have mass-killing machines in their possession – AR-style weapons with high-capacity magazines – Larson asked gun fanciers here and there.
He came to only one educated explanation: It was all about fun.
The true utility of those magazines, said gun hobbyists, was not hunting or self-defense. They liked not having to reload so often at the range.
I’ve heard people rationalize assault weapons in other ways.
The First Amendment states it clearly: “Congress shall make no law abridging religion as practiced by gun hobbyists.”
Oh, wait. Wrong amendment.
Ahem. The Second Amendment: “A well-regulated militia necessary to the security of a free state, no man shall be deprived of the means of plugging as many targets as efficiently as available technology makes possible.”
Targets: cardboard or flesh. One or the other. It’s protected by the Constitution, say gun fanciers. Even this Supreme Court does not subscribe to that.
While we’re at it, what does the Bible say?
New speaker of the U.S. House Mike Johnson says he is guided by God’s commands and so should we all via government for and by people of his faith.
And so, it’s clear. Commandment 6 reads, “Thou shalt not kill. But should someone be inclined to gun down many, he shalt not be inconvenienced.”
OK, no such passage says these things. No constitutional amendment mentions fun, either, but that’s what “gun rights” are about in their essence.
Hunting. Target shooting. Seeing who has the shiniest and most fearsome collection.
It’s fun to strap on that AK and get that Frosty at a Texas Wendy’s. No, not at the drive-thru. Do it in the line, where conservatives can admire you and liberals can recoil and flee. Snowflakes.
I’ve heard people justify assault weapons with high-capacity mags on the basis of self-defense: Say a swarm of terrorists, 20 or more Antifa encircle your house with their weird ways and kooky petitions. You need all that firepower.
I’ve heard the argument that a military-style assault weapon is just a gun and the government has no business classifying it as anything but.
The same might be said for other judgment calls government “by the people” makes.
Speeding, for instance. Who’s to say over 75 mph is too fast? We do; that’s representative government.
Fraud, for another. In a free country, can’t a deeply dishonest person, say a former president — exercise his free-speech rights with utter dishonesty? Depends. Are people harmed? We will decide what fraud is.
By the same dynamic – the making of law — the people decide what an assault weapon is. The courts have affirmed that power: Power to the people, not the gun lobby.
Someday when the Republican Party is in no position to provide cover for gun merchants and hobbyists, we will again act with sanity, as Congress did in 1994 with the Assault Weapons Ban. It saved lives.
A couple of years ago after another mass shooting, Colorado banned the manufacture and sale of high-capacity magazines.
A company that made them left the state for Wyoming, saying , “We’ll show you. This’ll harm Colorado’s economy.” Nope. The death merchants are hardly missed.
I choose to believe Colorado made up for any lost revenue from sales of legal marijuana. I don’t do pot. I do, however, subscribe to the motto: “Make edibles, not war.”
Tragically, a war is what we have, made possible by an industry that’s all about fun but is portrayed as the most essential freedom.
Until voters push back, the gun lobby and its Republican caddies will have made the freely facilitated slaughter of our sons, daughters and neighbors the American way.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado email: email@example.com.