Today's Gun Fun Times Roundup: Let's Pretend Anything We Do Can Make A Difference!
Welcome again, Wonktopia, to the bloody charnel house of American gun culture. The stench of suppurating wounds and rotting, gangrenous flesh hangs in the air like gunpowder after the shootout at the O.K. Corral. Watch your step, there are corpses and severed limbs lying all over the place.
Would this be an ironic moment for us to wish all of our Jewish Wonkers a sweet New Year? Probably! So instead let us begin the year 5774 by talking about the children, and about this list of statistics from the Children’s Defense Fund. At this point nothing in this entire document really surprises us exactly, but the numbers do have the power to make our eyes roll in our sockets like Sisyphus’s boulder zooming back down that hill: 351 children killed or injured by guns every week in 2010, the rate of gun deaths for children and teens nearly 30 percent higher than it was in 1963 when the states first started collecting data. California, the state where we live, lost 4,668 kids to guns in the last decade. Et cetera and so forth.
Oh, here’s a good one: U.S. children and teens are 17 times more likely to die from a gun than their peers in 25 other high-income countries combined. Teen gun death rates in the States are seven times higher than the rates in Israel, and 65 times higher than in the United Kingdom. And yet, the gun nuts forever tell us, crime rates in the UK have gone through the roof! British cities are awash in crime! People are getting stabbed with knives or beaten with cricket bats! It is a dystopian nightmare, like New York before Charles Bronson and Rudy 9/11 cleaned up that shithole!
At this point the next wingnut who tells us that Britain and Australia saw crime rates skyrocket after enacting strict gun control laws is going to get shot. Ha, we’re kidding! We’re good liberals. We’ll probably just kick him in the crotch with our sandal-clad foot and then run and hide in the vegan co-op instead.
Also earning our theoretical wingnut a kick in the crotch? Whining about schools being “gun-free zones” that attract gun-toting nutbags like Adam Lanza. Or maybe if this poor kid in Houston had had a gun, he could have defended himself from getting stabbed in the neck! Or maybe we should ban knives too! Actually, this incident provides an interesting theoretical exercise: imagine that the 17-year-old black kid had defended himself by shooting the knife-toting Hispanic kid who is charged with killing him. How many wingnuts would celebrate his Second Amendment rights, or how many would be screaming about armed gangbangers who should be locked up? Please feel free to guess in the comments!
Ah well. At least our president is making a very small gesture, which is about all he can do with a Congress made up of feral loons. Last week Obama issued two executive orders designed to close a couple of loopholes that allow people to acquire guns. Both of these measures stem from that list of executive orders on gun control he had issued last winter after the Newtown shooting. One would restrict the importation of military-grade firearms to museums and a few government entities, which will affect mainly collectors of antique guns, so you won’t be able to import that Mauser C96 machine pistol to complete your set of weapons used by soldiers in World War II. Which we guess is a big deal, since this reporter for the AP managed to talk to exactly one collector who is upset about the order. Which for the greater good of fewer guns in America, really seems like a small sacrifice.
The other order would close a loophole whereby felons have been able to legally purchase guns by registering them to a corporation or a trust. Which has us wondering, how does that work? Can a person create an incorporated business, order a gun and register it over the Internet, and no one stops to see if the business owner is a registered felon? And people think our laws are lax! Anyway, now people associated with the corporation or trust must go through finger-printing and background checks before the gun can be registered. Expect this new order to stand for however long it takes for the SCOTUS to remind us that corporations are people too, and therefore they can buy all the guns they want without pesky restrictions like registering the damn things.
Ah well, that is what happens when your national politics are dominated by drunken poop gnomes. We hope you enjoyed today’s tour, good Wonkers. Next time we will meet at a bar or a medical pot dispensary or a methadone clinic first.