Once again, in it’s now monthly regularity, the United States has had yet another mass shooting incident where the combination of a deranged and criminal individual when infected with firearms has produced terror, death, and heartbreak.
This time it was the Washington Navy Yard in Washington D.C. where U.S. Navy personnel and dedicated civilians, patriots all, were simply going to work defending the United States of America when they themselves were gunned down: 13 dead including the gunman.
We’ve spent the last decade and more playing around with this as a piece of political leverage and still another opportunity for our Congress, especially those in the House of Representatives, to perversely refuse to set to work helping the rest of us maintain our safety and the ability to enjoy the liberties gun owners and the National Rifle Association (NRA) defend so vigorously.
Putting still more guns in the hands of every citizen will not solve the epidemic of gun violence in our streets, in our schools, in public places and workplaces we see acted out on the news channels so commonly now.
You know there was a time when doctors believed that to make you well you had to bleed the patient to remove ill humors from the body. Our very founding patriarch of the Republic, George Washington, had a case of the flu from which bed rest, hot soup and fresh clean water would have been enough. But the doctors tending the literal heart of the Revolution and what we are and have been applied leeches all over the body. The man who was and is still first in peace, first in war, and first in the hearts of his countrymen was actually severely weakened by this medical treatment and died from it.
In an equally comical if it were not so tragic a case, history will show that we stupidly stood by and watched as thirty thousands of gun deaths rippled through our society and we did nothing about it. And what we did do was precisely the wrong mode of treating the epidemic ravaging our society and the peace of mind that renders living life that is good and full possible.
There are multiple and inter-dimensional vectors of transmission of this disease of gun violence. Getting to the millions of Americans suffering from all forms of mental illness and keeping guns out of their hands is one.
Rebuilding the opportunities for upward social mobility that was the great American Middle Class of the era following the Second World War is another means of combatting the disease. Strengthening the American family in whatever form it is presently constituted but especially the nuclear family with two strong parents of either gender is yet another.
Changing our popular culture that brings so many images and forms of suggestive gun violence is another. No action film or action drama TV series or popular video game can avoid presenting us with men and women pointing guns in the faces of others and blasting them to hell; or at least threatening to do so.
And the number and availability of guns in the United States so ubiquitous that they are the cancer cells that erode our public life and threaten our liberties even more than any real or imagined threat to Second Amendment rights.
If in the nation’s or at least our people’s collective futures, the present generation will be derided and made despicable by our utter inaction and seeming insensibility to the high level of domestic violence in all forms present in the United States.
Our descendants, those that survive to become them, will point their fingers and say laughing how silly we were, how evil and misguided we were just standing there doing nothing or actually lending our hands to furthering the epidemic with such tragic results for our country and everyone trying to live in it.
We know that having so many cancer cells and having the push by gun manufacturers, the NRA, and right-wing politicians looking to score a political point or to even destroy our national government to make that point provides such a multitude of guns that the cancer cells spread to every part of the body politic with such tragic results.
Know this iron law: you cannot have more guns then people in the United States without producing an epidemic of gun violence.
Public health officials across the country already see the disease progressing. Those in positions of advisor to our wisest leaders, academics examining the progress of the disease, and those trying to save its victims in trauma centers everywhere are trying to tell us that guns are the most dangerous part of this multiple system of vectors that kill.
What is this nation going to be when we reach 400 or 500 million guns for the some 350 million of us and where millions of us due to our being under five years old or too old to use the weapons, or too sensible of peace and love and decency cannot or refuse to use them?
The terrible truth is that millions of gun owners are not themselves the source of the problem. Yet, the stupidly permissive, even feverish push to have more and more and more guns of increasing capability of transmitting and vectoring the disease will defy explanation to future generations of citizens huddling in their fortresses against attack.
The culture of gun violence so prevalent in our society, with such universal gun cancer cells everywhere relative to our population is one of the gravest threats to public health in the United States. Will we apply more leeches and bleed the patient until they die or will we act using appropriate methods to interrupt the disease on multiple and inter-dimensional vectors of transmission?
That is the choice facing the nation and it is not an ideological, partisan, or anti-civil liberties agenda. The most fanatical gun owner with hundreds of firearms will be just as dead if they are shot with bullets that penetrate their body armor or caught when not so protected. The rest of us do not want to joust in this hideously medieval world of death.
Dr. Thomas Martin Sobottke
For Struggles for Justice