If you are worried that a national registry of any kind will let the government know where to come get your guns, do you really think that any consumer data agency doesn’t know what you own, when you bought it and how much you paid?
Why can’t we have a rational discussion about guns? It’s dramatic (but not inaccurate) to say that our lives depend on meaningful change.
Around the time when I began writing this column, a Virginia reporter and her cameraman lost their lives on the air at the hands of an unstable former colleague. The same day four were shot during a home invasion in Minneapolis. Last month, when I was blithering about how to “act like a man” at work, the massacre in a Charleston church had barely passed. No, wait, that was June. In July we were all stunned by the fellow who attacked the military recruiting center in Chattanooga – killing five. Apologies, I’m mixing up my mass shootings. It’s just so hard to keep track these days. In fact, according to WonkBlog, we are now averaging more than one mass shooting per day in the U.S. And now we have the world’s attention, for good or ill: The Guardian began tracking killings by police in the U.S. because the figures are so appalling.
Gun violence is a women’s issue – see the embedded tweets below. It’s also simply a humanist one. If you like humans, you may be freaked out by things that are meant to end them. It also makes sense to be at least a little bit leery of the people who love those things:
Women in the US are 11 times more likely to be killed with a gun than in other countries. #WDBJ
— Moms Demand Action (@MomsDemand) August 29, 2015
I spoke to a friend who owns guns (stored unloaded in locked cases) and he shared some thoughts for those who resist any regulation:
If you are worried that a national registry of any kind will let the government know where to come get your guns, do you really think that any consumer data agency doesn’t know what you own, when you bought it and how much you paid? And that they won’t sell that list like any other? We should all be safety certified. We should pay a high price if our guns cause injury in any but a self-defense situation, if they are lost or stolen due to our negligence.
A car can kill someone and we all must be trained, licensed and insured in order to use it – and we can lose that licensure, money and our freedom if we use that power negligently or if we harm others, even inadvertently. Guns are specifically designed to kill – why don’t we control their ownership and use at least as stringently as cars?
In a moving video, the father of Alison Parker, this week’s slain reporter, challenged lawmakers to stop being cowards on this issue, and he’s right. And being right about that hasn’t yet helped. America deserves better than a shrug and “Freedom, whatcha going to do?” from our lawmakers, and frankly – from one another. But we’re not going to get it until we demand it and act to make it happen.
People around the country are crying out for solutions. Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America (quoted above) is one of a few that I follow. Founded in response to the still-unfathomable shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, they have successfully lobbied big retail brands around the country to discourage open carry in their stores. Harris Teeter has been the longest hold out, opting to favor a small minority of open carry extremists over families who respectfully request not to be terrorized in the dairy aisle. So I encourage you to remember that when you plan your next grocery run. (In fact, Harris Teeter, you’re planning a new store in my neighborhood, so prepare to hear more about this. Hugs, me.)
Here are a couple of other orgs. If you find you are moved to action, I encourage you to find one that speaks to you:
No matter how many avoidable tragedies we weep over, there will still be a group of bullies gleefully and loudly misinterpreting our Constitution to serve their own ends. They will continue to issue threats, both veiled and overt, to maintain the status quo – which at last count was at least 32,000 people each year being shot in the world’s least responsible gun culture.
Thea Joselow is a digital media writer, editor and social media director based in Bethesda, Maryland. She has worked for such illustrious institutions as National Public Radio, Smithsonian Magazine, and at a strategic communications firm in Washington, D.C., but please don’t hold that against them. Thea likes to think she has a good sense of humor. All opinions, omissions and offenses are entirely her own. She can be found on Twitter at @tjoselow.