As long as there are guns in the this country, there will be gun violence in this country, and at the time of this writing there are more than 300 million guns in the United States, approximately one for each and every American. In the era of mass killings, then, the great presiding question is how to reconcile two actualities: the abstract, causally diffuse reality of America’s recurrent national violence and the troublesome ubiquity of the weapons that realize it. It’s an issue. In the face of constant mortal endangerment, despite annual body counts in the thousands, it seems that most Americans would still rather die violently in a country with guns than live peacefully in a country free of them. Presuming that a society willing to subject itself to such masochism on a national scale is worth saving (which it likely isn’t), can America’s gun problem be solved?
Ask any learned person and they will tell you: there is only one logical solution, achievable in three simple steps, to the sociopolitical quandary of gun violence in America. First, the American government must evenly distribute the 300 million American guns amongst the 300 million Americans. Next, these armed Americans must assemble into two countrywide firing lines that stretch from sea to shining sea. Then, finally, all 300 million Americans have to exercise their ultimate freedom by executing one another simultaneously. Three, two, one: problem solved. Every viciously repressed American dies; the United States ceases to exist. Civilized progress can resume.
Despite its being effective (and preferable), a mass American murder suicide would likely prove, on the democratic level, to be a hard sell. A vocal minority of the populace seems as attached to their lives as gun lovers are to guns, for reasons that will remain inexplicable. At this rate, most Americans will probably die in a mass shooting, but killing every American in the name of peace isn’t an option. Americans will continue to breathe, for the most part through their mouths. A few of these Americans will use guns to kill, while most will passively permit these murders rather than amend a 200-year-old amendment. It’s an issue. Americans are a central, inextricable part of America’s gun problem.
So how about we get rid of all the guns?
Consider an effective-immediately ban on the ownership of guns in the United States. Anyone found in possession of a firearm is fined, jailed, executed without trial, whatever: the severity of the punishment becomes immaterial once one considers the logistics of implementing a measure as totalistic as prohibition. Before even entertaining the notion of an outright ban, one must first acknowledge the overwhelming number of guns already in the country, and the rampant fanaticism that surrounds those overwhelmingly numerous guns, and how well bureaucracy typically fares against the tag team of guns and fanaticism, all before one also acknowledges illegal guns and illegal gun owners and a national bloodlust inculcated into the American character from the crib. When it comes to guns, there is already pee in the American pool. All past generations had to worry about was keeping the pee out of their mouths. Today you have to keep the pee out of your mouth while completely relearning how to swim, and there’s a maniac on the diving board shooting an assault rifle at you as you try, and the pool has become mostly pee. This is the continental urine pool in which all Americans now swim. Bullets seem a mercy.
Like most of The United States Bill of Rights, The Second Amendment is a lexical clusterfuck of garbled syntax that addresses issues that predate indoor plumbing. To quote, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Basically, Americans need access to guns in order to defend themselves against the government should it become a police state. This is an exquisite line of hypothetical thinking, but the problem is that it is no longer hypothetical. The United States already is a totalitarian police state. An NSA operative read these words long before you did. 50,000 of our nation’s police departments now have SWAT teams, which stage an average of 80,000 raids on private property per year. There are flying camera drones policing Camden, and an observable impunity for police officers who kill unarmed civilians. And what have gun owners done to fight this? Nothing. If anything, their blind advocacy for firearms has strengthened the fear, paranoia, and loss of security that police states engender. The life of every American is literally at stake, and the above-pictured Chipotle customers aren’t even trying to help.
Opponents of gun control, like the “Freedom Fighters” pictured above, uphold that mass killings are caused by outliers, crazies, psychopaths, men and women fundamentally unlike themselves who have completely misinterpreted an otherwise innocuous ideology. In their opinion, the levels of nothing that American firearm restrictions currently achieve are the optimal levels of regulation, the best Americans can hope for if freedom is to be preserved. Nothing can be done, and nothing has been done; weekly massacres are just something Americans will have to learn to live with. This rationale is utterly insane, and it is also completely correct. Herein lies the solution to America’s gun problem.
Americans should keep doing nothing with regard to mass shootings. They just need to do it better.
(Note: The following proposed solution for America’s gun problem is offensive, nihilistic, and probably borderline illegal to read, much less write. If any of those three distinctions upsets you, run–don’t walk–away from your screen.)
If Columbine, Virginia Tech, Newtown, UCSB, Charleston, San Bernardino, and the hundreds of lesser known rampages have taught Americans anything, it’s that the difficulty a sane person encounters obtaining a gun is comparable to the ease with which an insane person obtains one. In America as it stands, psychopaths can and will get as many guns as they want, whenever they want them, and they will use those guns to murder other people. In the past, these victims have been everyday innocents: elementary school children, students and teachers, bystanders, the handicapped. No one would argue that any of these people deserved to die, especially not in the gruesome manner in which they did. If gun control laws don’t change–and they won’t–psychopaths will continue killing innocent people at whim. The proposed solution acknowledges the impossibility of changing this circumstance. Given the constraints, Americans cannot stop mass killings of the innocent. What Americans can do–hypothetically–is encourage mass killings of the guilty.
Assess the possibility, if you will. If mass killings truly are an inescapable part of American life now, wouldn’t it be preferable if the killers killed evil people instead of innocent ones? Imagine a world in which, instead of charging into Columbine, the Trench Coat Mafia marched into the boardroom of Monsanto, where Seung-Hui Cho attacked a terrorist training camp instead of Virginia Tech, where Adam Lanza drives past Newtown Elementary on his way to Sheldon Adelson’s birthday party. Imagine a world where Elliot Rodger spares innocent lives and takes Jeff Bezos’s worthless one. Is this situation ideal? No, of course it isn’t. But wouldn’t it be arguably–hypothetically!–better than the bloody death dance in which we currently find ourselves engaging?
However ardently Americans may want to believe that all human life is of equal value, the exact opposite holds true in the observable world. For the hierarchically privileged, this inequality works its foul magic spectacularly. George Zimmerman walks the streets freely. Lebron James has won two NBA titles. A white President starts two wars against imaginary enemies and costs his country thousands of lives and trillions of dollars, while a black President tries to make Healthcare more affordable, and politicians threaten to impeach the black one. It makes zero ethical sense and perfect cynical sense. The value of your life is essentially the color of your skin cross-referenced with the total of your bank account. If there’s anyone who mass killers should be exacting their violence upon, it’s the people who propagate this inequality, those who directly and indirectly exact systemic violence on a national and global scale. There isn’t a single reason why an elementary school student deserves to die, but there is a surfeit of reasons, most of them written in blood, why Dick Cheney probably should. (Hypothetically.)
At its heart, this is an issue of education: American mass killers haven’t been correctly taught who deserves to live and who deserves to die. Unlike the host of problems facing the education system as a whole, this could be an easy fix. A website could be founded that lists the ten most deserving candidates for mass murder, or a ticket to a Ted Cruz rally could be packaged with every gun sold. Whatever it takes to ensure the arguably evil perish before the inarguably innocent do. Until that unlikely day comes, Americans will continue to live in fear, which isn’t actually living; momentary outings into the public forum can and probably will result in violent, senseless death. Or Americans could move to literally any other industrialized country, since every single one of them experiences a single-digit percentage of the gun violence that the United States does. Because who really wants to chase an American Dream that has little to do with prosperity and everything to do with survival?