American Elephants


Boycott, Ban, Confiscate, Report, Red Flags, … Just Do Something! by The Elephant's Child

Now it’s time to boycott the NRA, Ban Guns, Red Flags, all the usual fuss about “assault weapons” and go over all the same old, same old arguments once more.

The NRA is not an evil organization that favors killing people and white supremacy and all of the other current buzz words of this particularly ugly campaign season. It is an organization that defends our Constitutional right to bear arms. There are a lot of ordinary people out there who hunt deer, elk, pheasants and ducks and geese, and depend on filling their freezers with game for the winter. There are all sorts of apartment-living people who have never held a gun in their hands, think killing an animal or bird for food is deplorable, and that no one should be able to own a gun.

There is no such thing as an “assault weapon.” There are military weapons that are illegal for people not in the military. There are some ordinary rifles, jazzed up with fancy looking scopes to look more masculine, dangerous, and exciting, but they don’t really do anything different, they just look different. That’s what the people who get all excited about assault weapons have in mind. They go through a lot of pictures of current guns and pick out those that look “scary” and call them “assault weapons”.

It is quite clear that some mental aberration causes a shooter and a mass shooting. There is talk of “Red Flags” for someone who seems to be violent or disturbed. It is certainly true that in the aftermath of a mass shooting there often seems to be something that responsible people should have noticed, or should have acted upon. For example in the Parkland shooting, there were all sorts of Red Flags waving about the young man, about his behavior at school, about his homelife, but in every case they were ignored or excused, or just dismissed. That seems to be the case most times. There was something that should have been noticed, reported or acted upon— that wasn’t. Sometimes there have been real warnings, and the people in charge of safety just don’t take it seriously.

There’s always an outcry to ban all guns, more background checks, stop selling bullets, boycott anyone that sells guns, yet most guns used in crimes are purchased on the black market or stolen. What about all the Democrat-run cities where gun crime is rampant. The death toll from a weekend in Chicago can top the toll in a real mass shooting. But Gun bans don’t seem to work. Gun confiscation? I doubt most gun owners would turn in their guns. What about those rural folks who count on game to fill their freezers?

As always in the immediate aftermath of a mass shooting, everybody wants answers right now. There are people and organizations studying the problems, and lots of bad answers. Video Games don’t cause mass homicides. Mass shooters are not male white supremacists. Hateful people are attracted to hateful ideologies. But most mass shooters don’t proclaim any ideology at all. Mental illness is very common. Lots of stereotypes, lots of misconceptions. Here’s a good article explaining a little of what we know and don’t know.

The wonderful Michael Ramirez cartoon at the top was so appropriate that I have saved it form another mass shooting at another time. We all wish we had solutions, but we don’t. Pay attention to warning signs. Try not to dismiss them casually. There are a lot of people searching the available evidence for clues to what to do. Remember that one of the biggest mass killings was accomplished not with a gun, but with a truck in Nice, France, on Bastille Day when 84 people were mowed down.




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