7 Stages of Gun Violence

Bang.

Another massacre. Was it kids again this time?

by Jim Wright Stonekettle Station

And that, my friends, is exactly the power the gun nuts in this country want every person to have.

This slaughter is exactly the future the National Rifle Association and their pet politicians wanted.

This is the power the NRA wants in the hands of every American – as they define Americananyway.

What?

What’s that?

Oh no. No. Fuck you. Don’t you dare. Don’t you dare try to tell me different. This is the future the NRA wants. Right here. This is the future these sons of bitches want. This is exactly – exactly – the power they want every American to have. The power to murder ten, twenty, a hundred, a thousand people in minutes. And don’t you dare try to tell me otherwise. This is exactly what the guns nuts want, the ability of one kid to slaughter a dozen others.

This the future the NRA wanted.

This is future the gun nuts wanted.

This is the world America wanted.

This slaughter belongs to the NRA and the gun lobbyists and the gun manufacturers and the blood of every victim is on Congress’s hands.

And so here we are again. Friends, bereft families grieving with concern, a nation left shaken with shock and outrage, left wondering why? How?

Another murderous lunatic with a gun in his hand and a score to settle.

Another excuse from the National Rifle Association. Another denial. Another bribe to their pets in Congress. Another unhinged rant from terrorist-enabling lunatics like Ted Nugent and Oliver North and Wayne Lapierre.

Another flurry of empty prayers and sound-bites from our bought and paid for legislature and a Twitter storm from the White House.

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Another day of “expert” opinions from the media and Facebook, from people who have no training and no experience and who have never been shot at.

And another day when gun and ammo manufacturer stocks surged up as Americans run down to the gun store to load up.

This is the point where I used to type bloody horror.  And it is, a bloody horror, but it’s justanother bloody horror.  Business as usual.  Sandy Hook. Aurora. Pulse. Las Vegas. Shrug. So? Fifty-nine dead, nearly six hundred wounded. Another ten dead kids? So? So what? Who cares? That’s the price freedom.

That’s the price of freedom in America.

Isn’t it?

Well, isn’t it?

I mean, why else would we put up with this?

Bloody slaughter, it’s certainly no longer a surprise – and hasn’t been for a very long time.

Gun violence? Mass slaughter? That’s just who we are.

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This, this right here, this is the country we live in.

Bang, bang, bang. Welcome to America.

How many mass shootings since I first wrote this? A dozen? Two dozen? A hundred? Five hundred? A thousand? How many? Who knows? You’ve lost track, haven’t you?

Me too.

This slaughter, it’s the set up for a truly American joke, isn’t it? So, a racist, a terrorist, and disgruntled kid walk into a public place and start murdering people, what do they all have in common?

The fabled gun battles of the American Old West have nothing on the modern slaughter. Gun fueled mass murder isn’t the exception any longer, it’s as common and as American as, well, apple pie and happens on average about once twice three four times a month now.

What’s that, you say? Oh yes, another grinning nut with a personal arsenal shot up a concert? Tsk tsk terrible isn’t it? Did they catch him this time, did he kill himself, or did the police shoot him down like the dog he was? People say he was a nice guy, quiet, kept to himself, kind of odd but, man, didn’t see this coming, no Sir.  Here’s a picture of him smiling like a crazy guy, look at those eyes, they’re crazy eyes, anybody could tell he was going to snap. He probably tortured small animals and has his grandmother’s head in the freezer. It’s the parents’ fault you know, for not raising him right.  It’s the atheists’ fault for taking Jesus out of the schools. It’s the doctors, why don’t they get crazy people off the street? It’s the goddamned police, they’re never around when you need them. It’s the government. He’s probably a veteran, you know, those guys are all on the edge.  Guns don’t kill people, you know, no Sir, they don’t. In fact a good guy with a gun is the only … Oops, gotta go, Duck Dynasty is on.

And now? Well, now we Americans will go through the same old oh so utterly predictable dance:

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Stage One, Confusion:

Mass shootings are still, mostly, news. I have no idea how much longer this will be so, Americans don’t have much of an attention span unless you up the wow factor. Some guy went bonkers and killed a bunch of people? Yawn, I’ve seen worse. What’s the body count this time? Fifty? And he got nearly 600? That’s some good shooting, man. I’ll tune for that! But, maybe next time we could get the guy to wear a Bruce Willis costume while shooting a chain-gun from the back of a crashing stealth fighter in the middle of Times Square? Because that would so cool.

What?

Oh. I see.

You don’t like my tone. It’s disrespectful of the dead, right?

Yeah. Fifty-nine dead. Eight hundred wounded. Congressman shot. Another ten dead kids. Sure, you got me, I’m the one being ridiculous. I’m the one being disrespectful. Right.

Anyway, for now, mass murder is still a news show money maker.

Problem is, there’s just not enough actual information about the event to fill up the airwaves.

Nobody really knows anything.

But Americans aren’t interested in facts and they’re for damned sure not interested in waiting.

Americans want their news the same way they want their food, they don’t care if it’s good for them or not so long as it’s quick and it comes in SuperSize.

So, over the next few days, until America loses interest, the news outlets will each issue at least three versions of the story, all different, all mutually contradictory. Accuracy doesn’t matter, being first is what matters. Blame, that’s what matters, we need to assign blame to somebody, Muslims, liberals, gays, commies, survivalists, the mentally ill, somebody is at fault and the sooner we assign the blame the sooner we can get back to our freedom and liberty and civilization.

And besides, it’s not like those first false reports and poor reporting will be wasted, the conspiracy nuts will print those out and tape them up on their bulletin boards right next to pictures of that grassy knoll and WTC #7. False Flag! False Flag! They’ll shout gleefully and manufacture their own false information fresh from their fevered imaginations and within days the airwaves and the internet will be filled with their wild speculation.

You’ll get interviews with at least four witnesses who didn’t actually see anything, including at least one middle-aged hypochondriac who wasn’t actually there on the day of the massacre but once, way back when, happened to be in the same neighborhood, and so had to be hospitalized because she was so traumatized by the close call.

You’ll get interviews with at last three professional victims who weren’t there but were near similar events and whose stories are now somehow relevant.

You’ll get earnest opinions from two experts in fields completely unrelated to anything that actually transpired, and CNN will interview at least one former non-combatant Air Force Major who was stationed in Nevada during the Iraq invasion and now teaches law at a small Women’s college on the East Coast.

Eventually, each news outlet will trot out their one remaining gray haired genuine distinguished Newsman, and in dour solemn tones he’ll ponderously opine on the miserable state of journalism in this modern age – then he’ll condemn all the other stations for getting it wrong.

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Stage Two, Speculation:

Since there isn’t any real information and by the time there actually is America will have completely lost interest, the important thing is to fill up the media channels with something.

The talking heads and paid conspiracy mongers will wax fat and feculent, they’ll talk about false flag operations and possible links to ISIS and whether or not a white man can be a terrorist, all the while hiding their sly grins behind their plastic outrage while the money rolls in.

News anchors, talk shows, bloggers, pundits, and the endless ill-informed mouth-breathing Yahoo commenter will each and all put forward their opinion of Why He Did It.

The Big Giant Orange Leader will tweet, blaming North Korea and Fake News and somehow, some way, it’ll be Hillary Clinton’s fault. Or maybe Bill’s.

Politicians will each rail loudly against those who would politicize this terrible event – while they themselves politicize the event and blame whoever happens to be convenient.

And already social media is a surging froth of foreign trolls and bot swarms, shaping public opinion, urging on more violence and division, aided and abetted by Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg’s utter indifference to anything but profit and their companies’ continuing inability to do anything whatsoever to protect their own users.

By the time the sad truth comes out, if it ever does, whatever it is, nobody will even remember … what was the name of this school again? We’ll be a dozen, two dozen, mass shootings on by then and the only thing Americans will remember about this guy is that he is yet another sterling example of whatever political point they’re trying to make at that particular moment.

For us, the shooter isn’t a real person.

He’s a chimera, an empty shell we can fill with whatever substance best suits our worldview.

We don’t really care why he did it and knowing won’t keep the next massacre from happening.

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Stage Three, Comparison:

The conservative channels will start running footage of Columbine, Fort Hood, and Waco. The liberal channels will start running footage of the Giffords shooting and Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook.  None of those incidents really has much to do with the current horror – other than easy access to guns – but they are images of bodies and blood and bullets and that’s what counts when you’re explaining how this event is what happens when the End Times are nigh or civilization is on the brink of collapse.

It’s important to associate this mass murder with other horrible events in order to shape public perception in the proper manner regardless of the fact that there is little connection or comparison to be had – other than easy access to guns, that is.

All channels will talk about drugs and depression. There’s no indication as yet that the shooter was taking drugs, or was depressed, but then again there isn’t any indication that he wasn’teither.

And, of course, there’s the PTSD, every media outlet will explain in concerned tones. You know, we should expect more of this kind of thing as veterans start to come unscrewed. Especially if they were bullied as children. Or abused. Or into comic books, or video games, or porn. And, well, even if the guy had nothing to do with the military, it’s important to stress that returning veterans are murderously unstable and something should be done.

Eventually we’ll fetch up at the old standby, mental health.

The simple truth of the matter is that you don’t walk into a crowd and start shooting people unless you’re, at least to some degree, nuts. But of course the shooter can’t just be nuts, or rather they can be, nuts, but it has to mean something. Somehow. Even though the shooter might be completely insane, America will still demand a sane, rational, understandable reason for their behavior.

Which naturally will lead to endless arguments regarding the sorry state of mental health in this country.

Which, of course, will almost immediately devolve into a debate on healthcare.

Which, of course, will almost immediately turn into a shitfit between political ideologies.

Which means that nothing whatsoever will be done.

Which means that I’ll be forced to update this essay again, and again, and again, and the even more simple truth of the matter is that a society doesn’t allow this sort of thing to go on and on unless that society itself is insane.

But you see, the thing is that these shootings all have nothing in common.

Nothing in common, except for one thing.

One thing.

They all have one thing and only one thing only in common.

Guns.

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Stage Four, Blame:

The shooters may all be crazy in some fashion or another, but the real insanity here is our continued inability as a nation to face reality.

We are quite literally insane.

We won’t face reality.

We won’t face the single common denominator.

Instead…

Let’s blame Hollywood. Violent movies and violent video games and rock and roll music. That’s what it is.

Let’s blame the families. It’s bad parenting, this guy’s folks should have their asses kicked for raising a psychopath.  But since we can’t do that, we’ll punish the shooter’s family by having every single news agency in the world camp out on his mother’s front porch, and we’ll ask her important questions such as “what are you feeling right now?”

Let’s blame the Liberals with their liberalism, their political correctness, their communist Nazism, their coddling of criminals, their gun control and the gay agenda.

Let’s blame the Conservatives with their conservatism, their guns and their bibles and their callous disregard of the human condition. It’s their fault, of course it is.

Let’s blame it on the Me Generation, these selfish little bastards, always with their hands out, me me me. It’s social media, it’s Twitter and Facebook and those self centered bloggers looking for attention.

Let’s blame the Muslims and the godless goat humping atheists and Fast & Furious and bad teachers and Benghazi and the secret manipulations of the Illuminati.

The politicians and their supporters will all, each and every one, gleefully make hay. Oh they’ll all, each and every one, wax poetic over the victims (with the exception of certain predictable talk radio pundits who’ll insinuate that the wounded had it coming for being unprepared and unarmed and ungodly), and they’ll even wipe away sorrowful bitter tears and pause for a moment in patriotic remembrance with their hands over their flinty black hearts with the flags waving and crackling in the cold breeze at just the right camera angle, and they’ll condemn the other guy for politicizing the tragedy, and then they will make just as much political hay out of this as they can because somebody is damned well to blame for this mess.  And it sure isn’t going to be them, no sir, it’s the other guy and his un-American agenda, vote for me!

Somebody is responsible.

The thing is, all of these shootings, including the latest horror, have nothing in common.

Nothing in common, except for one thing.

Guns.

Guns. Guns. Guns. Guns are the common denominator here.

In every case, it’s guns.

You can’t have a mass shooting without guns.

It’s just that goddamned simple.

But we won’t face it.

We won’t do anything about it.

We’ll blame everything but the one single common denominator.

We just  keep on keeping on, expecting something different – and that right there is the very definition of insanity.

As a nation, we are insane.

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Stage Five, Bang Bang Crazy:

And so, once again, inevitably, we circle around the wheel to the perennial American argument:

Guns don’t kill people, crazy people with guns kill people who don’t have guns.

Therefore, we should ban all guns! No, wait, if we ban all guns then only people with guns will have guns so they’ll kill the people who don’t have the guns and then there will only be people with guns left and then they’ll kill each other because if you ban guns only people with guns will be criminals and when the government comes to get our guns only the criminals will be free because liberty equals guns! Also what about bears? OK, then we should give everybodyguns! But if everybody has guns then even criminals will have guns and brown people and yellow people and illegal people and crazy people who don’t love Jesus will have guns and they will break into our houses to steal our guns and rape our women and eat our babies and take our liberty so then police and the military will need bigger guns to keep us safe from thosepeople but then we’ll need even bigger guns because otherwise we won’t be safe from the cops who will use their guns to take our freedom! OK, well then how about a reasonable common sense compromise? We all agree that as Americans it’s our basic right to keep and own firearms. But also, some people really, really shouldn’t be allowed to own even a Nerf slingshot, let alone a machine that can punch a couple hundred fist sized holes in a room full of people in under a minute. How about we maybe talk about some kind of reasonable way to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, terrorists, and crazy people?

What! Communist! Nazi! How dare you? Second Amendment! Second Amendment! Every red-blooded true blue American has the God given right to own a fully automatic meat-grinding bone-shattering blood-spattering high capacity killing machine if they want to, the Founding Fathers said so!USA! USA! Dead kids? Mass murder? Blood in the streets? That’s the price you pay for freeeeeeeeedom! Besides if there had only been one, just one, god fearing patriot with his own concealed meat-grinding bone-shattering blood-spattering high-capacity peacemaker there at that massacre, why he’d have stood up in his genuine American made American Flag Shirt of Patriotic American By God Freedom and fired up his laser-sight and he would have put that animal down right goshdarned there! Remember, when seconds count the police are only minutes away and idiotic empty NRA platitudes have saved more lives than Charlton Heston did in all those bible movies. Booyah, Baby, give me a Glock Nine and an extended mag any day. Also, we need more Jesus.

‘Round and round in one long run-on paragraph of fury and hysteria and flag waving spittle flecked madness. America, Fuck ya!

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Stage Six, Acceptance:

By the time it’s determined that the shooter’s bloody motivation was just plain incomprehensible to sane reasonable people, most Americans will have long since changed the channel and forgotten about it, lost in the bloody mayhem of the next gun fueled mass murder.

Meanwhile, the NRA will quietly make the rounds on Capitol Hill, handing out checks, and Congress, ever eager to promote the idea that they care, will yet again stage a mock vote to defund healthcare in America or announce a bill that gives billionaires another tax break because they are completely unable to do anything that actually matters other than squabble amongst themselves like spoiled petulant children.

Nothing will be done about the real problem because nothing can be done.

That’s the price you pay for freeeeeeeeeeedom: murderous lunatics with guns.
Besides, it probably won’t happen again.

Stage Seven: Déjà Vu:

See Step One.


Afterword:

Ok, snark off.  Let me be serious.

Nothing, and I mean nothing not even religion or abortion, generates the hate mail that any article on guns does.

As I’ve said here many, many, many times, and will obviously have to say many, many, many more times: I’ve spent my entire life around weapons, all kinds of weapons – some of which you can’t even imagine. I’ve had decades of professional training. I am a professionally trained firearms instructor with decades of experience. And I spent most of my adult life in war zones around the world.

I know something about guns and violence.

I’ll tell you something: the ignorant, illiterate, and cognitively challenged NRA nuts who troll this site every time I post something about guns are the very last people I would allow on my range or allow to handle weapons anywhere near me or mine. If you’re taking orders from Ted Nugent and Tom Selleck and criminals like Oliver North, then you are fucking insane. These people are every bit as insane as the murderous lunatics described in the text above who thought that guns were a solution for their own personal inadequacies.

These people have taken the Second Amendment and perverted it all out of recognition.

However, for the record, the post above does not, repeat does not, advocate for or against any additional laws, regulations, bans, or any other form of gun control.

What I actually said was that all the arguments were oh so tediously predictable. 

What I said was the usual folks would call for gun control.

What I said was then in response the usual folks would scream about Nazis and fascism and explain why nothing ever can work and how dead kids are just the price you pay for freedom.

What I said was that nothing, absolutely nothing, will change. The slaughter will continue. The argument will continue. And nothing will change because we will not let it change, we would rather die than allow a reasoned conversation to take place, let alone any action of any kind.

What I said was that we as a society are insane.

What I said was that we will continue to ignore the one single common denominator.

What I said was that we can’t even have the conversation.

And that is exactly what is happening, because that’s what always happens. Every. Single. Time.

Both sides are perfectly convinced that they are right. That’s it and that’s all. Period. No compromise. No no no. End of discussion and fuck you, Liberals. No, fuck you, Conservatives.  You cannot reason with unreasonable people and the people on both sides of this ongoing monkey shitfest are profoundly unreasonable people (and now people on both sides will write to argue why they’re right and perfectly reasonable and the other side is wrong and perfectly unreasonable, predictably).

People called me a cynic.

They said I was wrong.

But it’s been more than two five six years since I wrote the original version of this essay. How many mass murders have happened in that time? How many Americans have died in front of a gun muzzle? Hell, we’re up to four or five mass murders a month now.

We’ve actually had a president shot. We’ve had two members of congress shot. Citizens murdered in street every day. Our own children gunned down.

And nothing, not one goddamned thing, has changed.

I think I’m entitled to say: I told you sons of bitches so.

 


Addendum 1:  Every time I write one of these, I hope it’s the last. But it never is, there’s always another massacre. Always.
The Seven Stages of Gun Violence
The Bang Bang Crazy Series:
Part 1, What we need, see, are more guns, big fucking guns
Part 2, Gun violence isn’t the exception in America, it’s who we are
Part 3, Sandy Hook, the NRA, and a gun in every school
Part 4, More dead kids and why we have laws
Part 5, Gun control and a polite society
Part 6, The Christopher Donner rampage, they needed killin’
Part 7, Still more dead kids and let’s print our own guns!
Part 8, Let’s try blaming the victim, shall we?
Part 9, Armed soldiers on post, sure, nothing to go wrong there.
Part 10, Big Damned Heroes!
Part 11, Two in the Bush
What do we do about it? How do we change our culture of gun violence? Bang Bang Sanity
Addendum 2: As noted elsewhere, I’ve  been around guns my entire life. My dad taught me to shoot when I was a kid – in fact the very first gun I ever fired was my dad’s prized black powder .75 caliber smooth bore Civil War trench piece when I was about four years old. I still own my very first gun, bought from Meijer Thrifty Acres in Jenison, Michigan, for me by my dad when I was fourteen years old – a lever action Winchester 30-30. I got my first deer with that gun.  I grew up shooting, at home, in the Boy Scouts, hunting, target shooting, plinking, with friends and with family.  Thirty years ago I joined the military and spent my entire life there. I know more than a little about guns. I’m a graduate of the Smith & Wesson Rangemaster Academy, the nation’s premier firearms instructor school. I’m a certified armorer and gunsmith. I’ve graduated from nearly every boarding officer and gun school the military has. I hold both the Expert Pistol and Expert Rifle Medals. I’ve taught small arms and combat arms to both military and civilians for nearly thirty years now. I’ve fired damned near everything the US military owns, from the old .38 revolver to a US Navy Aegis Guided Missile Cruiser’s 5” main battery – and everything in between. I can still field strip a Colt .45 M-1911 pistol and put it back together in under a minute, blindfolded – I happen to own several of them, along with numerous other semi-auto pistols and a number of revolvers. I used to shoot professionally and in competition. I helped to design, test, field, and fire in combat US Military weapons systems. I’ve spent my entire life in places where gun usage is extremely, extremely, common. I have a Concealed Carry Permit. I’m an Alaskan, even though I don’t live there anymore, and I typically carry a gun in the wilds of Alaska on a regular basis. I am neither pro-gun nor anti-gun, a gun is a tool, nothing more. If you feel that I’m ignorant of guns, or that I’m anti-gun, or unAmerican, well, you’re welcome to speak your piece – just so long as you can live with what comes after.

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