Will Tucson mark a change in U.S. gun culture?

Probably not. More likely we will be treated to the same rehashing of justifications for the nation’s foolish gun laws (please tell me what well regulated militia Jared Loughner signed up with when he bought his Glock in November) and I have little confidence that this latest outrage will finally be enough to twist the nation’s attitude about guns out of the cold, dead hands of the NRA.

I will no doubt be accused of sensationalizing or exploiting the Tucson horrowshow, as if it were wrong to add 1+1 to get to 2 or as if NRA hoodlums have not proved eager to sensationalize any isolated but horrific criminal act to keep the fear alive which stokes their membership’s passions. (I call them hoodlums because I have in the past been treated to NRA blowback. It is not subtle and it is meant to silence and intimidate. Just stick around for the comments that will erupt in the wake of this post). The gun fetishists will say the answer to our problem of gun violence is of course, wait for it, … more guns! Forgive me if I prefer to live in human society and not the state of nature, but I’ll buy that argument when they perfect telepathic sights that will allow a well-regulated militiaman to cut down a would-be mass murderer before he empties his super-sized semiautomatic magazine.

Our politicians have been outright cowards on this issue and so far seem only interested in crafting legislation that will protect themselves specifically from the gun violence that haunts too many homes in the United States. The rest of us, as before, are on our own; Thanks legislative leaders!

Having ranted all that, if you want to find some way to engage the tragedy in Tucson in a more positive manner, I encourage you to find out more about our gun culture and how it got this way and if you are moved to do so, advocate for change.

Taking a harder look at the low priority given treatment for mental health would also seem a valuable way to process the helplessness and despair we’re all feeling as we are yet again confronted by the senseless loss of innocent life because of the indifference of our nation’s gun fetishists and the cowardice of our political leaders.

A side note: Pro gunheads will defend their beliefs with liberal citations of the “research” of John Lott. Don’t let them get away with this. Lott’s methods and deportment have been more than questionable (posing as an undergrad female student to attack his many detractors, “losing” his keystone research in a hard drive crash; yes, the dog ate his homework). Here’s what pro-gun, right-wing firebrand Michelle Milkin had to say about him. They will probably say this is an “old” controversy. Bull. This odd and untrustworthy behavior speaks directly and permanently to Lott’s credibility and his capability for conducting objective research.

For more:

Gun laws in the United States

Violence Policy Center

Brady Campaign