Friday, October 2, 2015

The Problem We Actually Face

Yes, it has happened again. Another school mass shooting. Our 45th this year.

And the predictable wave of persecution and hurt-feelings-cards are playing out as they always do in social media and blogs.

- Time for gun control!
- Persecuted Christians!
- We need more guns!

Sigh.....It is depressingly ironic that almost none of the posts I've seen can indulge in a bit of simple human compassion over a tragedy without pulling out one of those cards.

One curious pattern though has emerged in a few conservative leaning posts I've read. That being referencing european countries like Sweden and Switzerland, both of whom have high per capita gun ownership. In the case of Switzerland military conscription and gun ownership are mandatory.

While it is true gun ownership is high in those two european countries, both countries have strictures on the use of guns no conservative gun advocate would tolerate. And let's be frank gun ownership per capita in those two countries is MUCH lower than the United States.

It is also true that those countries have....
- Progressive drug laws
- National healthcare being a right
- Small militaries
- Progressive taxes on the rich
- Strong mental health systems being a right
- Higher education being a right
- Politics dominated by and large by Socialist Democracy.

I don't see a lot of conservatives advocating for any of the above. Sounds more like Bernie Sanders than Donald Trump for their liking.

As I have said before in several blog posts, the problem is not guns. The problem is a broken society, and grossly distorted priorities. We have many realities that easily spell this out.

- America is awash in guns. There are more guns here, either per-capita or in actual numbers of guns, than any other country on earth. More guns is the answer???? Really??? 300 Million isn't enough??!??!?

- Individual gun ownership is a right granted by our Constitution. No amount of gun control law (short of a Constitutional Amendment) is going to change this. It's curious to note however that gun ownership began to skyrocket 30 years the mechanisms for keeping legal guns in check were being dismantled.

The real problems are these.
- Who gets to decide who gets to sell and own guns? A deliberately grossly underfunded BATF that cannot do it's legally mandated job. We can thank gun lobbyists for making this government departments budget untouchable since the Reagan Administration. 
- A desperate populace waking up to the fact that the American Dream is just that. A dream, because you'd have to be asleep to believe it.
- Non existent welfare and mental healthcare. As a nation we spend 20 times more on business subsidy (i.e. corporate welfare) than we do on individual welfare. People cry about welfare! Welfare has been dead for 20 years. And mental healthcare is a joke.

It all comes down to understanding the psychology, economics, and politics of violence. In that context the proliferation of guns is actually a symptom of the deeper underlying problems in our society.

Until we can figure out why....
- it's easier to buy a gun than get a State ID card in many states
- it's easier to get a Federal Firearms License than a liquor license in most states.
- We arrest and incarcerate more people than most of the rest of the world does.
- Our mentally ill are either on the streets or living with family or in jail instead of getting proper care.
- Spending more per day in Iraq and Afghanistan than NASA's annual budget was a great idea.
- China built more infrastructure in the last 10 years than we've built in the last 120.
- Paying people a living wage is a terrible idea.
- Getting a college education grants you loan interest rates that are similar to credit cards, and do not qualify for bankruptcy protection like credit cards do.

And yes I did deliberately include many things that on the surface have nothing to do with guns. And that my friends is the point. Gun ownership, as a constitutionally protected right, is one that will only ONLY ever be modified to the satisfaction of extremist liberals with a Constitutional Amendment. So, to focus on that alone is quite honestly to expend an incredible amount of effort on what is only a tertiary aspect of the problem. We've amended the Constitution a handful of times in the last 250 years, and it's no easy process. And to my way of thinking it is a distraction from the larger issues at play.

The larger issues? Let's just say it. America is not the greatest country in the world anymore. There is nothing really stopping us from reclaiming that title, but you can only solve a problem by recognizing that it exists. We have terrible priorities as a nation. When we had progressive priorities, progressive taxation, strong labor unions, strong banking regulation, and a strong focus on individuals (you know...back when corporations weren't people) we were the envy of the world. Now we're the worlds favorite joke.

We have an angry populace as a result. Much of that anger is justified, but much still is just anger for the sake of it. And this is a common malady when we fail to even have an honest conversation about why.

And to those who think all of this is new? I merely direct you to the history of the gilded age and the great depression. We currently live in a dysfunctional political oligarchy, and it's obvious. We've been here before several times.

Guns? Gay Marriage? These are the touchstone issues of our times??? Nigga please. :P