Another Day

Another shooting! Literally.

When I was in high school, we wrote 8 to 12 page research papers for Honors English. We had to run our topics by our teacher before we could start working on the papers. Certain topics were deemed too big for such a short paper. Abortion, religious freedom, education reform. These topics need more than a dozen pages. I picked the effect of Wal-Mart on the Small Town Economy. Twelve pages was just enough.

Gun control and its place in our society is too big for a dozen pages, a blog article. So here are a few random articles about what happened today in San Bernardino.

- Today's tragedy is one of the largest mass shootings in modern American history, the largest since Newtown. As has been said multiple times on Twitter today, and several other days in the past couple of years, if we weren't going to take action when twenty little kids were murdered, we probably never will.

- More positvity: here are all the things that have killed fewer people than guns. AIDs. Terrorism. Wars.

- Now for some actual good things:  Mashable summarizes how, despite the NRA's protestations, gun control has actually been effective in this country. We really can do something guys!

- One thing that frustrates the hell out of me is people who just send prayers or good thoughts. When has that ever worked? I'm not a religious person but those who are - does your God expect you to just sit on your ass and ask him to take care of everything? Did he not give you the abilities to get out there and cause change yourself? Here is a small thing a person could do that actually makes a difference. Talk to your Congressman! Volunteer to help educate others. Pray and send your thoughts, sure, but also do something.

There are a couple of common refrains from NRA nuts that honestly don't make sense to me:

- Criminals won't follow laws and then only the bad guys have guns. Um, then why have any laws ever? Let's just legalize drugs, otherwise only the drug dealers will have them! Let's legalize murder or only murderers will be safe! It's just dumb.

- It's too big a topic. I actually saw this today on Instagram: If we don't do anything about mental health, we might as well not do anything at all. Again, what the hell? I am going to compare this to Alexander Hamilton, because I'm reading the biography and in full obsession with the musical. Prior to the revolution, we should have just stayed under British rule. Because performing a revolution and creating a new country is too hard! It's going to take us over a century to become a global superpower! We'll have to fight a civil war too! And let's not even talk about World War I and II. This is how much saying 'gun control is too complex' makes sense. Yes, it is not a one step process. There's gun control and mental health and also education and getting people out of poverty. But we can't do nothing because we can't do everything with a single swoop.

- Anything related to the Second Amendment. Here is a great article from HuffPo on how the NRA has completely re-interpreted the second amendment, bastardized it to sell guns to angry and uninformed Americans. Additionally, alcohol was prohibited at one point. African Americans were not considered a total person. Women were not allowed to vote. This shit can change as our society, our country, changes.

Another thing that very much perplexes me - why is it harder to drive a car than shoot a gun? Seriously! For a car, you need a license. You need to pass some kind of test. You need to regularly register the car. In some states, the car even needs to undergo routine testing. There is a list of cars in a state and you are assigned to your car. If you car runs a red light or runs someone over, you are going to at least get a ticket. And yet for guns, we can't even agree on a national registry. Why is a car, a thing intended to get me from point A to point B, more heavily regulated than a gun, designed to literally kill things? If we treated our guns like cars, that would be a huge step in the right direction. Is there something fundamental I'm missing here? Why are our cars more regulated than firearms?

Shootings are destructive and catastrophic and reminds us all how far we are from being a truly great country. After the Paris attacks a few weeks ago, my mother expressed concern that I was moving to Germany for a year. Hell, surely it's safer than this country.

Finally, to end on a happier note (and it doesn't take much), here is some Hamilton stuff. We're the country of mass shootings but also Broadway, Hip Hop, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and this incredible story. We can do some things right.

- Great interview with Miranda in the New Yorker from February.

- HuffPo again, this time talking about the Rockefeller Foundation's contribution to allow 20,000 NYC students to see the show.