You have to have a reason

When are we going to do something about our gun laws. When will we finally outlaw violence. Ban all guns, ban knives and forks and spoons. Anything hard or sharp. Pass laws against muscles and balled fists. No one will be allowed to wear shoes or anything they can remove for the purpose of pummeling. No cars either. Or bicycles, tricycles and scooters. Those are weapons too. Also, no lawncare equipment. Forget about trimming your hedges. In the wrong hands those hedge trimmers become semi automatic decapitation machines.

Furniture will be banned unless it’s so heavy it can’t be picked up and hurled at someone. Household cleaning materials are out too, along with beauty and grooming products. Anything you can spray into someone’s eyeballs.  Anything that could cause rashes and sores. Most foods. Dangerous, spicy recipes that cause bloating, cramping and foul odors. Paper is a deadly weapon, pens and pencils are perfect jabbing and stabbing instruments.

We’ll have to do without pipes and tools. Wrenches and screwdrivers. Electrical drills can bore through a cerebellum. Ball peen hammers smash testicles and rusty nails scream to be driven through hands, fingers and feet. The potential for maiming and mutilating our enemies is infinite. But we also have the power to legislate, to prevent violent circumstances and opportunities from dominating a blank slate, innocent and idle humanity.

No one ever dreamed of shattering a spine until someone put a gun in his hands. And no one would rob or cheat or steal if we lived in an egalitarian, color blind, sexless society of happiness and harmony without money or possessions. There are no criminals unless there are laws that criminalize them. Rather than finding fault with people, we should blame their devices, their surroundings and their lack of loving lesbian mothers.

If the clothes make the man, then the gun makes the man a murderer.

How many senseless shootings will it take for us to come together for sane, sensible gun control. Because what we have now is insane. I can’t walk to work in the morning without stepping over a pile of bullet riddled bodies. There are shootouts on every street. Legal, celebrated bloodbaths breaking out at saloons and on courthouse lawns every hour.

Military grade firepower is legal. I can’t buy a liter of cough syrup at the pharmacy but I can walk out of an army surplus store with a brand new hydrogen bomb. I have to pass a background check to buy a pack of lozenges but I can win a howitzer at the county fair without questions. Our gun law loopholes are big enough to drive an m1 abrams tanks through them, the same tanks which are also available for free two day shipping to your door through a membership with amazon prime.

Americans are gun nuts, we’re told. We’re obsessed with our supposed “right” to “bear arms”. The 2nd amendment is a document of its time and doesn’t apply anymore. The founding fathers were only thinking about quaint, pre industrial conflicts between noble soldier farmers and tyrants where armies stood ten feet away from each other in broad daylight with vibrantly colored uniforms and every shot took six hours to prepare and fire.

In those days you couldn’t even kill a man with what passed for a gun. The technology wasn’t advanced enough. They didn’t design bullets to shred organs and perform a pirouette in your intestines. Those little metal balls of the revolutionary era just sank into your shoulder or groin and then you slowly died of gangrene unless they amputated your arm or penis.

But now we have assault rifles and missiles and bombs. Laser guided and heat seeking. Outfitted with infra red scopes and silencers. Anyone anywhere without a moment of military training can effortlessly fire thousands of dead silent rounds into confused crowds whenever the murderous mood strikes. And these machine gun salesman with their relentless, door to door campaigns. A chicken in every pot and a rocket launcher on every mantle. You can’t leave the house without someone trying to sell you a basket of grenades.

We don’t need to protect ourselves with guns anymore. That’s why we have the police. Except when we’re talking about racism. Then the police are the thuggish enforcers of white supremacy and they should be disbanded. But when we’re talking about guns rights the police are noble protectors who render an armed populace unnecessary. When we’re talking about stripping the American people of their defenses then the police are good guys.

It’s almost as if we’re stuck in the rigid habit of turning tragedy into a weapon because making other people look bad by association is our national obsession and we’re all fiends looking for our next fix. Every single one of us has to admit that the moment we hear about another mass murder or terror attack we simultaneously shed tears for the victims and salivate like pavlov’s dog at the prospect of eating our enemies for dinner.

Because it’s always more than an individual exercising their free will and choosing to hurt and kill. It’s the expression of a movement, there’s a group behind it, an ideology, a destructive philosophy or culture radiating with hatred. Whoever fires a gun into a crowd does so for a reason or a set of interlocking reasons, they worked themselves into a frenzy reading extremist literature and that literature is an extreme form of liberalism or conservatism, Christianity or anarchy. We trace mainstream values to the fringes and implicate everyone on the spectrum. Your garden variety liberal supports black nationalists gunning down police. Your average Christian father longs for the good old days of proud, public lynching.

So we can have a system that generates meaningful carnage. The system has made life itself meaningless, but in exchange it has made taking life meaningful. We don’t live for anything but at least our mass murderers tend to be philosophers.

Until now. Stephen Paddock took away our most cherished consolation in the face of butchery and terror: leverage against our political and cultural enemies. We can’t put pressure on anyone, fire anyone or kick anyone off a social media platform. No one can be forced to disavow Paddock because he didn’t kill in the name of anything anyone stands behind.

We wait with baited breath for the investigation to give us the missing information, the crucial cause. There has to be a manifesto, a feverish screed tucked away in a drawer or boot somewhere. A rambling diatribe against the jews, against Christianity or trump supporters, against America or technological society, against country music or mass spectacles. Something, anything we could use against someone else to vindicate ourselves.

The rhetoric of justifying violence leads to people committing horrific acts of real world violence. Except Paddock wasn’t political. He was white but he had no identity. He’s the man without qualities, without a cause. All of the vain speculating and hand wringing over the missing purpose of the shooting and no one has mentioned Camus. The Stranger. Existentialism and the absurdity of the human condition. Our ungrounded freedom to act without a reason, without emotions or history influencing our decisions.

Every single one of us is free to do anything and nothing. We could lie down in the middle of the street or throw a plate through a window at a restaurant or set up a machine gun nest in a hotel balcony and unload thousands of rounds into a crowd of concert goers. Not because the leftists hate America, not because white people hate blacks and immigrants, not because of our rape gun culture or Trump or allah or God. Because we’re free for no reason. Freedom is a gift given by no one, unwanted and unreturnable. The only thing we aren’t free to do is give up this freedom. Though we try.

If this is an age of extremism, of radical thought and ideology, its complement is apathy.

A man lacking a reason to kill can kill for the lack of a reason not to.

In the same way that evil isn’t the absence of good but a substantial force in its own right, not caring about anything is a decision equally open to all of us, a stance we can choose or reject.

Author: The Empty Subject

Born curmudgeon

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