Mathew Mackie

Happiness is a warm gun and an armed teacher

With Donald Trump suggesting that teachers should be armed to stop school shootings, it’s time we stop expecting gun control in America.

 

 

This morning the furious purposeful steps of the student body of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School reached Washington, as they, the latest victims of mechanised gun violence hoped to represent the last.

Never again.

 

 

Never again, until the next time.

The week leading to this point has unfortunately followed the same pattern as that the one after Vegas. Unspeakable automated violence spoke for one, and took many. The world recoiled, and the Americans blamed the wrong people.

Yesterday the slip into unreality was complete, as one court decided that pornography was more dangerous than assault rifles, choosing to the ban the former, but not the latter.

 

 

We, as part of the informed world, tend to wonder why? Eighteen school shootings in the morning of 2018 is beyond our articulation. It makes no sense, so we become confused, angry. It doesn’t happen to us, so why should it happen to them? Why don’t they understand?

Why? America, why? 

The back catalogue of oppositional voices is numerous, passed through the most convincing medium, found in the routines of Chris Rock, George Carlin, Jim Jeffries, John Oliver, or that fucking piece the Onion rehashes every time this happens. In the comment boxes underneath those brilliant, funny but it’s true reposted tidbits are repeated empathetic/apathetic observations from the populace, correctly planting that it’s funny how you have to listen to comedians to hear the truth.

Well, here’s some truth. They won’t change because they don’t want to. We should stop expecting it, because we don’t get it. The American experience is a symphony of the lowest calibre, driven by the shallow percussion of rifle fire.

I accidentally discovered this through Jason, an American I’m fortunate enough to know. He’s a very interesting man. An ex-marine, current writer, and the most left man in the universe. He’s been punched in the head by neo-fascists and shot at by the Taliban. A real great mind, and a real great American. He might be anti-Trump to the last drop, but he still proudly wears a metaphorical gun on his hip, even just as ammunition to feed a joke. While memes that illustrate the furious nervous chatter of fully automatic gunfire might set my teeth on edge, but it’s normal for him.

I’m confused, he’s not.

On that note, the angst-riddled anti-gun mob does exist over there, as Greg Gerding (Editor of our American publication) echoes the same hopeless disgust the rest of us feel. He wants to take them all away. However, there are millions of Jasons, Gregs and Floridian legislators that make up the patchwork bullet-riddled quilt of America.

We, as Australians, don’t get it.

By ways of a local comparison, owning an AR-15 for home defence to an American is akin to what binge drinking at the barbecue (sans sunscreen) and driving home drunk is to us. We know it’s detrimental to our health, but enough of us do it, because it’s our choice. Conversely, the Americans could quiz our violent drinking culture, because they don’t understand. Not a validation of either culture, mind, just a weird duality to note.

Earlier in the week, I was asked by a couple of Australian friends whether I thought that the proposed school walkouts would change any minds, and in turn, legislation. I said no. I thought that the gun lobby owns too much of the hill, and if Obama couldn’t force minor gun limitations past the GOP (which he later reversed himself on), there’s no fudging way that one of their own would. Soon, their hopeful faces turned to a scowl, eyes registering disgust, clinging to empathy, hoping that it would make a difference.

We’re applying international logic to an American situation. What the Americans promote (perhaps for our benefit) is the illusion of change. Pecking at the periphery of the issue. Prior to Vegas, we didn’t know what a bump stock was. However, we now do. With the Donald pushing to ban it, that’s surely a positive, right? Nope. The ban will be seen as progress by some, government interference by others, and a diversion by all.

It becomes a topic, not a solution.

 

 

This morning, he’s promoted the idea of arming teachers to curtail the problem, enabling change through the application of wild west justice, a gunfight enabled by justified means. Quickly, the issue becomes the application of the tool, not the tool itself. It does this, because they have no problem with the tool, or at least, they don’t have the same problem we have with it.

 

 

An oft-repeated screaming eagle truism is: If only I had a gun, I could have done something about it.

That situation speaks to the star-spangled gut of every patriotic American, as it echoes the manifest that their forefathers rode, in that the individual can create change, and is in their right to do so. The individual matters, because the government cannot be trusted. In fact, it says it on that foolscap paper they famously scribbled on in 1776, the Declaration of Independence:

“Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

If it doesn’t work, change it. Yes, you. The problem is that safety and happiness is a subjective medium. What makes you feel safe and happy might not be the same to another. Praise the lord and pass the ammunition. 

Confused? Me too.

Then, perhaps, the answer to the why question is easily answered.

Not with a statement, but with another question, as those initially quizzed will invariably ask: why are you asking?

 

 

 

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