Today is Thanksgiving in the United States, which means millions of people will carve turkeys and hams, eat mac n cheese and yams, moan and groan that they ate too much while going back for seconds (or thirds–don’t judge me), and spend entirely too long washing dishes (I think we used damn near every pot and pan in the kitchen).
Unfortunately, while many of us are filling our bellies with lavish Thanksgiving Day dinners, some people will never get to celebrate this holiday again, thanks to a horrific incident of gun violence at the Juice Bowl:
Gunfire erupted at an annual Thanksgiving Day football game in Kentucky, leaving two dead and four others wounded, Louisville Metro Police said Thursday.
The shootings, shortly before 2 p.m., happened during what locals know as the annual Juice Bowl, which fills Shawnee Park with children and adults for a series of holiday football games, CNN affiliate WAVE reported.
Stephen Washburn was streaming a Facebook Live video when the shooting could be heard in the background. There were 19 shots. The shooters are not visible in the video.The city’s mayor, who was about 200 yards from the gunfire, was safely whisked away by security.The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have joined the investigation into the shootings, according to WAVE.The gunmen got away and the motive for the shootings was unclear, according to Dwight Mitchell, a spokesman for the Louisville Metro Police Department.Four people were rushed to hospitals. Their condition is unknown but Mitchell described their injuries as not life threatening.
My heart goes out to the friends and families of the injured and deceased. This is such a fucking tragedy. And it’s one that might not have occurred if we had been able to enact sensible gun control legislation after any of the multiple incidents of gun violence over the last few decades.
Unfortunately, too many powerful people in this country are utterly and completely resistant to enacting *any* measures to reduce gun violence. Though the majority of USAmericans want sensible gun control restrictions aimed at reducing the high levels of gun violence in our society (violence, I want to add, that is not limited to mass shootings; it also includes firearm related domestic violence, accidental shootings, suicides, and more), there is not enough political will to create the changes we need to reduce the yearly gun death count (which last I checked, sat around 30K…and that’s just gun *deaths*, not injuries). That lack of political will is reinforced by who knows how many civilians responding to the anguish of families and gun control proponents with the completely vapid “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” (GDKP,PKP) malarkey.
If we cannot reduce the number of guns in circulation, or prevent the wrong people from acquiring guns, or close gun show/online/private seller loopholes, or put a cap on the number of guns an individual can own, or put a cap on the amount of ammunition an individual can hold, because guns aren’t the problem (or so we’re told), then the only thing we can do is work on the people half of that equation, right? Those who throw out that phrase really don’t give much thought to what they’re saying, but if we take their GDKP,PKP “argument” at face value, then they’re basically saying people are the problem.
And they aren’t wrong.
Yes, there are far too many guns in the United States. If we were able to reduce the number of guns in circulation (Australia comes to mind after the Port Arthur Massacre), over a period of time, the number of gun related deaths would likely decrease. But while guns are a significant problem in this country, the people wielding those guns are also a big part of the problem.
So many of these folks
- are not adequately trained in storing a gun properly
- treat firearms like toys, rather than deadly weapons meant for death and destruction
- are too aggressive and trigger happy
- have a poor understanding of how to properly store guns
- don’t possess the empathy and compassion necessary to give serious consideration to whether or not they should even *use* a gun in the first place (for example, why do so many people place a greater value on property than a human life)
- are irresponsible and reckless with their firearms (cf. the fools who decide “hey I’m drunk so this is a great time to treat my gun like a toy”)
- damn near worship at the altar of the Second Amendment as if guns are something necessary for the well-being of humans (right alongside nutritious food, adequate protection from the elements, proper healthcare, and water sits GUNS to these people).
So let’s do something about the people.
Let’s educate people. Let’s make it mandatory for all prospective gun owners to take courses in how to wield a firearm (and that includes how to clean them, as far too many people are injured or killed by a nincomfuck who is incapable of properly cleaning their firearm).
Let’s make it necessary to acquire insurance before owning a gun (kinda like you have to have insurance to have a vehicle–and those serve an actual, necessary purpose, unlike guns).
Let’s make it mandatory that people demonstrate the ability to store a gun properly before they can ever wield it.
Let’s educate people on the actual, historical reasons the Second Amendment exists and have informed discussions on the reasons it is no longer necessary.
Sadly, I don’t see anti-gun control proponents supporting any of that.
So we’re left at “we’re not going to do anything about the guns *or* the people”, which leaves us exactly where we’ve been for years. The families of the Juice Bowl victims have to spend their Thanksgiving day grieving rather than carving. And that really ought to outrage far more people than it does.